What is Stress?

 Hello Natural Health Family. I imagine everyone had some fun during the weekend and getting ready for more of the holiday season. As we head closer to winter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the other holidays we may feel more stress. However, when we can be aware of what is going on and are able to reframe this so-called stress then we can allow ourselves to enjoy the experience more fully.

What is stress? Stress comes from the Latin word “strictia” which means tight, compressed, and drawn together. This helps us to comprehend that stress is a feeling of being contracted and tightened. This may come from many different factors. However, if we can look at it clearly we can see that everyone is affected by certain stress differently. So if it was the environment entirely that causes us stress then it would be the same for everyone. We can now acknowledge that it is actually the way we perceive our environment and our relationship with stress that can make an important difference.

Let’s think about an athlete. The athlete must undergo many hours of training to get better at the skill needed to excel in whatever his or her sport is. If the athlete started his or her career not liking the sport then it would obviously be more difficult to perform the training needed. However, if he or she embraced it and knew that the training was just a stepping stone to accomplishing what they wanted then it would be a much smoother process. The training may be stressful, but the stress is what actually is strengthening and preparing the athlete for greater achievements ahead. 

What about trying new things? Do you remember being a kid and wanting to try a new activity? As a kid, you might have been fearless and did whatever it took to master the skill or whatever you wanted to do at the time. Then as we grow older we may confuse the feeling of excitement with anxiety or nervousness. Then this causes us to be fearful to do different things. The fear may bring on thoughts about why bother, what would others think, etc. As adults, we obviously have more responsibilities. However, this shouldn’t stop us altogether to go about trying new things or embracing new adventures.

Sometimes we may feel that life is overwhelming, future events are going to be stressful, that it is just the way it is, and that change can’t happen. Somewhat like the athlete in the example above, if they have a preconceived notion that they won’t like it then it will be a struggle and feel difficult. However, when we practice seeing things differently we are able to allow life to unfold in new ways. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Dr. Chip