115: Putting Stress into Perspective

stressDo you know what the biggest source of stress is in your life? Is it your work, your relationships, your health? Or maybe you don’t feel that you have an actual source but more of a low lying niggling feeling that you often feel a little on edge, a little anxious, a little stressed.

Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint where our anxiety or stress is coming from. This is because we become acclimatised to our own level of stress. Just like if you smoke, you need to have a cigarette to bring you back to ‘normal’, so too, the body gets good at operating or functioning under stress. The build up worry of work, relationships or health just become the norm. This means that when you don’t have an actual threat, for instance, an augment, your body still operates as if you are receiving this threat. You body starts to operate more on the side of the sympathetic nervous system, keeping you a little revved all day, just in  case.

Then we go on holiday and three days into we think, ahhhh, this is life, this is living as we slowly unwrap all our worries and leave them scattered in the sand and half drunken cocktails. What is happening is the body is getting back into equilibrium again. We remember that we can feel good and vital and well for most of the day.

When we feel stronger in ourselves, our mind is stronger, and as this happens we perceive things differently.

Here are some things to remember about stress.

It is not so much external events that cause stress but our thoughts and reactions to what is going on. If we feel strong then someone cutting us off in traffic will not even cause us to blink, if we feel stressed this might set off a chain reaction of anger towards the person who did us wrong. Same car, same person, same situation, different reaction.

Stress won’t shift but we can manage our relationship to it.

Stress is wanting things to be different to the way they are. The moment we want to control the world we are setting ourselves up for stress.

Stress is an opportunity to teach us something about ourselves. What is it that you really need at this moment? What is it that is lacking in your life?

Events, people or situations don’t make you stressed. If you feel stressed in a particular situation it means that you already were stressed and this situation has just heightened your awareness of your own stress.

Temporary fixes do not alleviate stress in the long term, they just put a band-aid on it.

Stress is the cause of 80% of visits to the doctor.

Practice for today: Make your body feel as well as it can so the next time you receive a perceived threat, you can adjust your attitude to it. By choosing another thought you can change your relationship to stress.

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