Stress

Self Assessment: True or False

“I get easily jangled, jumpy, irritable, or overwhelmed.”

“I feel like giving up as soon as I hit a roadblock.”

“I don’t bounce back very well when things go wrong.”

“The only way for me to cope is to shut down my feelings.”

“I’m more sensitive to stress than others.”

“I get worn down from the difficulties I have to deal with.”

“I want to feel more confident that I can handle my life.

If you said true to one or more of the statements above, you may want some help to improve your ability to cope with stress.  The ability to bounce back from stress is called resilience

Stress is simply a fact of nature — forces from the inside or outside world affecting the individual. Because of the overabundance of stress in our modern lives, we usually think of stress as a negative experience, but from a biological point of view, stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience.

Since stress is an inevitable part of life, we need to familiarize ourselves with the signals that tell us we are being affected by it, and be able to take care of the situation and ourselves. Resilience means we are able to effectively manage both our external environment, and our internal experience.

When we do not manage stress well our bodies pay a high price, and we may experience muscle aches and pains, headaches, decreased immune function, digestive problems, weight gain, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and decreased mood and energy.

Areas of the Body Affected by Stress

One key factor associated with good coping is the capacity to be aware of and manage our feelings and impulses.  We need to be able to tune in early to what we are feeling in the body and regulate ourselves by paying careful attention to what our body is saying.

Often when we pay this kind of attention to ourselves we discover we have been neglecting important needs and feelings.

To effectively manage stress we need to be able to accurately identify what is true for us (not deny it), and be able to tolerate what that actually feels like in the body. 

With support and practice we can stay with ourselves in what we feel and know to be true, and we can take healthy action on our own behalf. We become resilient.

When we are resilient we are confident about our ability to recover from stressors.   We can see problems as opportunities.  We feel more hopeful, can take more risks, and have a bigger life.

Links:

Deborah Prieur has been teaching mindfulness techniques in Vancouver for ages and many of my patients have attended her groups and found them to be practical, supportive and effective.
http://www.everydaymindfulness.ca

Outlines 3 different stress reactions and offers specific techniques to help quiet, stimulate, or reboot your nervous system
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm