Suzanne Norman

Enlightened Living Articles

Stress & Your thoughts

Friday, November 01, 2013
“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life” Andrew Bernstein

The ability of the body/mind to manage stress successfully is critical to health and vitality. Stress may be the leading cause of illness and disease. The American Institute of Stress reports that as many as 75 to 90 percent of visits to physicians are due to stress-related complaints. In survey after survey, Americans identify stress as the number one health concern today and more than 50 percent of adults in the United States report high stress on a daily basis. And chronic stress, in addition to a host of physical symptoms, can cause serious mental/emotional imbalances.

The events, the challenges, the tough situations will always be in your life. Some of them you can change, some you really ought to change, and many of them you have absolutely no control over. What you do have control over is YOU. Stress management is really you management. You can control what you eat, what you drink, you can control your activity level. You can learn to say no to things you don’t really want and yes to those you do. And yes, you can even control your emotions and the way you react to situations. You can learn to relax, mentally and physically.

It has been said that stress is the body’s non-specific reaction to any demand made upon it. By non-specific, it is meant that our bodies respond in essentially the same way no matter what the stressor. The reaction will be the same whether you’ve lost a loved one or won the lottery. The heart starts beating faster, blood pressure rises, adrenaline releases into the blood stream. Digestion slows. You may feel a racing heart, cold hands, short and shallow breathing, upset stomach. We’ve all experienced these things from time to time. It’s called the flight or fight response. It was a pretty good system in the cave-man days. Faced with a threat, you could fight it out or run away. Either way, you got it out of your system, and things settled back to normal. Today’s stressors usually don’t lend themselves to fighting or fleeing. Usually we just stand and take it, and that means we store it up. And that’s exactly what happens, the distress builds up and accumulates until eventually it just has to manifest itself some way. Stress build-up attacks the immune system, so it affects us wherever we are most vulnerable; some may have ulcers, others may experience heart problems, headaches, emotional and mental disturbances, even cancer, just to name a few. We may see it in our behavior, like over-eating, under-eating, drinking, drug abuse, aggressiveness, and so on. And, as you may know, these things themselves are stressors, which feed back into your system, and the vicious cycle goes on.

Fortunately, there are simple things you can learn to do to mitigate the accumulation of stress. One of the easiest is simply learning to relax. Relaxation can also accumulate in your system and help undo the effects of stress. Relaxation lowers your blood pressure, slows the heart rate, clams the nervous system, and eases tension. As you learn to relax, you will also have an opportunity to create a mental getaway, a private place in your mind where you can go any time you need to relax and promote healing for your mind and body. You can change your perception and learn how to let go of old ideas and beliefs, memories and emotions that no longer serve you well. Most importantly, you can learn to love and appreciate yourself. Remember, your perception is your strongest stress management tool.

I have created a “mental getaway” CD called Relaxation for Stress Release

, and listening to this recording daily can help you reduce the accumulation of stress and start accumulating the health benefits of relaxation. This audio recording is an effortless way to teach your mind to respond differently to stress.

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