Personal Development and Spirituality Topics

with Karen Scheel

Stress Overview

With the fast pace of the world stress has become unavoidable in our lives. With so many demands being placed on our limited time it has rapidly become the source of many problems and is the primary cause affecting all aspects of our being. It impacts both our professional and personal performance on all levels. In the workplace stress is one major reason for the use of sick time. Various studies show that it can seriously compromise the mental, emotional, and physical health of a person. Stress clouds the ability to think clearly, interferes with the ability to relate to others and lowers the function of the immune system. If left uncontrolled it is a contributing element for most all health problems like heart disease, strokes, cancer, headaches, colds etc. The cause can either stem internally or externally. On an external level, technology has clearly become a major stress factor in that it gives us the ability to achieve everything very quickly. On an internal level, we constantly push ourselves to do even more. This constant pushing contributes to a very hectic way of life, because there is no way we will ever be able to keep up with the fast pace of technology.

If stress contributes to illness then reducing stress has the opposite effect and encourage healing. However, being able to recognize we are stressed is the first step toward understanding and managing its effects. The next step is learning how to condition ourselves to gain some control over its influence, which is the most important step towards reducing or eliminating it from our lives. Studies have also shown that regular relaxation eventually makes the body less responsive to stress hormones and acts as a natural tranquilizer. Handling stress effectively involves the development of psychological, physical, and spiritual buffers to harmonize its effects. This can be easily done through a variety of therapeutic approaches. Individuals can learn how to evoke a physiological response to strengthen their immune system and ultimately reduce and reverse stress-related diseases. There are many self-help techniques such as walks in nature, breathing exercises, visualization, meditation, yoga, and tai chi etc. These practices encourage taking time out to go within and focus on the mind-body-spirit connection, which enables one to control and learn how to cope with stress rather than trying to avoid or ignore it.

If the present circumstances in our society are any indication of the future then it is only through a daily stress management regime that we will be able to meet and successfully deal with the challenges life is bound to present. Incorporating a daily stress management practice is a necessary ingredient for a qualified life. Taking mental time out from the pressure and demands enables us to establish more of a balance between our internal and external worlds. Therefore, reducing and/or eliminating stress requires nothing more than learning how to create and maintain balance.