Stress itself is neither good or bad, but the effect it has on our body, mind and even spirit is usually interpreted negatively. In fact it is stress (and our ability to adapt and evolve) that made the human race survive so far. All the hormonal, cognitive and emotional processes that are initiated by stress have ensured our survival, which should give stress a better reputation.
The reason why stress is put in the bad corner is easy to understand: stress is associated with a lot of negative outcomes and is acknowledged as one of the major causes (respectively, if we go deep enough, the first or even only true cause) for all major and minor illnesses and diseases – terminal or temporary.
Those who dare to look a bit closer and open-minded at the issue will start to realise that the intention of stress is still the same today as it was thousands or millions of years before: to ensure we stay alive, by shutting down systems that are not needed in the moment of fight or flight. What has changed though is our ability to utilise the power of the whole process and our willingness to complete the stress cycle. As a result we stay within fight or flight phase and wear ourselves out instead of completing the sequence.
So it is not stress that is causing us all sorts of problems, it is our response to stress – or rather our inability to deal with stress appropriately. Here are some more useful resources and ideas how to deal with stress.
Dealing With Stress
When confronted with stress we have several options how to deal with it:
- to release stress (which MUST always happen to complete the stress cycle!)
- to manage stressful moments (an intermediate solution until the situation can be dealt with properly)
- to prevent or avoid stress (the best solution if possible and desirable)
- to cope with stress (finding a resourceful way and creating a strategy to confront stressful situations that temporarily have to be acknowledged, including and optimally consisting of a combination of the above)
These are all ways to deal with stress, but the first thing you want to do is to investigate your stress area, meaning that you have a look at the several areas of your life and observe where you experience most of your stress.
Investigate Your Stress Area
The areas you want to focus on are
- Work/Career (including Finances)
- Social Relationships (friends, acquaintances, social networks, community..)
- Health, Fitness Well-being (especially lack thereof)
- Emotional Relationships (partner, children, family, relatives..)
- Spirituality (religious/non-denominational faiths, purpose)
- Personal Development (growth, contribution,..)
Once you´ve narrowed down the area where you experience the most stress, look deeper to find your main stressor(s) – the factor(s) that cause you a lot of stress in that area.
Finding Your Stressor
To find your main stressor(s), go through a “normal” day and make a note of the things/events that upset you and that seem to cause you stress.
That could be for example getting the kids ready for school, traffic on your way to work, “what´s for dinner?”, a (literal or in terms of relationships) toxic work environment, financial pressure…..
Hint: Very often your main stressor is in direct relationship with your biggest strength.
Example: A person is really great a making other people laugh. Her quirky personality lights up every party and every room she enters. At the same time she is suffering from temporary depression, but because she does not want to burden others with her worries, she keeps them to herself and finds it challenging to accept help and cheering up from others.
Or just think of the image of the plumber with the leaking roof, the mechanic whose car is overdue for maintenance or the doctor who is constantly postponing his check-up appointments….you get the picture.
Next you want to classify your stress, which means you access what kind of stress you´re dealing with.
Classify Your Stress
What kind of stress are you experiencing and which stage of stress are you in?
Is your main stressor of the kind that you can/want to/need to release?
Is your main stressor of the kind that you can/want to/need to manage?
Is your main stressor of the kind that you can/want to/need to prevent or avoid?
Is your main stressor of the kind that you can/want to/need to learn how to cope with?
Once you start to look a bit closer you will notice that some stresses can actually be prevented, some can easily be managed or released and for those which can´t be avoided there are strategies that are easy to implement and which help to cope with stress.
By now you have possibly already identified the area that is causing you the most tension. Now you have a choice how to address your stress.
Address Your Stress
Whether you just want some relief or need to release, manage, prevent, avoid or learn how to cope with stress – there is only one approach to address it: you need to complete the sequence, which can only happen through relaxation.
Relaxation can be achieved in three ways:
Relaxation can be passive or active.
Passive Relaxation means that either another party (like a massage therapist, body or energy worker) is involved in helping you to experience relaxation or that you are performing relaxation techniques that do not involve a lot of movement, like just sitting or lying and resting, reading a book, listening to music or watching a DVD of your choice. (Please note that watching TV programs is NOT relaxing for the mind!)
The purpose of Simply Relaxation is to support people who experience unwanted stress to address it and cope with stress on all levels: to release, manage, prevent and avoid – which ever is most appropriate at the time. Simply Relaxation provides holistic and specialty massage treatments, gentle and mindful movement classes as well as mindfulness programs and other resources to help you create a relaxation strategy that serves your circumstances and preferences.
Contact Simply Relaxation today for a FREE 30-minute stress assessment and learn how you can create your own relaxation strategy to resourcefully deal with stress. Subscribe to our free newsletter Less Stress – More Happiness for more tips and ideas how to release, manage, prevent and cope with stress and start to relax today!