A Human Approach

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Getting Stressed Out About Stress

Aha! Moment Monday

What stresses you out?

Whenever I’m in a restaurant and the server asks if I have any allergies I always say, “lineups”.  I love food but don’t love some of the lineups to get it.

I’ve become a bit of an efficiency nut; I don’t waste time and I don’t like waiting.  That first recognition that I’m stuck in a line prompts a shift in my body language, blood pressure and breathing … none for the better.

Then there are people like Andrew Hanoun who says that stress is good for you.  Now Andrew is someone I pay attention to because he has an Honours Degree in Psychology and Neuroscience, is a Doctor of Naturopathy, holds a Degree in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and has a track record of helping people get back in control.  But it’s easy to conclude that the stress thing is real and can cause havoc on our bodies and with our minds.

Andrew argues, “… it is actually necessary for survival. Think about gravity and how when astronauts enter space they lose bone mass because the lack of gravity.  Gravity is a stress that causes our bones to become stronger to adapt. The same thing goes for stress. However, it is when the stress is either too much, or perceived as negative, that it becomes harmful.”

Aha!  ~  Not all stress is created equal

It’s the  “…perceived as negative …” part that is worthy of attention here.

We’re wired to react to stress – it’s an inherent protection mechanism – but we need to get really good at identifying which stresses are real and need to be dealt with and which are self-imposed.  Knowing that every decision and every action we make is always a choice, it’s important to break down your stressors and make quality choices around them, the first of which is to ensure it is framed appropriately.

The stress that’s meant to open you up to opportunity is not stress that you need to always resist.  That’s the stress you embrace by reframing it and looking for the potential benefits.

When caught in a line I’ve learned that getting stressed out about it is my choice and not a wise one.  Other choices might be waiting patiently, removing myself from the lineup, striking up a conversation with someone in the line, better observe my surroundings, check emails on my phone, ponder my next Aha!, watch how people ahead are being served, or any number of things, really.  And at the end of the day, the lineup is more of an inconvenience that I make into a stressor.  It’s my doing … and my undoing.

Dr. Andrew suggests, “Start practicing the art of reframing, where you look for the good in every situation. At first that may seem difficult but overtime it will become natural and really help prevent tempers from rising, thus helping to keep energy high and stress low.”

Ahhhh ….. doesn’t that feel better?


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