The Good and the Bad of Stress

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Stress is a natural and essential part of life.  Our stress response is designed to protect and preserve our lives.  We need a certain amount of stress in our lives but not too much for too long.  Our bodies are constantly responding to positive and negative stress.  Positive stress motivates and drives us.  Often, we get excited about working on a new project at work, moving to a new city, changing our careers and so on.

Negative stress affects our physical and mental health and can rob us from experiencing true happiness.  Every individual has potential and each of us has passions which we have never explored! The main reason that we don’t reach out for our potential in our lives is because of our fears. If you want to experience living an intentional life of true happiness, you can’t run from stress or avoid it.  Stress is part of our daily life as breathing, eating and drinking water.

Stress is constant in our lives. There is a reason for stress.  Stress discovers our dark places and brings them out for attention. Each stress that we perceive as an obstacle is actually an opportunity. You know what consequences there are if you neglect a wound or a sore. It gets worse and can eventually cost you your life! Stress will get worse if you ignore it and don’t respect the gift it is offering you.  Denying stress, like denying a wound, can make you worse on spiritual, psychological and physical levels. The situational or acute stress can shift into chronic, continual unabated stress.

Stress is your guide and can be quite a gift.  Try to observe what stresses you. Then try to embrace your stress and be compassionate with yourself.  Sometimes clients tend to be so hard on themselves. They keep blaming themselves for everything that’s not being as should be.  These individuals often feel victimized and overwhelmed by the stress in their lives. The more we live in denial or running away from our stress, the more insidious ways our stress will discover to get our attention. You can run away from stress for a while, but it will eventually find a way to get your attention.  It will surface in your psychological or spiritual well-being at first and later   affect your physical body.  Stress invites you to make new choices in your life and these choices require action. As you learn to deal with the stresses in your life, your incredible potential will unfold, leading you deeper on the path to true happiness

Some immediate effects of stress on your mind and body:

  • Memory: becomes vague and inexact
  • Learning: difficulty learning and problem solving
  • Perception: is limited and narrow
  • Attitude: defensive and aggressive
  • Mood: negative, wants to flee

Living from the inside out is the only way to overcome stress and truly experience an authentic sense of happiness in your lives!

By: Shabnam Khan, Guidance Counsellor

s.khan@shsbc.ca

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