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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Blanco

Understanding Stress

Everything feels urgent, but nothing is so important, not really.

Perhaps you are caught up in to-do lists, thoughts, endless emails, and long meetings, your life feels like a running paragraph with no punctuation. Do you find yourself rushing through life? Everyone experiences stress at some point. We all have demands and respond to them differently. Sometimes you may notice that your breathing quickens, your heart pounds, and your muscles tense. This is what we know as the fight or flight response, which prepares the body to react to danger. This survival mechanism is a physiological reaction that allows us to either fight or run away when we’re threatened. Believe it or not, your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a lion and having an important meeting, an argument at home or an unrealistic to do list. We respond to simple, not truly life-threatening events…

Stress is something that happens inside us, not to us. It is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. You may feel tired all the time, have muscle tension, dizziness, indigestion, problems sleeping, headaches, and irregular eating patterns. Mental signs of stress are constant worrying, racing thoughts, concentration problems, and difficulty making decisions. An absence of symptoms doesn’t mean the absence of stress. In fact, camouflaging symptoms with medication may prevent you to heal yourself. It’s necessary to identify the causes of stress in your life. Avoiding problems rather than facing them makes things worse. Find your own strategies. No universally effective stress reduction techniques exist because we are all different, our lives, situations and reactions aren’t the same.

When we pause, we gift ourselves with time and space to reflect, so we can explore how we make our decisions and understand our needs. Pause provides an outline and structure. Sometimes we need a full stop to consider the next sentence in our lives. We deserve an opportunity for reflection, transition and change. When we forget to pause, everything stops making sense.

What are your options? Change, accept or let it go… We can accept that there are events that we can’t control. Is that something you can leave and move on from? If you can make changes… What can you change?

Here are some ideas to reconnect:

  • Take time to take care of yourself. You don’t need to take a whole day or afternoon. You only need a few minutes, anywhere and anytime.

  • Sit quietly and pay attention to any sounds you can hear.

  • Look around you, what can you see? What colours do you see? Where is there light and where is there shade?

  • When you’re listening to music, pay attention to the different instruments that are playing.

  • Explore the textures of objects around you.

  • Next time you eat, pay attention to the food, what does it look like? How does it smell? How does it feel in your mouth?


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