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Are You Stressed ?

Issue Number: #061
Date: 21 March 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Today's tip is all about stress. Stress often has negative connotations in our minds, but it can also be a healthy part of our lives.

When we think about stress, we usually focus on the negative aspects. These negatives include feeling unable to do things, getting irritated, experiencing a stress response that makes us freeze, fight others, or want to withdraw from the situation.

Stress factors

Stress can be an emotionally charged experience with two main factors.

One factor is when something suddenly happens and we have to react immediately. This stress causes body changes but they are reverted within three minutes of the stress cause being removed.

The other is prolonged stress, which lasts over several days, weeks, or months. This type of stress can cause anxiety and physical changes like vomiting, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, and it affects our mental health too. But if not dealt with it can lead to long-term illness and premature death.

Is stress avoidable?

However, stress is not just bad; it's anything that makes us adapt to change.

Any change in our life, good or bad brings about stress. For example, the exhilaration of being in love causes stress too, but we often enjoy that stress if the love is reciprocated. Achieving a goal also brings positive stress.

So instead of thinking about stress as bad or good, consider how it affects you. Learn how to promote the good stress that benefits you and how to cope with or avoid the stress that brings negative experiences.

The key to managing stress is understanding that our emotions are influenced by how we perceive and interpret situations. To feel more relaxed and less stressed about an experience, try not to automatically label any situation as stressful. Instead, consciously stop and think about what happened and what it really means.

The first aid in moments of stress is to pause and reflect on what this situation truly means for you. Our initial response may not always be accurate or helpful, so taking a moment to assess and understand can make a significant difference in how we manage our stress levels.

We might think we're right, but sometimes we can be wrong. So it's important to stop and think.

Four sources of stress

There are four main sources of stress: environmental, social, physiological, and psychological.

Environmental stress comes from things like noise, traffic or events happening around us.
Social stress is caused by interacting with others, such as work-related issues, relationship problems or losing loved ones.
Physiological stress comes from changes in our bodies as we age or experience certain events.
The main source of stress is psychological, which is how we interpret situations.

Stress management

To manage stress, consider what causes your stress reactions and start with your mindset. How you think about a situation is the main cause of stress. Bad stress can even lead to chronic diseases, but you can prevent this by changing your mindset and actions.

Firstly, stop and think about the true meaning of the situation you're facing. Secondly, accept that change is constant and be willing to adapt. This doesn't mean simply tolerating changes but actively working on them and even altering the situation if needed.

Take your time when making decisions and consider how you can adjust to each change. Don't rush it. If possible, anticipate changes by thinking about your day ahead and potential challenges you may face. Quickly create a mental image of how you'll handle these situations without going into too much detail.

By adopting this approach, you'll become better at managing stress and adapting to change in your life.

Preventing stress

Thinking ahead and anticipating changes is one of the best tools I use to manage stress. It works like this:

In the morning i spend a few moments imagining the day ahead. In my mind I create a video of expected situations. In the reel I imagine different reactions of people around me and how I will deal with them. The fact that I did a bit of acting in my youth comes handy, but anyone can learn to do it.

I don't do it just in the morning.

If I am expecting discussion with someone about difficult subject, I take a few moments beforehand and I play out what I will say, likely reaction and my response. It's like a dress rehearsal before the premiere. Yes, he or she might not agree, and that's okay. Playing this out in my mind beforehand takes the edge away and I can relax and go on with my life irrespective of the outcome.
There are other things you can do too.

When something happens

Remember not to rush when dealing with pressing issues.

Often, our minds perceive these matters as more urgent than they actually are. Asking yourself what will happen if the issue isn't resolved right away can be useful.

Of course, sometimes you need to act quickly and decisively, like when someone cuts you off on the motorway. However, most changes in our lives have a buffer zone, allowing us time to think and come up with the best solution.

It's essential to recognise that some things are beyond our control, and we should be compassionate and patient with ourselves and others.

The worst and best response to stress

One of the most damaging stress responses is anger and hostility combined with withdrawing from social contact. People who react this way are more likely to suffer from heart disease and other stress-related illnesses like cancer.

In contrast, strong social ties can be an affordable and effective remedy. As a psychologist Shelley E. Taylor once said,
"Social ties are the cheapest medicine we have."

By connecting with others through open discussions, empathy, and understanding, we can use social support groups to give and receive help. This approach can prevent prolonged stress responses and improve our overall well-being.

My tip for today:

stress depression anxiety burnout running man
When you are stressed, STOP!

Take a few deep breaths, focusing only on the air filling and leaving your body.
THEN start with assessing the situation.
  • What does it really mean?
  • How urgent it really is?
  • What opportunities it brings?
  • How can I use it?
Remember, most situations do not require immediate reactions.

That's all from me today .

Have a great rest of your Thursday, I hope this helps you a bit, and I am curious. What are your ways of coping with stress? Do you have "go to" process?
As always, a big thank you for being a part of the Growing Tree of Life.

See you next Thursday!


      P.S. I didn't forget about the new "educational" newsletter. I am still working on the system of delivering it. My idea is that it will be like a resource send to people in sequence from the day they will subscribe. That mean when someone subscribes, they will not be put in the middle of a topic, but will start receiving emails in sequence as they were originally created, starting from number one. It's a bit trickier to set it up than I thought.

      P.P.S. If you missed my free live webinar "It's Time To Be Me", it is now available in a FB group named "It's Time To Be Me". The workbook is also available in the group for download.
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