Inner Decisions

Are you stressed?

Stress is what is perceived as a danger that generates fear. That fear may be external or internal, may be physically real or anticipation of a prospective danger made real in our thoughts or psychological stress. These thoughts, this stress, causes a release of chemicals in the body. Interestingly, the same chemical reactions occur whether the individual is confronted with an actual life-threatening danger or a psychological threat constructed from a non-real emotional fear. A woman, home alone, hears shuffling at her front door and her body reacts as if it is a murderous villain lurking intent on attacking her when in actuality it is the neighbor’s golden retriever sniffing around for a snack. The woman’s body chemistry reacted to the dangerous possibility of death created by her thoughts. She learned to fear threats of danger when alone and has been taught that she is never completely safe. What was not real became real from her perspective, until she discovered otherwise.

Humans can learn to manage fear in one or more (singly or in combination) by using a wide variety of stress reduction techniques. Some of these options may help the body physically such as slowed or mindful breathing, stretching, autogenics, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy, or gentle exercise. Nutritionally, a person with chronic stress will benefit from a low carbohydrate diet rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, and B complex plus Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Emotionally, an individual could benefit from positive affirmations, the 54321 approach, relaxation therapy, self-hypnosis, visualization of a safe place when stressed. Perhaps a specific type of music, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), art therapy, talk therapy, color therapy, or laughter therapy would decrease the symptoms of stress. Changing one’s environment may decrease stress such as moving to a quiet room with decreased artificial light. Or perhaps creating a stress-management room with aromatherapy, dim lighting, warm colors, comforting fabrics, and relaxing seating.  Spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, labyrinth walking, chanting, using a mantra, reiki, or other options could be helpful.

What works for you? How do you better cope with your stressors?

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