Stress is a natural part of life. These days there are very few who don’t get stressed over money, the economy, the housing market, jobs or even family. Our bodies naturally react to stress through blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, body temperature and muscle contractions. Everyone deals with stress on different levels and in different ways. However, if one is not able to deal with stress it can ultimately lead to mental and physical exhaustion.
It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the word stress was used to characterize a condition where a stressor causes stimulus. Hans Selye, an endocrinologist, witnessed an inappropriate physiological response to demand placed on a human or animal. Before coining the term stress was considered a normal part of daily function and encounters that results in strain. Now, we know that stress plays an important part in physical, emotional and mental well being.
Stress is defined as a failure to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats whether they are real or imagined. The signs of stress are easily recognizable and can present themselves as cognitive, behavioral, emotional or physical symptoms. Therefore when presented with stress one’s whole demeanor, attitude and presence can change. Cognitive, emotional and behavioral symptoms include poor judgment, negative outlook, anxiety, worrying, moodiness, irritability, agitation, inability to relax, loneliness, isolation, depression, lack of concentration and absentmindedness. Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, breathing, energy, blood pressure, cholesterol and production of sweat. Stress can also cause physical symptoms of aches and pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, chest pain, upset stomach and headache. Chronic stress that occurs over a longer period of time consistently can cause both physical and psychological damage to a person. Long-term stress depresses the immune system leaving it susceptible to infections, disease, and illness. Stress promotes the accumulation of visceral fat, which is a leading cause of obesity. Additional chronic stress has been connected to ulcers, cancer, heart disease, increased outbreaks of psoriasis, depression and diabetes. In children who experience chronic stress a stunt to developmental growth is normally seen.
Stress is normally given a bad connotation, which implies it is negative. However, most people forget or don’t mention good stress. When Hans Selye discovered stress, he studied all types of stress and realized that stress even when its good is still a stress nonetheless. He developed eustress or good stress and distress or bad stress. Eustress is a condition that enhances ones physical or mental function such as exercise, marriage, having a baby or a promotion. Where as, distress is persistent stress that is not resolved through coping or adaptation, which can lead to symptoms of withdrawal or anxiety. The difference between good and bad stress is based upon one’s past experiences, personal expectations, and the resources to cope with stress.
Coping with stress is not an easy task. Everyone adapts to stress differently and some people have an easier time dealing with stress than others. The way that the body reacts to a stressor is understood through the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which describes the effects of stress on the body. Depending upon the intensity and duration of the stressor will determine if the stress is acute-short term or chronic-long term. At the first sign of stress the bodies stress response is in a state of alarm. The body reacts by producing adrenaline which causes a fight or flight response. Fight or flight is the body’s way of preparing to fight (cope, adapt) or flee. The second stage is the resistance to stress. If a stressor persists the body must find a means of coping with the stress. Does the body have a way to adapt to the strain or demands of the surrounding environment? As we cope with stress, the body’s resources (nutrients, enzymes, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals) are gradually depleted. The final stage is exhaustion where the body’s resources are completely used up, leading to inability to function normally. Weakness, fatigue decreased energy, inability to concentrate or think clearly are all signs of exhaustion. Long-term exhaustion can be detrimental to ones health and can manifest disease. Although, these stages represent a model of how stress affects the body, stress can manifest itself differently in every person.
No two people will respond to the exact same stressor in the exact same way. Life experience and social background play a role in determining ones ability to cope with stress. Normal responses to stress include adaptation, coping, anxiety and depression. Coping mechanisms include stress management. Stress management provides individuals with techniques to handle stress on a daily basis. Learning to cope with stress will help you live a happier, healthier life.
Sarah Labdar – About the Author:
Graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me. Check out my health website!
Practicing relaxation techniques can help calm our
days when they get too stressful. It’s easy to miss out on enjoying a day in our
life if our minds are filled with worrisome thoughts and our bodies are tense
with stress. A day lived is not coming back and we should not lose it in this
For starters, eliminate some things. Avoid running around
frantically trying to do too many things. Slow down and move with an easy
If you cannot avoid problems and busy days, get in the habit of
pausing to breathe slowly and deeply. Try to continue with easy breathing as you
continue on with your tasks.
If you can get a short break
create a detailed peaceful retreat in your imagination and go there to calm your
feelings. Picture it in vivid detail. Perhaps a comfortable room with soft
music, a quiet place in the woods, a placid lake, a beautiful garden with
flowers, trees, birds. Perhaps such a place already exists. While you are there,
let go of everything except where you are.
Create a personal selection of
calming words like serene, tranquil, peaceful and repeat them to yourself as you
move through your day.
After work perhaps you can have a relaxing pastime
such as walking or listening to music.
“There is however, a true music of
nature – the song of the birds, the whisper of leaves, the ripple of waters upon
a sandy shore, the wail of wind or sea.” –
We all have emotions, that is a given. As our day unfolds, we may experience a variety of emotions depending upon the people we interact with, the tasks we undertake, our communing and so on all of which stimulate feelings which in turn result in emotions. What about relieving stress?
