Stress comes in many forms in our lives. It can be physical stress. It can be psychological stress. It can be emotional stress. It is something that we feel. It can only be measured by the person feeling it. It is real for the person experiencing it even when others can’t see it. We are taught that we will have stress in our life and we better get used to it because there is nothing that we can do about it. We learn to avoid stressful situations in life. We can look forward to a life filled with stress as a constant.
All of these things that we have learned about stress carry with it a cost. Stress prevents us from experiencing life to its fullest. Stress affects our quality of life for ourselves and our families. Preventing and treating stress is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Stress does not have to carry such a high cost in our lives. You can gain a new perspective with awareness of what stress is, what you can do about it, and what that brings back into your life.
So, what is stress? Stress is an experience. It can be a message that something is not right. It can be good or bad. Physical stress causes arise from both injury and healing. Emotional stress causes come from loss, hurt feelings, or dashed expectations. The stress/fear connection is basic to our survival. It is the safety for our lives, avoiding danger and injury, and staying alert.
Three aspects of the experience of stress
Memory of stress experience – how much it hurt before
Anticipation of stress experience – how much it will hurt and how long it lasts
Current experience of stress – what it feels like right now
Understanding how we experience stress allows us to do something about it.
Were you taught take a pill or suffer with it? Chronic stress tells a story which perpetuates the story. How does one get out of the reoccurring story of chronic stress?
Be aware of the stress you are experiencing in the moment
What part of this is stress is memory – all my yesterdays?
What part of this stress is anticipation – for the rest of my life?
What part of this stress is happening right now?
The benefits to changing how you perceive stress you are experiencing include:
Reducing stress you are experiencing now
Freedom from fear of how much stress you are going to feel
Increasing confidence that you can control how you feel
Your thoughts and feelings toward stress are very powerful. Shifting how you look at stress when it comes into your life the next time you are experiencing stress, and there will be a next time. You can still take a pill or suffer. You can also remember the big MAC experience – Memory of stress experience, Anticipation of stress experience, Current experience of stress.
Don’t be afraid to take a look at stress when you are experiencing it. Rather than reacting to stress when you notice it and trying to avoid it, you can take a proactive approach to controlling it. You can live a stress free life – a life where stress does not control you. Live a life where you control stress.