Stress comes to us in a variety of ways both negative and positive. A college student may use the stress and worry of passing the test to encourage them to study while a young bride trying to put together her wedding can definitely suffer from not only the stress of getting married, but the stress of putting together the perfect wedding. Whether the stress comes from a negative or positive event, it still can take a toll on our psyche and physical well-being.
What gets your stress meter going on high? Do you pound the steering wheel and sometimes feel as if you are losing your mind as you wait stuck in traffic for hours? Do you spend hours trying to figure out a way to get out of having to attend that school function? Have you suffered a recent loss? Did you know that bereavement – the loss of a loved one – is considered one of the top stressors we experience in our lives?
Most of the time we do not have the ability to control that which is causing stress in our lives. Those who find themselves performing an act of love and sacrifice such as care-giving did not ask for the situation that put them in the position of being a care-giver. However, they can find themselves in a unique position to experience not only the nervousness and fear that comes with caring for someone, but the joys and special gifts that can be experienced when caring for another’s well-being on a daily basis.
The Encarta Dictionary defines Stress as: “1. Strain felt by somebody. mental, emotional, or physical strain caused, e.g. by anxiety or overwork. It may cause such symptoms as raised blood pressure or depression.” The cause of that strain can also be referred to as a Stressor. This definition shows that stress is also something that is very personal and unique to each individual with its very vagueness. What is a big stressor for one person can be no problem for another … stress is a very individualized thing.
What is even quirkier is that what stresses you out one day may be something you enjoy on a different day. Stress can be related to depression (long-term feeling of unhappiness) or it could arrive without any warning or symptoms and last for only a few moments. You may have been fine with things when you went to bed, in the morning wake up “on the wrong side of the bed” and have everything build all day so that by the end of the day you are ready to explode.
Change is sometimes difficult for us to accept, especially when it is change we do not want – and that can create high levels of stress. We are at high risk to fall prey to the negative effects of stress when it is related to sudden change. Change that happens quickly can be very stressful, especially when several changes occur at the same time or close together and we are not allowed a chance to recover in between.
A big stressor for a lot of people is the “daily grind,” that step by step, pay the bills, get the kids to school, take care of this, handle that and, oh yeah, in your copious free time you have to figure out a way to pay for college for three! Cell phones, tablets, lap tops, televisions and desk tops keep us connected to the world which can, sometimes, add to our stress.
Take heart, stress can be overcome in a variety of ways. By identifying your triggers – what really stresses you out – and finding ways to deal with it in advance can really bring down the stress levels. Make sure to check back frequently over the next few months to access more articles about how to deal with stress.
(Holding doctoral degrees in Divinity and Theology from the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary, Dr. Nikki Judge is the executive director of Black Rose Spiritual Center. A gifted spiritual reader she has helped nearly 175,000 people in her career. Along with a good book and a purring cat Dr. Nikki enjoys getting out in the sun and fresh air of western Montana. You can visit her at www.YourSpiritualGrowthCenter.org )