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Perception of Stress

Stress is something that we all deal with on a daily basis. In our modern, civilized world, we have created safety, abundance, and conveniences in certain aspects of our lives, but with them, also generated stress and stressors like never before. Our bodies are not adapted to deal with constant and persistent stress. Chronic stress leads to health symptoms, which can eventually result in chronic disease overtime.

I think it is safe to say that there is a general consensus that long-term stress is not conducive to good health. We are all aware that we live with many stressors in our lives, and people are always seeking stress relief. Being able to recognize that there is a problem is a necessary first step to resolving the issue. However, we may be looking for answers in the wrong places.

I often hear people say things like, "I can relax when this project is over." Or, "Once my child goes to school then I will be less stressed.". Or, "If my partner stops doing _____, then I won't feel so irritated/stressed/anxious.". Many of us are focusing our attention outward. We are trying to change or control circumstances outside of ourselves, in our external environment. I'm here to tell you that this way of thinking or dealing with your stress will wind up causing you more stress!

No matter how organized you are, how meticulous you are with planning, or how hard you convince yourself that you have the ability to control your external environment, people, or events in your life, the truth is, you don't! It just so happens that most of the time, events occur as expected, and this gives us a sense of predictability and control. However, this does not mean that we have been the ones controlling the events around us. The reality is that we really don't have any control of our external environment and how each day will unfold. Trying to control that which is uncontrollable is an impossible task. Therefore, trying to control our external environment as a means to manage stress, actually becomes a source of stress in itself.

Having said this, there is something that we can control that will help us become more resilient to stress. Instead of looking outward for answers, we need to turn our attention inward. Unlike our external environment, we are able to control our internal environment in ways of our thinking and our emotions - even though this may seem like an impossible task at first. We can cultivate our capacity to strengthen our inner peace and resiliency, such that when we are faced with stressful challenges in life (predictable or not), we can encounter them with calm, strength, security and a sense of control. We will be able to perceive our stressors in a different light, allowing us to respond to difficult circumstances in more constructive ways while feeling less stressed overall. Because ultimately, how stressed we feel depends on our perception of the things we find stressful. It is our perception of the stress, rather than the actual stressor/trigger, that affects the intensity of stress we feel. If we can change our perception, we can change how anxious or relaxed we feel in a given situation. As we gradually train ourselves to feel less stressed even in the face of the same stressors, we become more resilient to stress.

Now you may wonder how then do we cultivate this inner peace and resiliency? Well, Yoga and meditation are great places to start! I run weekly iRest® Meditation classes where we directly work on building inner peace and resiliency. So please reach out if you would like to learn more. Also, stay tuned as I will be expanding more on the tips and tools that could help you tap into your inner peace and calm, as well as ways to increase your resiliency to stress.

In the meantime, you can visit my YouTube Channel here to find videos of stress relief practices. I will be updating my videos regularly, so make sure you subscribe to my channel if you want to stay up to date to educational videos, health and wellness tips, and mind-body practices to help you understand and manage stress and anxiety.

Feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment below. I would love to connect with you!

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