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Chronic Stress

One thing to remember about chronic stress is that it’s only because our thoughts deem something to be stressful that we can actually feel the sensation of stress. 

“Viewed mindfully, no situation is truly chronic. There are always calm moments to notice and be present for,” [amidst the chaos.] “Moments that can be lived in with ease.” (Stacy Young)

Do you Agree?

Can you ever totally eliminate stress from your life?

35 thoughts on “Chronic Stress”

          1. I was very keen on the movies, bar the first one.No.s 2,3 and 4 I still have on DVD. Chic and I actually saw No. 2 on the big screen; and the opening sequence, when those huge doors open and Kirk is standing there back-lit ..

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    1. You sound eminently capable, Peggy. But you are right in saying that stress can hit at any time. Life can throw you curve balls, and I assume therefore, you must deal with stress with a mindful, pragmatic attitude.

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  1. Stress is now so widespread. Look at people’s faces on the street. And then go to Bali or other places where materialism isn’t quite so terminal and …smiles all round, and people gather on street corners and talk, exchange stories of every day happenings.

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    1. In the Third World, there are many, many smiles, despite the hardship people endure. Why, I haven’t figured out the reason. Perhaps one reason is that life is simpler, and that when something fun happens, they smile more. The West sees the world in terms of financial success and personal satisfaction, and those indicators are something that is not consistently attainable for most people. So we concentrate on our feelings and live in the future. Maybe the Third World population lives more in the present moment, Gerard?

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  2. Stress is not necessarily bad. Often much can be achieved during ‘good’ stressful periods methinks. But nought damages one’s physical and mental health more than ceaseless, hopeless unchecked stress of whatever origin. It is easy to say, not necessarily easy to do . . . we should all recognize when hit by damaging on-going stress levels and have personal ways of attacking the negative . . . . my first being: ‘can I do anything about the stressor’ – in case of ‘no’, learn to let it go, in case of’yes’ ‘what practical methods can I use to make it not so important’ . . .

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    1. Your comment reminds me of the Buddhist saying: There are three solutions to any problem, accept it, change it, leave it. If you can’t accept it, change it, if you can’t change it, leave it! I think that saying has relevance to chronic stress and something that helped me externalize the focus of stress and manage it so that it does not become chronic. If you cannot accept it or leave it, then it would logically continue unchecked. I do believe then that mental or emotional stress spills over to physical effects in the body. Making it less important is a wonderful idea too. Rating it so that it is a want not a need lowers its priority. What other practical methods do you use, Eha?

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      1. My second husband’s method was to ‘cancel the day’ – postpone worries and decisions until the next one when oft they were half-solved anyways . . . and go out for a long-awaited lunch or a splurge in the bookshops ! Well and good, as long as this is but an occasional mode 🙂 ! My main way is to go talk to someone eminently intelligent, factual and straight-talking – I have been helped so many times during the past decade by a gay Chicago pal who will unceremoniously tell me to get ‘off your stupid ar . e’ and then send me a pageful of virtual flowers 🙂 ! There are many personal ways . . . but we have to open our minds to the possibilities . . .

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        1. Taking a break from worries is an excellent way to deal with stress, if you can compartmentalize your schedule in the way your second husband did and it works for a particular person.
          Some others find that setting aside a particular ‘worry time,’ during their day, allows us to postpone those mood-destructive thoughts. One has to be disciplined to do this, but it works to allow our brains time to rest. In setting aside negative thoughts, we prevent the constant reinforcement of repetitive negative thinking pathways, that appear to get stronger each time we think of them.
          I also like your way of finding supportive and logical people who tell it like it is and give us a reality check. We can become so drawn into our internal focus, we lose track of what is in front of our eyes. The jolt back to reality from someone voicing a different perspective, can be really useful. Sometimes though, that approach might be counter-productive with folks who are depressed, as they interpret such comments as another sign of their failure and feel guilt or shame, when they are read the ‘riot’ act!
          Overall, Eha, you are right in saying there are many personal ways – we can keep all those options in our own personal toolkit and use the one that feels most appropriate and helpful at that moment in time. Thank you for the wonderful insight!

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  3. I am constantly amazed at how often I am mulling over a challenge and when I visit your blog, you are speaking right to me!

    As I was driving this morning to drop Loving Husband to work (his school term has begun!), I started to feel rising anxiety as I contemplated the week’s commitments. At a stoplight, I put on my music and immediately calmed down. And then had to laugh at myself for good measure. So I fully embrace your Stacy Young quote.

    I do recognise that I am luckier than most and I am not bombarded with stress after stress after stress. That I am able to check out when I need to and no one will be adversely affected by this. Watching those who do seem to constantly assailed by stressors, I have noticed they have developed strategies to short circuit the rising anxieties, whether it is through medication, interventions, checking out for a moment. So, perhaps awareness & strategies are key, short of removing the source of the stress (which often is not possible or easily done).

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    1. One can learn much from watching others, Ju-Lyn! In particular, how they handle or don’t handle stress. I am intrigued when I see a confident person grumble, and of course, saddened by the decline in their emotional stability. I then look at others who have coped with burn out and try to analyse what it is that determines the difference. There are probably as many reasons as there are grains of sand on the beach, but somewhere there must be a common thread as to why some manage and others don’t. We all try to check out stress, so what is the secret of those who can distance themselves personally from it?

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      1. That is the million dollar question, Amanda!
        From what I have observed from those around me, apart from coping strategies which we/they put into place, having a safe place (physical & emotional) to work these strategies is so important. And to have a support network of friends & family who are ready to help, or not interfere, as the case may be. But I think it is a long process for some of us, especially when the stressor is not removed and prolonged.

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        1. These are the kinds of problems that often take months or years to work through, don’t they Ju-Lyn? The mind is so complex, it needs time to heal in order to process thoughts and emotions. Many of us would love a quick fix but neuroplasticity or brain retraining if we can label it that, has its own agenda.

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    1. That is an interesting point to ponder, RamblingWombat. There is often a tipping point, and the tipping point may be something insignificant, but it can be the final straw for that person. I saw a colleague break down in the middle of a lecture about the abdominal system. It had nothing to do with the lecture, she just reached her tipping point and the thoughts in her head overwhelmed her in that moment.
      Pressure can be both good and bad, as can stress. Pressure infers pushing, something coming more often from external sources, whereas stress may be external or internal. Stress to me is more the reaction to pressure. Therein lies the difference. In the interpretation. I was pressured by a work colleague, however, it was many external factors and how I interpreted them that resulted in stressful feelings in myself.

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    1. That is the worry hour, Lisa. Not late enough to get up and not early enough for the body to go back to sleep. It is the best time to practise meditation or simple relaxation. Then when the sun is waking up, I get up and ready to greet it.

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