We find at our office, and in life, that the primary cause for what ails us is… STRESS!! That is no surprise, but it’s amazing how we chase after so many things, trying to feel better, except for the ONE thing that could help us. That is, to reflect and tend to what is REALLY ailing us, and do whatever we can to remedy the situation, with TLC for ourselves :). Here’s a little reminder…
The Causes & Solutions for Stress in Our Daily Lives
Copyright 2010 by Richard Metz, D.C.
There are three components to the concept of stress:
1.) The Stressor
2.) The Processing of that Information
3.) The Stress Response
The stressor is the stimulus that initiates the stress response. Connecting the stressor stimulus to the stress response, is the informational processing component of the individual (which of course varies from person to person, situation to situation). Information processing by the individual is the component that determines WHICH stimulus is indeed a stressor to that person. This can all occur very swiftly, or build over time.
Thus we have:
Stress Stimulus + Informational Processing = Stress Response.
The stress response is well-defined and involves all aspects of the individual, from psychological to physiological. This response is a “call to action” response from a threat, or sense of urgency, about something in one’s environment. It is designed to be a short-term event. Too much stress response, especially when it turns chronic, undermines our health.
The stress response is non-specific, it is not limited to any specific stimuli. Any number of different stimuli, which can be ANY aspect of one’s life, can become a stressor and initiate a stress response. The stress response is cumulative; many different SMALL stressors can have the same effect as one LARGE stressor.
The key to managing stress is to address EACH of the three components:
1.) Remove the stressor (which is not always feasible);
2.) Change how we process the information so that the stressor’s meaning to us is not so compelling or threatening (via mindful reflection, meditation, counseling, energy treatments, etc.);
3.) Counteract the effects of the stress response (through energy/massage treatments, supplementation, exercise, rest/sleep, diet, fun, etc.).
These three approaches interact in positive self-reinforcing ways. For example, removing the effects of the stress response allows us to process information in different ways, changing the meaning of the stressor, and providing insight as how to more effectively remove the stressors, which in turn means less stress response.
Potential stressors are internal as well as external. Our thoughts can initiate a stress response without the presence of an external stressor. For example, when our thoughts are difficult to control, negative, self-reinforcing, and part of a stress-creating pattern, we then have post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Conscious/unconscious internal conflicts can be a source of continuous chronic stress. Our impulses to act are blocked by conflict, building tension. We are compelled to act, but can’t, because our conscious/unconscious selves may see any other alternative as threatening in some way. The best approach to resolving INTERNAL stress is to handle in the same way as our approach to EXTERNAL stress, by addressing ALL THREE components.
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