Stress: the danger lies in lack of understanding and mismanagement. “Okay, so I don’t understand stress and mismanage it – what do I do now?” You deserve to be comfortable, so how ’bout we review some trusty remedies in this final piece of our need-to-know series on stress…
Our friend opened his eyes last week when he learned about the stress response system, and now his head is up. He’s decided to focus upon looking for stress remedies and he’s willing to work hard on blending them into his life.
Well, it’s time to wrap-up our three-part need-to-know stress series. And what could be better than some trusty remedies to frost the cake?
Let’s get rolling with the quotation I shared in Part 1 from Dr. Hans Selye, one of the early pioneers of stress research: “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.” It’s so important to remember that.
Though we can minimize the quantity and intensity of our stressors, we’ll never be totally stress-free. That’s why Selye’s observation is so crucial to survival. Yes, freedom can only be found in managing how we react to our stressors.
So it all comes down to what we do with the input of what could become a stressor when it hits our senses.
Trusty remedies prerequisites
Heading into our trusty remedies, you need to become very familiar with two things. We’ll call them prerequisites…
- How our stress response system works, as detailed in Part 2
- The relaxation response, developed by Dr. Herbert Benson
I think Dr. Herbert Benson merits a bit of a bio. Dr. Benson is a Mind Body Professor of Medicine at Harvard University and Director Emeritus and found of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.
Benson pioneered mind/body research in the 1960s, focusing upon stress. Along the way, he developed the relaxation response: the ability of the body to induce decreased activity of muscles and organs. In essence, it allows voluntary management of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary life-sustaining functions such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate. and the fight/flight response. Prior to Benson, voluntary control over the autonomic nervous system was believed to be impossible.
Make sure you read and absorb Dr. Benson’s quotation in the image.
10 trusty remedies
Well alright, the table’s been set and we’re ready for our 10 trusty remedies for stress. And I want you to know they come from personal experience and insight…
- Accept that stress isn’t the villain, well, you are – if you don’t think, feel, and act in the role of decision-maker for, and manager of, your mind and body.
- Come up with a solid visual of the flow of the stress response system. You need to be able to actually see the physiological goings-on as a stressor begins to impact how you’re functioning. How else are you going to intervene?
- Know your major stressors and understand how they work in and on your body.
- Learn and practice the relaxation response. Call on it prior to or during stressful circumstances.
- Knowing the stress response begins with the amygdala’s threat interpretation, work on modifying the amygdala’s take. Cognitive restructuring is just one technique.
- Do all you can to side-step your major stressors. I understand, sometimes you can’t. So prepare for what may occur by knowing the techniques you’ll use to manage.
- Anger – often hidden – can make stress management difficult. Evaluate where you are with anger, and if you believe there’s an issue, address it.
- Make sure you’re consistently getting a quality night’s sleep. You can’t blow this off.
- Bring exercise and a healthy diet into your life. Supplements may help as well.
- Monitor the amount of time you’re spending in your head, and learn how to take a break. Things like spiritual practice, social activities, creative endeavors, exercise, and lending a hand to others can be of assistance.
So what do you think? Perhaps you already carry a few trusty remedies in your back pocket. And maybe you’ll come up with more.
Point is, if you’re serious about knocking down stress, you have to be proactive and work hard at it. In time, it’ll get easier.
That wraps the series
That’s going to do it for our need-to-know stress series. We learned about what stress is and its history, our stress response system, and some trusty remedies.
In closing, I want you to think about sitting in your favorite restaurant – with a screaming child at the next table. Your stress response system has been ignited and you’ve become agitated. But don’t blame the child and supervising adult. Interpretation and management are all on you.
That’s just how it works.
Be sure to read the first two parts of the series: Stress: The need-to-know series Stress: The need-to-know series | Part 2: The stress response
And don’t even think about not checking-out the hundreds of Chipur articles waiting to assist you.
Dr. Herbert Benson image and quotation: AZ Quotes