When driving to work and traffic is heavy, do you find yourself tense and anxious? If you get cut off or a driver won’t let you over when you need to change lanes, do you become enraged? At work, are your co-workers chronically complaining about their families or health issues? All of these situations add stress, anxiety and a general feeling of negativity to your life. Not a very pleasant picture. Do this on a daily basis and it is no wonder you begin to have aches, pains, stiffness, stomach trouble, etc. All related to some form of emotional stress.
Fortunately, there are alternatives; there is a bright and shiny light at the end of the tunnel. How we choose to react to these interactions will make a difference as to the affect their emotions can have on our body. We do have the option of taking control of the emotional roller coaster we are on. Having the freedom to enjoy a higher quality of life is our God given right. We just need to know how relieve stress, anxiety, fear, frustration and a host other negative emotions in our life.
First, let’s take a look at what goes on in our body when we react to various emotions. We know that our body is designed to protect us when in danger and this is a good thing. This is called the fight or flight syndrome and during this type of situation our body releases certain chemicals that causes our body to shut down certain systems and put other systems into overdrive. This served us quite well during the cave man days when threatened by beasts. It also comes in handy if we are threatened by a mugger or other such incident. But it also comes into play when our brain receives signals from out body through our emotions that relay heightented states of duress or stress which releases a chemical called cortisol.
During these times of stress, the ongoing release of cortisol stops the healing process and actually causes damage to the immune system. So, when you find yourself fealing anxious or stressed, you have higher levels of cortisol running amuck in your body which causes degenerative changes. It supresses your immune system and over long periods of time can lead to other process such as disease.
Pharmacologist Connie Grauds, R. Ph., states in her book The Energy Prescription that “An undisciplined mind leaks vital energy in a continuous stream of thoughts, worries, and skewed perceptions, many of which trigger disturbing emotions and degenerative chemical processes in the body”.
Our genes determine our physical characteristics but NOT our psychological charateristics. We can exert a tremendous amount of control over our genes actually changing the quality of our life simply by taking control of our emotions. Our genes can be activated through stimulation from our environment – both the outer environment in which we live, work and play as well as our internal, biological environment.
The outer environment consists of our family, business, social networks, foods, toxins, church, parks, etc. The inner environment consists of our thoughts and beliefs, emotions, biochemical, energetic and spiritual components.
Our thoughts and emotions affect our genes everyday every bit as much as the environment we live in. Your beliefs become biology! The more we focus on a specific thought or practice a specific action, the higher number of neurons are required in our brain to transmit the thoughts which means increased pathways are required to handle the processing of this information. So our brains can be reshaped according to our thoughts and thought patterns.
Our thoughts and emotions turn are genes on and off. Our brain holds the keys to our own pharmaceutical division which has a complete array of healing compounds waiting to be delivered throughout our body – on command. Our body was perfectly engineered, created and designed to secrete chemicals specifically to enhance our immune system. We have chemicals on board to make us feel happy (serotonin), chemicals that reduce or eliminate pain (endorphins); all of which can be released through conscious action on our part.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, optimism heals and promotes a longer life. People who have a positive attitude toward aging tend to live 7.5 years longer than those individuals who held negative attitudes toward aging.
Energy techniques such as EFT, also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques, are wonderful methods through which you can take control of your thoughts and emotions and improve the quality of life you live. Medical science has known for decades our ability to actively turn our genes on and off. We are capable of generating the molecules needed for healing. As I stated previously, our brains are already a well stocked pharmacy, ready to generate and circulate into our body chemicals similar in nature to many of the drugs prescribed by doctors.
You now know that you can turn on the stress response through the process of your thinking which releases cortisol into your body; inhibiting healing and suppressing your immune system. You also know that you can turn ON the healing process and release helpful endorphins, hormones, and chemicals into your body such as serotonin in the same way. When we consciously change our thinking through beliefs, intentions, spiritual practice, meditation, or prayer, we can effect miraculous healing as a result. Beliefs do become biology!
Two thirds of doctors now believe in the power of prayer; seeing it as important as medicine. They see it as psychologically beneficial to the patient as they feel God may answer their prayers. Miracles abound in the medical community. The more people learn about the use of alternative techniques such as EFT, the more miraculous changes will occur.
By changing your beliefs, intentions, spiritual practice, prayer, you can change the quality of your life. Whether you choose meditation, yoga, EFT, or some other type of energy technique to assist you, knowing that you can take control over your emotions will make a difference in the quality of your life. So, what will it be? Will you continue living life on an emotional roller coaster or change course? Personally, I prefer living in the fantastic lane of the emotionally free. Sure, I have my days when things can get a little chaotic but I also have the ability to turn my emotions around and change the way my body is affected. You can too, if you want to.
