Stressors are defined as events, conditions, or situations that trigger stress.
We all respond to stressors differently. Stress can either be acute (short term sudden stress) or chronic (long term recurring stress). Not all stress turns to distress. How we handle stress, acute or chronicle will determine the effect it has on us.
Acute stress, also termed fight-or-flight response, kicks in when we are faced with a challenge or threat. In instances of threats, it is immediate and often times very intense. But this is not always the case. One might also experience acute stress when preparing for an event that may be positive, such as a speaking event, a date, or a job interview. Our bodies are equipped to handle most instances of acute stress, however, some occurrences may have serious consequences such as post traumatic stress disorder or even a heart attack, depending on the circumstances and ones health.
Chronic stress is the type that sticks around. It is not usually as sudden and intense as acute stress but if not dealt with, will eventually turn to distress and will have consequences on our health. While it is true we all experience acute and chronic stress, how we handle these stressors will often determine the risks to our health, emotional well being, and mental state. We must first identify these stressors before we can heal from them. There are two additional categories which may help in the identification process.
1.) External stressors are events, situations, or conditions brought to us from an outside source. These may include situations such as death of a loved one, marriage, graduation, and divorce. Or it may simply be irritrations or annoyances from the surrounding environment, such as loud machinery, dogs barking, alarms, or irritating people. It may be financial worries or health concerns. The situations do not have to be negative to bring on stress.A wedding for example, may be exciting and stressfull as well.
2.) Internal stressors are equally troublesome. These may include fears, uncertainty, worries, or belief systems. Often our own thinking can induce stress in the form of opinions, expectations, or conceptions.
There are many ways to identify these sources but it is important to realize not all techniques work for each individual. It is often suggested to make a list of all things that are causing the stress, categoizing it, and dealing with each issue by changing our thoughts and forcing ourselves to react differently. The problem with this approach is it only works for those who are naturally analytical, conform well to a structured environment, and are not too despaired to think clearly.
If a person functions well within a structured environment, it makes sense to either retreat to a quiet place, spend some time thinking about the things listed above, and make a list of these stressors in the appropriate categories.
If a person functions better in an unstructured, spontaneous environment, it is best to find a quiet time and place to just be still. No music or background noise, just quiet. Life is too busy. Most of us are forced into this busy lifestyle just to make a living and keep our homesteads afloat. Taking time to retreat, even if just to a hot bath, is essential for healng. It is not necessary to make a list. It might be enough to just acknowledge the feelings as they arise. It may be just one issue, or it may be a whole host of issues, but letting them surface as they naturally choose to will allow the mind and body to set its own limits.
Which ever approach one chooses, it is extremely important not to force issues. Part of the healing process requires we learn to love ourselves, free of guilt and blame. We must learn to embrace ourselves with gentleness, allowing emotions to rise to the surface only when they are ready to do so. If using a list, it will become a tool to organize thoughts and gauge progress. It will change and grow as new thoughts arise, and shrink as items are removed. The most important thing to realize during this process, is it is just an identification stage.
Healing will follow but not if forced. This is not about managing stress, it is about recognizing what ails us. There are thousands of websites teaching how to manage stress. Why manage it when we can differentiate a healthy stress that is natural to our being and the lethal stress that is placed on us by others and our backward society, when we can learn to recognize the lethal stress for what it is and get rid of the cancer. Understanding the difference between the two will give us hope and strength. Hope and strength will bring healing.
We do not have to live in misery and pain. Emotions are just emotions. They have no power unless we give them power. Thoughts are just thoughts. They have no power unless we allow them to consume us. We must not fear this process. It is naturally cleansing. Just be still and quiet.
Mastering this step is essential and it must be a natural process.The mind will try to pull us back to our thoughts and the noise. There will be lots of instructions to find a qualified counselor or guru, or a trusted friend or family member to talk to. This is not to say we should never talk to trusted friends and family, or seek professional help. But if we are reliant only on the opinions and consultations of others, we set ourselves up for failure. No other person can know us the way we know ourselves. The answers we seek must come from within. We must eliminate all that noise and be still with ourselves. This is where our true power resides.
I have reached a point I do not allow others to consume every moment of my time. I have made it clear I need some time to myself to reflect. Initially, this did not go over well but over time it has been accepted. When I have no time to romp around in nature, I retreat to a place I have prepared in my home. Sometimes I open the drapes and let the sunshine engulf me. Other times I relax in the candle light.
Most important is to stay in the now, in the present moment and clear the mind. This is very difficult at first but with commitment it will eventually become second nature. As thoughts that were present when we enter this space melt away and the quiet is dominant, answers will come. Sometimes feelings will arise from nowhere and a new found understanding of the events that have caused them will appear. This is the body healing itself. It is wonderful because it is not forced or dug up prematurely. It appears when we are ready to deal with it.
This type of healing generally appears with subjects we are not seeking answers to when we entered this private time. This time can also be used to seek specific answers. The answers may not always be received at this time. They may follow later in various ways we recognize as the truth. Either way, the process is gentle, loving, and kind to the body and soul. It is by far the best way to identify the source of our stress and begin the healing process.
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