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We all need stress. Our bodies would not be healthy without environmental challenges that stimulate a stress response. Bone would not heal, skin would not repair and muscles would not grow.
The word stress has become linked to the idea of a poor work, or family environment, causing a person to feel overwhelmed and unable to function. Stress is seen as a negative thing.
Response and Reaction
Each person reacts differently under the same circumstances. Some will rise to the challenge and thrive in a competitive environment. While others develop blood pressure, stomach upsets and other anxiety reactions. This is due to a complex mix of genetics, experience and environment.
The Context of Stress
It is important to realise that we allow ourselves to experience a stress reaction by conscious and unconscious choices, actions and inactions.
If you take a proactive approach, and look at the challenges in front of you as an opportunity to learn, even with a poor outcome, the stress response will commonly be a positive experience. The "adrenaline rush" of a new and exciting experience can be a wonderful feeling.
If you feel powerless to make a change, and abdicate responsibility to superiors, or others around you, the stress response can lead to depression and poor health due to the chronic release of stress hormones called catecholamines, and their effects on the organs and blood lipids.
"Dont Sweat The Small Stuff.........
And Its All Small Stuff"
Taking the time to become aware of how we create our own stressful environment is an important step in changing it. If the situation is beyond your control, you can be content in knowing that it is not your problem, and move on to deal with those things you can change.
If the situation is causing dramatic health challenges, it is probably time to get some help, or remove yourself from harm. This may mean leaving a job or partner, confronting people whose own habits are affecting you, or accepting that you yourself are responsible for the situation. You may need to seek the advice of a psychologist, counsellor or medical doctor to help you work through these changes.
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff is the title of self help book by psychologist Richard Carlson, it is available from Amazon for as little as £2.50 and is highly recommended. It gives simple plain speaking advice and insights into how to balance day to day life and relationships.