Wellness Matters NewsletterAn Experience in Creative Journaling

Courtesy of Life Esteem, Published by Simmonds Publications

Stress Helps Us Convert Problems Into

     All of us experience stress, to one degree or another, in our everyday lives.  Stress is the body's reaction to an event that is experienced as disturbing or threatening.  Our primitive ancestors experienced stress when they had to fight off wild animals and other threats.  In the contemporary world we are more likely to experience stress when we face overwhelming responsibilities at work or home, experience loneliness, or fear losing things which are important to us, such as our jobs, or friends.  When we are exposed to such an event, we experience what has been called the "fight or flight" response.  To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure.  This sends more blood to our heart and muscles, and our respiration rate increases.  We become vigilant and tense.  Our bodies end up on full alert.

     Stress is adaptive when it prompts us to take action to solve a problem.  We can use our perceived stress as a clue, in fact, that there is a problem and that we need to confront it.  Public speakers, athletes and entertainers have long known that stress can motivate them to perform much better.  The real difficulty occurs when we feel blocked.  For various reasons, we may be unable to solve the problem -- perhaps because we don't realize that there is a problem or we don't have the tools for solving it -- and we continue to expose


ourselves to the stress.  In such instances, stress becomes a negative experience.

     Negative stress is demanding on our bodies and our lives in general.  When our bodies are in constant state of readiness for prolonged periods of time, we end up with heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, sweating, high stomach acidity, stomach spasms and muscle spasms. There is evidence that prolonged stress can lead to heart disease and a compromised immune system.  Stress can deplete our energy and interfere with our concentration.  It can lead us to become abrupt with other people and to engage in emotional outbursts or even physical violence.  Our relationships and job security can be jeopardized.  People who experience unresolved stress are more prone to self-destructive behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse.

     Those who deal with stress in a positive way usually have:

  • a sense of self-determination
  • a feeling of involvement in life's experiences,
  • an ability to change negatives into positives.

     Self-determination refers to an ability to control or adapt to the events of everyday living.  Rather than seeing ourselves as helping in trying to overcome obstacles, we can begin to define ourselves as problem-solvers.  We can remember times when we have been successful in solving problems and then



This newsletter is intended to offer general information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from these broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problems.

La Jolla, CA 92037

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