Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 25, 2008
We live in a stressful society – there’s no getting around that. Chronic stress from things beyond your control — like work, relationships, over finances, etc. — can lead to all sorts of nasties, such as headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, depression – the list goes on and on. And from there it’s all downhill. Extreme stress can lead to panic disorders and even physical deterioration.
But not all stress is bad. Everyday Health posted an informative article on the subject, discussing the important role it can play in our lives. For example, stress can save your life by triggering your “fight or flight” response in dangerous situations. It also triggers an adrenaline release, which provides energy and, “when appropriately invoked”, can help us “rise to many challenges” and accomplish amazing feats.
The article refers to “good stress” as something short term “that stimulates people to summon the resources to hurdle obstacles”, and “bad stress” as the “chronic or overabundant” variety “which wears down the ability to adapt and cope.”
It’s a curious phenomenon, this stress thing. Depending on the duration and the level, stress can either improve the body’s performance or decrease it. And the dividing line between the two is often determined by personality. Something that triggers a stress response in you might not be remotely threatening to someone else.
In today’s world, chronic stress often leads to the doctor’s office. And then to the pharmacy. But for those of us seeking a more naturalistic kind of relief, there are the usual suggested remedies — eating healthy, exercising, breathing deeply – and the not-so-usual ones, like eating foods rich in magnesium.
In my opinion, since anxiety (a common response to stress) is the fear of perceived danger (as opposed to actual danger), stress is often the fear of being overwhelmed and not in control. Which explains why some people deal with stress in obsessive ways like compulsive cleaning or in tyrannical ways like bossing people around. You may be overwhelmed and unable to able to handle the pressures of your job, but you can control how clean your house is or what your employees or friends are doing. (At least, with the latter, you think you can.)
eDiets (via that’sfit) has some suggestions for dealing with this. Simple things like asking for help when you need it; letting go of things beyond your control; setting aside time just for you; taking a break, closing your eyes and imagining yourself someplace peaceful; being kind to yourself; and taking a minute or two to think about your next move.
That last one seems very important. If you can manage to act rather than simply react, you’re in control. And it just may help relieve the stress you’re feeling.