People are always telling me that they are stressed and it's becoming an epidemic. I'm stressed because of ________, I'm stressed because my child is _______, I'm stressed because I can not ________, I'm sure many of us can fill in these blanks and many more!

So what exactly are we experiencing when we say we are stressed? According to the Canadian Mental Health Association stress comes from both good and bad events in our life. Stress can become a problem when we do not know how to handle a situation.

As defined by Helpguide – stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset. When you sense danger whether its real or imagined the body's defenses kick into high gear in an automatic process known as the “flight or flight or freeze” reaction. Also known as the “stress response”.

We can experience external causes for stress and internal causes for stress. External causes can be anything from life changes, relationship challenges, financial problems to children and family Internal causes things like caring, negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations to an all or nothing mindset. Sadly many people deal with stress that only add to the problem, like drinking too much, over eating, distract themselves by hours upon hours of TV or computer time. And even more sadly some people use pills to relax or lash out at other people, especially those closest to us.

So how do we deal with stress so that we can live a more stress free life? You have more control over stress than you might believe because you do have control over how you respond to stress. Take control of what you think, how you feel, how you manage your time, your environment and how you deal with each event that can cause stress. Taking control of stress means changing the situation when you can and let go when you can not, taking care of yourself by exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting the proper rest and relaxation for your body. also offers the following to learn how to manage stress:

Remember the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

§ Avoid unnecessary stress when possible

§ Alter the situation, if you can not avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it.

§ Adapt to the stress when you can not change the stress, try changing yourself.

§ Accept the things you can not change, there will always be stressors in life that you can not do anything about.

So my challenge for you this week is to identify what makes you stressed and practice the 4 “A's” to relate some of that stress!

Have a “stress-free” week!


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