There's no such thing as a stressful situation

The cost of stressHave I got your attention? I repeat, there is no such thing as a stressful situation.  What causes stress is not the situation, but the reaction to the situation.   Stress reaction is in response to a situation perceived as stressful. Have you ever noticed that some people around you in traffic are cussing and gesturing, and other people are calmly and quietly listening to their music as they wait?  Everyone in traffic is in the same situation yet there is a myriad of reactions.   In other words, we cannot simply say that a traffic jam is stressful because not everyone is stressed by it.  We can only say that a traffic jam is stressful only to those who attach an internal stressful response to it. If this is in fact the case, then:

  • House guests showing up unexpectedly isn't stressful, your response to it is.
  • That project deadline isn't stressful, your response to it is.
  • The holidays aren't stressful, your response to them is.
Now the point of this blog is not to tell you that the stresses you are bearing are unimportant.  Obviously they are because you have attached significant weight to your stressful situations.  My point is to alert you to the fact that YOU are in control of your responses to those situations which means, that you can change your response to them.  This is why we have designed a 21-day challenge all around stress and your response to it. The stress response it's self is inflexible, it's whole purpose is to prepare you to "fight or flight".  This physiological response was pretty darn important to our ancestor's who had to survive in the wild.  This physiological response is still helpful today on rare occasions when your child is running into oncoming traffic or when you are walking back to your car in a dark parking lot at night.  The big issue is that we aren't supposed to be chronically stressed and it's the chronic stress response that is affecting us so negatively. Your homework is to assess the potentially stressful situations you encounter this week and take a second to think about how you might handle this situation calmly.  The first question to ask is:  If I stress out, will it help solve the problem?  If the answer is no, try to close your eyes and breath in 10 slow breaths before you attack the solution to the problem in a positive, calm way. I've attached a pdf download for you to look at which just addresses a few of the physiological stress responses your body goes through in response to stress.  The Cost OF Stress  



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