Stress occurs when our body thinks it is in danger. It is an ancient, primordial reaction to real or perceived threats to life and limb. Tens of thousands of years ago stress kept us alive through predator attacks, starvation, and other real dangers. In our modern world stress comes from other places and much of it is self induced. We can’t do much about real world stress from outside forces other than learning to stay calm and breathe through it. But things like traffic, finances, or relationship stress can be managed. Your body does not differentiate real stress from perceived stress. In other words your body is going to react the same way whether you are being chased by a bear or you get mad at the talking head on TV.
Some people manage by looking at the worst case scenario. What is the worst that could happen…this is a strategy I don’t recommend, personally…since the worst that could happen could be pretty bad and just give you more to worry about. I have never found it to be especially useful but some do. There is no right way to manage stress but there are some things that are not good…drugs, alcohol, and eating all come to mind. All of these things actually create even more stress in your body. This is an evil circle that will take you down the drain.
Manage stress through breathing, meditation, soothing music, exercise (endorphins) spending relaxing time with loved ones (endorphins again). A large part of this management process has to do with understanding that there is no “normal”, no perfect. These are all constructs we create designed to have us feel even worse about our performance or general being. Let it go. Worrying is a useless activity. If you can change it, change it. If you can’t change it don’t worry about it. I can’t change the traffic. I can’t change my arrival time. I can change how I feel about the traffic. Change that and relieve the stress you are putting on yourself.
So…relax, breath, and smile. You are in charge of your attitude. So take charge.
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