Stress Relief: What is stress? 2/4

Stress Relief through Proper Management

What is stress?

Article two of four in Stress management series

by Art Martin Ph.D

Stress is difficult for scientists to define because it is a subjective sensation associated with varied symptoms that differ for each of us. Hans Selye set out the first definition. Many scientists see stress as a reaction to events in our life which cause a reaction in our body. Stress is an emotional physiological reaction which everyone experiences as he or she encounters changes in life.  Sudden changes in our environment will cause our body to set up our flight or fight mechanism to protect us from the perceived danger.. They can have positive or negative effects.  Stress can make you deal with situations which you may be procrastinating over and therefore force you to take notice of the challenges or impending crisis which may cause conflicts. The negative effects when you allow the issue to become continuous or get you down can cause depression, heart disease or even cancer.  When we can’t deal with an issue we unconsciously look for way out of the crisis.  Avoiding the issue does not make it go away.  All it does is delay the consequences. If the trauma becomes obsessive we escape into a split or multiple personality.  At this point we have lost control over activity in our life and go on auto pilot.  (My books, “Your Body Is Talking Are You Listening” and “ReParenting Yourself”, go into detail on how handle this conflict.)

We all have stress sometimes. For some people, it happens before having to speak in public. For other people, it might be before a first date, having to meet a deadline for a report or simply asserting themselves in a conversation. The financial crisis today can cause more stress.  What causes stress for you may not be stressful for someone else. Sometimes stress is helpful – it can encourage you to meet a deadline or get things done. But long-term stress can increase the risk of diseases like depression, heart disease, and a variety of other problems. A stress-related illness called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after an event like war, a traumatic event such as, physical or sexual assault, or a natural disaster.

Not all people suffer or struggle with stress.  Stress only exists if you allow it to affect you.  As such, when we evaluate the stressor which affects people we find that there are people who do not react to stress.  At this point we have to understand that stress is not universal, affecting all people.  There are stressful people and there are people who do not react to stress.  What is the magic quality that protects some people from stress?  From my prospective it has to do with knowing and accepting who you are.  Knowing that you are all right with you and knowing outside effects can not cause conflict within you.  Try to follow the advice in Reinhold Niebuhr’s, serenity prayer, “Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  In other words you can not have any effect on the outcome drop it and do not worry about it.  Which means stress is worry and is only fear that something is going to affect me and I can not control it, which causes me to create stress. Depression is loss of control and attempting to escape from the stressor which you may not recognize.

Many of these effects are due to increased sympathetic nervous system activity and an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-related hormones.  Certain types of chronic and more insidious stress due to loneliness, poverty, bereavement, depression and frustration due to discrimination are associated with impaired immune system resistance to viral linked disorders.  These range from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and cancer.  Stress can have effects on other brain neurotransmitters, additional small chemical messengers such as interleukins, seratonin, prostaglandins and hormones as well as crucial enzyme systems, and metabolic activities that are still unknown.  Research in these areas may help to explain how stress can contribute to depression, anxiety and its diverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract, skin and other organs. The physical reaction is to increase our heart rate and to dump adrenaline into our blood stream in readiness for the need to act or deal with the stressor.

Since our mind interprets all sensory input literally, the perceived effect may not always be a synonym for distress. Situations like a steep roller coaster ride that causes fear and anxiety for some can prove highly pleasurable for others. Winning a race or being invited to speak at a conference could cause as much stress as a negative experience.  Stress is an unavoidable consequence of life, yet there are people who are not affected by stress. There are some stresses like the loss of parent, partner, friend or loss of a job or position that you can’t control or avoid and others that you can prevent or influence. The trick is in learning how to distinguish between the two so that you’re not constantly frustrated like Don Quixote tilting at windmills and devote your time and talent to areas where you can make a difference.  When we learn to understand and cope with loss we no longer experience grieving over a loss.  What IS — IS, it is in the past. There isn’t anything we can do about the past.  There is something we can do about our situation in the present. How do we cope with it all?

We will cover that in the next article in this series.

Dealing with stress can be accomplished in many ways.  Exercise, diet, herbal preparations and many of the alternative therapies can help to relieve stress.  The best method is to be able to control it with your mind.  When you are balanced in your acceptance and validation of self you do not self reject which is one of the main causes of stress.  The methods that contribute to more stress are alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, feeling burned out and Chronic Fatigue.   Psycho active drugs may produce an effect that appears to reduce or relieve stress and depression but this is just temporary since you get addicted to the drugs to keep the stress level down or to elevate yourself from depression.  Sometimes the side effects are more traumatic than stress.  The key is to recognize stress can’t affect you. Some people will not accept or believe we can counteract stress with our mind, but can be done very effectively.

Dr. Art Martin has been working in the personal transformation field helping people to redirect their life for peace, happiness, harmony and joy for 30 years.  He has discovered the root cause of the majority of our problems begin in the first four years of our life.  The main cause is the dysfunctional parenting program that was given to us by our parents.  Control, authority, discipline and compliance do not work as can be seen by all the dysfunctional children who grow up and perpetuate the program as it has gone on for generations after generations.  Being unable to cope with stress is one of the major effects of not being able to understand what the eight qualities of unconditional love are.  Most people are adult children, yet to understand what I just stated you have to have a frame of reference to recognize the meaning.  The majority of us can’t even remember much of our childhood, yet we do not want to acknowledge something was not right in our childhood.  Most of us grew up feeling rejected, not recognized, validated or accepted which nearly destroyed our self esteem, self worth and self confidence. Where do we go from here?

We need to ReParent Ourselves and grow up again.  This is the topic of his new book “ReParenting Yourself”.  We also produce a product that will eliminate stress and the related effects from stress and depression.   To find out more about this product go to www.StressBlocker.org.

In future articles we will write about how to control, release and manage stress so we can have peace, happiness, joy and harmony in our life.

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