What can you do to prevent Stress?
Stress is a part of human existence no matter where you are or how you live in the world.
Every Day Stresses
Hunger is a stress and we solve that issue by eating. Being tired is stressful – we sleep to relieve that problem. Commuting to work is stressful as we stay alert to road conditions, other drivers’ actions, unpredictable events, etc., however, some people relieve that stress with music or conversation or listening to the radio or educational materials. Taking care of our needs and our family’s needs is stressful, however, we have our own business or go to our job to meet the costs of providing.
The reference point as to whether we call what we do stressful or not is the degree of stress we are feeling.
What people refer to as “being stressed out” is the degree of stress they are feeling and viewed as a negative in their lives.
For instance, if they are competing in a sport they enjoy, there is the stress of competition but people don’t see it as negative – they subject themselves to that form of stress because they both enjoy the sport and the process of competition looking forward to the reward of the win! However, no one would deny that competing is stressful.
If a close family member is struck by a car and is in serious condition in the hospital, people view that stress as negative – “stressful” and it impacts all other aspects of their lives because of the anticipation of a possible loss.
When Stress is a Good Thing
Stress in our lives is a good thing – it propels us to action. If we are faced with danger, we escape. If we are faced with a difficult problem, we find solutions. If we are faced with competition, we plan and execute our time to win. If we accept the responsibility of marriage, we capture the rewards of a trusting and loving relationship.
When we are thinking that there is a positive outcome to the stress we feel, then we are able to accept the stress and work with it.
When Stress is a Bad Thing
Stress is bad when it is viewed as a negative and a possible loss is anticipated. If you’re not happy at your job and hate your boss’s behavior, your stress is acute because you are trying to keep your job but the working conditions create anxiety and likely dysfunctional behaviors on your part; you fear the loss of your job. If a child is seriously ill, there can be consequences to that illness which are difficult to bear.
“Distress”, therefore, is caused by viewing the situation as a possible loss of something or someone important to you.
What Can You Do About Stress?
In general on an every day basis, whether the stress is viewed as positive or negative, the answer lies in accepting that the only moment you have is the one you are living right now. It’s an odd concept. When I first heard that concept, I couldn’t understand it at all! But then I listened more – and dared to practice it no matter how foreign it seemed. It started with Oprah’s series about an odd book called, A New Earth. Then, I picked up a copy of The Power of Now by the same author, Eckhart Tolle –
Whenever I start feeling acute stress – good or bad – I simply get “into the moment” – it’s not as airy fairy as it sounds – it’s really the ticket to controlling the levels of stress and “keeping your feet on the ground”.
It does take practice – over and over again – until that is the place I go to whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed or uncomfortable in any situation. It clears my mind, calms the emotions, and allows for better reactions or non-actions to situations which arise.
There is nothing you can do to prevent stress in your life but there is something you can do to reduce its impact on your life at any given moment.