Let’s Talk About Stress, Baby!

Let’s talk about stress, baby

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things

And the bad things that may be

Let’s talk about stress.

I think I like the use of song lyrics in the blog posts. I just might keep it as a theme.  How do you feel about that? Leave us a comment below. If you hadn’t noticed, my musical outburst are triggered by just about anything.

Anywho, let’s get to what you came for. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re talking about stress today! With everything going on in the world today, I believe it is safe to say that everyone is under stress. I have to mention that because I had a student a few years back that wanted to argue with me that she does not experience stress. She would not even listen to the explanation of it.

Let’s clear this up really fast: NOT ALL STRESS IS BAD!

What is Stress?

Reflecting on the aforementioned encounter with a former student, I realize that her definition of stress was different from mine. She looked at stress as a concept that is 100% negative. For the sake of this and future posts let’s define stress as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action.

During our time on this earth, we experience both distress and eustress.

‘Distress’ is the term often used to describe the bad kind of stress. This is the kind of feeling you get when a loved one dies, you have medical problems, or your job has unreasonable demands.

‘Eustress’ is the term often used to describe the good kind of stress. This is the kind of feeling you get when standing on top of a mountain about to head down on skies, or when you’re playing a game and you’re completely focused because you only have one life left. This is the kind of mild stress that increases dopamine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The key is to keep challenging yourself, keep subjecting yourself to new experiences and to make sure you manage the stress in a healthy manner. The worst thing you can do is to sit home stressing about how lonely you are, or to sit in the same office, doing the same work, every single day while being under a lot of stress.

Stress Management Techniques

The reality is that while we can’t control our circumstances, we can control the way we react to them. “I am the one thing in life I can control,” says Aaron Burr (not the real Aaron Burr, but the character from the Hamilton musical). When you’re lonely or bored, there are things you can do to bring meaning back into your life – even if it’s as simple as setting up a new device or learning a new skill like painting or gardening. Some wisdom I have gained over the years is that it is the simple things in life that bring us the greatest pleasure.

If you’re stressed at work, consider quitting – after all, your health is the most important thing. Just please make sure you have another job or source of income lined up before you do. That would lead to more distress and these situations tend to compound. Trust me, you do not want those problems.

When I would work with Caregivers, who are some of the most stressed people I’ve met, there was one constant theme. It was the lack of self-care. We would always tell them, “You can’t effectively care for anyone else if your health and well-being are suffering as a result of stress and self-neglect.”. So let’s take better care of ourselves!

Meditation

There are many stress management techniques for you to try. Of these, the most successful and popular is probably meditation. It’s no coincidence that a lot of Buddhist monks seem to live exceedingly long. To give meditation a shot, you could try downloading the popular mobile app ‘Head Space’ which will talk you through a few guided meditation sessions or InnaPeace, an on-demand audio program designed for deeper states of meditation. It is a goal of ours to add free guided meditations to our LPG Wellness YouTube channel soon. Stay tuned!

Mindfulness

Otherwise, you can try transcendental or mindfulness meditation on your own. The key is to calm the mind and to stop worrying about things. The big mistake we often make is to try and ‘force’ this to happen when in reality, this defies the point entirely! When you try and ‘force’ yourself to calm, you are actually anything but. Instead, you should simply sit somewhere quietly, close your eyes, and then see what happens.

If your mind wanders, then just make a note of it and focus back on your breathing or on keeping your mind still. It takes some practice, but just 10 minutes a few times a week can make a significant difference. Eventually, meditation will become a tool you can use to stay calm under any circumstances.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Another option is to look into CBT, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is a psychotherapeutic technique that teaches clients how to calm their minds and overcome a stress response. Often, all it takes is a fresh perspective on your situation. For example, ‘thought challenging’ is a type of ‘cognitive restructuring’ that teaches you to examine your fears and determine whether they are truly worth fearing or if you have exaggerated them.

If you suffer from a lot of stress, consider seeing a professional cognitive behavioral therapist, who is able to teach you tools that can then be used to overcome stressful situations. The most important thing to remember is to try to make the best of your situation, which means putting yourself out there, trying new things, and meeting new people. I could go on for days about this, but I’ll spare you my rants for now. In subsequent posts, we’ll discuss other aspects of stress management as they relate to health, such as nutrition and supplements.

Be on the lookout for more tips on how to manage stress!

Thank you for reading, visiting, and helping build a simpler world focused on what’s truly important and relevant.

Welcome to our world!

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