- How to stop absorbing other peoples negative emotions (mediumsworld.wordpress.com)
- Warding Off Negative Influences – How To Keep Your Aura Strong (mediumsworld.wordpress.com)
One way to increase positive realities in our lives is to become complaint-free. Complaining, either silently or aloud, pours energy into what we DON’T want and imposes limits on all the opportunities that are available.
The ingredients which fuel stress-free, complaint-free living are simple and powerful new agreements. We are talking about INNER agreements.
It’s important to realize you can create new agreements with yourself. Silent ones… Powerful ones… Confidential ones….
Here is a list of seven powerful self-agreements or self-commitments to make that will untangle you from the web of mental noise, complaints, and stress:
1. I commit to treat mind chatter as a teacher, showing me what is true and what is illusion.
2. I agree to take new action when I feel stuck on the treadmill of my mind.
3. I agree to accept myself when I think negative thoughts or feel stress.
4. I commit to zero complaining about my life, people, and events.
5. I agree not to be harsh with myself when I cannot shut my mind off.
6. I agree to use mind chatter to show me a larger self identity, one already free inside.
7. I agree to use play and humor as ladders to raise me out of mental noise.
Let each of these work themselves into your awareness throughout the day. Take them into your heart and watch how things shift.
Blessings, Light Workers World
Emotional freedom means learning how to stay centered in a stressful, highly emotionally charged world. Since emotions such as fear, anger, and frustration are energies, you can potentially “catch” them from people without realizing it. If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to know how to avoid taking on an individual’s negative emotions or the free-floating kind in crowds.
Another twist is that chronic anxiety, depression, or stress can turn you into an emotional sponge by wearing down your defenses. Suddenly, you become hyper-attuned to others, especially those with similar pain. That’s how empathy works; we zero in on hot-button issues that are unresolved in ourselves.
From an energetic standpoint, negative emotions can originate from several sources. What you’re feeling may be your own; it may be someone else’s; or it may be a combination. I’ll explain how to tell the difference and strategically bolster positive emotions so you don’t shoulder negativity that doesn’t belong to you.
This wasn’t something I always knew how to do. Growing up, my girlfriends couldn’t wait to hit the shopping malls and go to parties, the bigger the better–but I didn’t share their excitement. I always felt overwhelmed, exhausted around large groups of people, though I was clueless why. “What’s the matter with you?” friends would say, shooting me the weirdest looks. All I knew was that crowded places and I just didn’t mix. I’d go there feeling just fine but leave nervous, depressed, or with some horrible new ache or pain. Unsuspectingly, I was a gigantic sponge, absorbing the emotions of people around me.
With my patients, I’ve also seen how absorbing other people’s emotions can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than two million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue. It’s likely that many of them are emotional sponges.
Here are some strategies from Emotional Freedom to practice. They will help you to stop absorbing other people’s emotions.
Emotional Action Step ~ How To Stay Centered In A Stressful World To detach from other people’s negative emotions:
First, ask yourself: Is the feeling mine or someone else’s?
It could be both. If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help. If not, try to pinpoint the obvious generator. For instance, if you’ve just watched a comedy, yet you came home from the movie theater feeling blue, you may have incorporated the depression of the people sitting beside you; in close proximity, energy fields overlap. The same is true with going to a mall or packed concert.
When possible, distance yourself from the suspected source.
Move at least twenty feet away; see if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend strangers. In a public place, don’t hesitate to change seats if you feel a sense of depression imposing on you.
For a few minutes, center yourself by concentrating on your breath: This connects you to your essence. Keep exhaling negativity, inhaling calm. This helps to ground yourself and purify fear or other difficult emotions Visualize negativity as gray fog lifting from your body, and hope as golden light entering. This can yield quick results.
Negative emotions such as fear frequently lodge in your emotional center at the solar plexus.
Place your palm there as you keep sending loving-kindness to that area to flush stress out. For longstanding depression or anxiety, use this method daily to strengthen this center. It’s comforting and builds a sense of safety and optimism.
A handy form of protection many people use, including healers with trying patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light (or any color you feel imparts power) around your entire body. Think of it as a shield that blocks out negativity or physical discomfort but allows what’s positive to filter in.
Look for positive people and situations.
Call a friend who sees the good in others. Spend time with a colleague who affirms the bright side of things. Listen to hopeful people. Hear the faith they have in themselves and others. Also relish hopeful words, songs, and art forms. Hope is contagious and it will lift your mood.
Keep practicing these strategies. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With strategies to cope, you can have quicker retorts to stressful situations, feel safer, and your sensitivities can blossom.
Written by Dr Judith Orloff
Article Sourced Angel Shadows Blog
Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s new book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Harmony Books, 2009)
- Book Review: Emotional Freedom, by Judith Orloff, MD (susanheim.blogspot.com)
- Four Strategies to Cope With Anger in a Healthy Way (psychologytoday.com)
- Judith Orloff MD: Gusher Or Empath? How To Identify And Master Your Emotional Type (huffingtonpost.com)