Tag: Stress

Stress-Busters 101 – How to Take Control!

The following blog, by my Florida colleague Bob Clark, was first published as Choosing Health

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Research shows that stress is a leading cause of serious health problems. When confronted with stress and the health problems it may cause, do we have any choice in the matter?

The Mayo Clinic’s website, in an article titled, Stress management, tells us that,“Over time, high levels of stress lead to serious health problems.”, but then adds a hopeful note, “You don’t have to let stress control your life.

Over 100 years ago, pioneering American physician/philosopher/psychologist William James, brother of Henry James and godson of Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, ‎”The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

The freedom to choose is a universally cherished human right. And the freedom to choose what and how we think may just be a big part of the answer to our current health care dilemma. If it’s true that serious…and seriously costly…health care problems are caused by unmanaged stress, and that stress can be managed inexpensively by making the right choices about our thinking and behavior, why don’t we hear more about this?

Below are some choices offered by the Mayo Clinic’s article, all aimed at managing stress and thus improving health.

*Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
*Practicing relaxation techniques
*Fostering healthy friendships
*Having a sense of humor
*Seeking professional counseling when needed

“The payoff of managing stress is peace of mind and — perhaps — a longer, healthier life.”

Interesting that none of these choices involve expensive drugs or medical interventions offered by large corporations or government programs. Just simple choices. Choose a healthy thought and follow it with a healthy behavior.

Simple…..but powerful.

Stress – no need to be a victim

Today’s blog is by Assistant District Manager Melvyn Howe

Life seems filled with stress – being a student, high pressured careers, changing jobs, moving house, troubled marriages, not to forget such daily banes as sardine-like commutes and unrelenting traffic.

Stress management therapies abound, including one that even recommends eating chocolate! There are also structured yoga and meditation classes and some undoubtedly help.

But the stillness and peace many aspire to can appear as unreachable as Shangri-la, the mystical Himalayan lamasery immortalised by British author James Hilton in his 1936 novel Lost Horizon.

Stress, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense”.

A host of studies insist the condition is a killer and to be avoided at all costs, while usually listing the situations – some unavoidable – said to cause it.

One relatively recent study of stress in monkeys found it made them fat and suggested it could have the same effect on people.

Another warned it wiped out brain cells.

So is there a real solution? In my experience there is and it is available to everyone.

A venerable quote on stress advises: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” (Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius)

Author and speaker Dr Wayne Dyer has said:The components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do.”

The common theme is that our consciousness has a central role in our experience.

Some years ago work pressures weighed me down, my driving manners deteriorated and my marriage suffered.

Life seemed like a pressure cooker.

But as I pondered the problem I realised my mental attitude was instrumental in determining whether pressures – perceived or actual – would become stressful.

My “estimate” of the situation had to change. The pivotal alteration would need to occur in my “thinking”.

It rapidly became clear another step in my understanding was necessary – I could not allow a stressful situation to take control of my thinking.

That, I realised, would prevent me being a victim.

Very rapidly, I realised what I had regarded as extreme stress at work – deadlines, competition, a paramount need for accuracy – were instead opportunities to flourish.

Fellow drivers no doubt benefitted enormously from my newly realised capacity to be courteous and relaxed, even in the face of the most extreme provocation.

As for my marriage – well we recently and very happily celebrated our 27th anniversary.