I have been bouncing this statement off a number of colleagues and was intrigued by some of the responses that I got back. When we talked our way through the concept we actually came to agree that the statement may well be true. So there you go! I have said it now – “there is no such thing as stress!”
So what is the definition of stress?
“The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”
A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
A state resulting from a stress; especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium <job-related stress>
In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems.
Stress can cause or influence the course of many medical conditions including psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. Medical problems can include poor healing, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes and many other conditions. Stress management is recognized as an effective treatment modality to include pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic components.”
We often hear the term Anxiety when we talk about stress. So what is anxiety?
“A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.”
Every day we encounter situations that results in our body responding to that situation in a number of different ways. Learning how to control how your body responds is part of the solution to eliminating what we call stress. I want you to think of a number of situations that you have encountered in the past week. We can allow our body to respond in a negative fashion which would create change in our body and that change may be negative. Focusing more on the positive and not subscribing to negativity would assist us in alleviating stress and anxiety. If we can start to do that more often we will see a positive change in our health as well as our overall behavior as we become more positive and less impacted by situations that are occurring in our life. Just think about it! Prior to us talking about how to manage all these situations in your life you would have succumbed to feelings of stress. You would have tried many different “stress management” techniques. If you can teach your body to respond in a more positive state then you don’t need to “manage” something that isn’t there. Remember that no matter what the situation is, you have choices you can make. You can allow the situation to manage how your body responds to the situation or you can train your body to manage the situation. You need to decide. I have been doing this now for a while and I am most definitely in a happier place than I have ever been. I manage and control the situations that come into my life. They do not manage me or how my body reacts. I credit a large part of this journey to mentoring and working with others. Seeing the challenges that they were having as well as my own gave me the push I needed to explore potential solutions to these situations. There will still be times where as a mentor I need to refer people to professional counselors and I will do that as it is in their best interests. Learning to control/manage how our body responds in situations is the key to happiness and a life where you control situations and they do not control you.
This does not happen over time and a trained mentor can walk beside you on your journey to teaching your body how to react to these situations. I look forward to the opportunity to walk with you on a path to happiness.