How often during your week do you feel stressed out?
If more than two or three times, then you’re up there with the
national average. So how do you control your emotional states?
A 1996 Prevention magazine survey found that almost 75% of people feel they have “great stress” one day a week, with one out of three saying they feel this way more than twice a week. Job stress tends to be the leading cause of stress for adults, although stress levels have also escalated in children, teenagers, college students and the elderly. It’s been estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. No doubt this number will keep rising as the decade’s progress.
Hans Selye father of the “stress theory” describes stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it.” Stress can be either physiological or psychological in nature. Stress is the response to events in our environment. First come the stressors (cause) and then the stress (effects). If stress isn’t controlled or alleviated it can literally be stored up in the body and may lead to physical and emotional disruption such as sicknesses, cold, flu, headaches, insomnia, or more severe symptoms such as chronic pain, depression, heart attacks, cancer, or even suicide.
The fact is it’s not the ‘stressors’ of our environment that cause us to stress out. It’s how we respond to the events in our life, not the events themselves. Think about it, how can the same experience such as losing or transferring your job garner such a different response from two different individuals? In simple terms, it’s the meaning we place upon the events which create the emotional reactions we experience. All of the clinical research, which has been conducted over the century, has shown that stress is “the perception of not being in control.” Since we cannot control our outside circumstances or events, the only way to regain a sense of control is to effectively manage our emotions.
Within the technology of NLP – neuro-linguistic programming, there are two things that predicate our behavior, Focus and Physiology! Focus is the meaning we place upon the events in our world and what we choose to focus on internally. Physiology is how we use our bodies to respond to those outside conditions. Either we control our emotions or we allow our emotions to control us! The most effective way to handle stress or anxiety is to change your physiology, specifically your body posture AND your breathing. Your state of mind is tied directly into the positioning of your body. How do to stand or sit when you’re depressed? Slumped and slouching? Breathing shallow and restricted? How is your posture when you’re happy or excited, upright and open? Breathing full and deep?
So, whenever you’re confronted with a challenge in life, STOP, and ask yourself “what does this mean?” Then immediately change your posture and your breathing. Because each emotional state of mind has a specific physiology associated to it, then it stands to reason if you shift your physiology to a more resourceful posture then your emotional state will change, leaving you feeling more empowered to deal with life as it arises!
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