“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~William James

September 26th, 2012

When we want to get ourselves physically from Point A to Point B, we choose a means of transportation, i.e. walking, running, car, (or invite a friend who has one), bus, etc.  And if we’re not sure how to get there, we can use tools such as
asking directions

But, how do we navigate from one emotional state to another?

How do we go from stressed to de-stressed or, at least, less stressed?  (We don’t have to be victims of stress.)  But, this journey takes a little mental effort and physical effort on your part, a bit of a hill climb.  You will need to apply yourself.  “Because of this hierarchical dominance of the sympathetic nervous system over the parasympathetic nervous system, it often requires conscious effort to initiate your relaxation response and reestablish metabolic equilibrium.” (http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/stress.html)

Stress is part of life.  It just is.  We’re wired that way for a reason…to protect us from lions, and tigers, and bears…oh, my!  The fight, flight or freeze response comes to you courtesy of Amy G. Dala, or more commonly known as the amygdala in our brain.  But how often do we run across those creatures?  Hopefully, not often.  Yet, we’re a very stressed society!  We have fears.  Fears that are not life-threatening.  Deadlines won’t stop the heart, neither will break-ups.  So, we have to think of FEAR as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. (unless, of course, we see a grizzly bear)

So, how do we wrestle this FEAR creature to the ground?  How do we convince Amy G. Dala that we’re going to be ok?  “Look, Amy, it’s just an exam.  I got this!”

What tools do we have?

our thoughts
prayer (ask for help, like asking for directions)
talk to a friend who listens  (Some friends are good friends, but maybe not good listeners.  Find a good friend who is also a good listener.)

We can also take a few deep breaths to calm ol’ “Amy” right down.

Physical exercise works wonders for stress, but so does mental exercise such as: using your imagination to visualize a positive outcome; or daydreaming by closing your eyes and taking yourself to the beach or a favorite happy place; be-friending yourself with positive thoughts of encouragement; or asking a friend to listen.  We don’t have to be victims of stress.  We can do our best to wrestle it to the ground with our last ounce of strength!




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