All of you who have to deal with problem stress every day, please raise your hands! Let me count. One, two, three… Looks like everybody here has a problem with stress.
Me included. I also have a problem with stress. In fact, I have a severe problem with stress. Comes with the territory of Lupus and stuff like that.
Photo: This is a Dammit Doll sent to me by a close friend during a very stressful time of my life. I love this thing. It sits on my mantle. It's a great little stress reliever. https://www.dammitdolls.com/
Know what I just love? When my doctors tell me that I need to eliminate stress. Who are they kidding? Have you known anyone able to eliminate stress from their lives? Heck, no! It’s part of the human experience.
Our ancient ancestors had to deal with stress. Stress was the warning signal that a saber tooth tiger was hot on their trails and that they needed to book it out of wherever the heck they were. Run, climb a tree, grab a weapon, do something or get eaten.
Stress does serve a purpose. It’s a warning of impending danger (along with fear), an indication of a problem that needs to be addressed, a way of your body telling you that your brain needs to get engaged with your situation.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Sometimes stress means that something good is about to happen. Such as stage fright on opening night of a Broadway musical.
My stressors usually aren’t so wonderful except when I am trying to release a new book. It causes a physical reaction in my body which can sometimes lead to an increase in my Lupus activities. That’s not good. Hence, my doctors constantly telling me I need to eliminate stress. That's not a possible state of being. Even if you do nothing with your life, you have stress because you are doing nothing with your life, and your internal self, your spirit or soul, needs to be doing something with your life. It’s a human need. Boredom is as much a stressor as overworking.
So, what can be done? I recently had an online discussion with friends about this. We listen to doctors, we go to therapists, hire life coaches, read articles, etc. in search of answers. Along with discussing remedies, we wondered at the size of the stress reduction industry. We need it, but what are the facts to weed out the charlatans?
One thing is for sure, the goal for reducing stress is to reduce the cortisol associated with it. That stress hormone is damaging to the body and can lead to a whole host of problems and ailments, such as lupus flare-ups. Stress doesn't cause lupus, but it can easily turn it on.
Another goal is to prevent the brain to be in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze. That's not a good way for the brain to be wired. Unfortunately, people don't realize that even at older stages of life, it is possible to rewire the brain to remain in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze. Even fewer people understand that it is also possible to rewire the same brain out of those stressful states. But it takes work.
Back to reduction. What can be done? The list is long: deep breathing, aroma therapy, meditation, medication, diet, therapy, coaching, and so much more. There are options. Some are costly, some are free. Most of all, they all require intention.
I thought I understood intention. Turned out, I didn't have a clue. Intention is living in the moment. Letting go of the past, releasing worry about the future, and living in the moment. It requires taking control of your thoughts, feeling your feelings, and walking through not around whatever tunnel of stress you are currently in. Denial makes it worse. Love for yourself and those in your circle in equal measure makes it better. That sounds so easy. It should be easy. It isn't.
Is that the lesson stress is trying to teach us? To love? Ourselves and others? I think so.
If you have a comment or question, or a blog idea, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading!
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