Nobody is immune from stress. Every week I hear all sorts of stories from my clients; some are being bogged down by the demands of a rigid work schedule while others face strenuous family obligations. Interestingly however, much of the way we deal with stress is based on our own perceptions and how we respond within a given set of life circumstances. What’s a source of pleasure for one person could cause major anxiety for another. Consider Marcus who loves to cook, yet his sister Gabriela, utterly despises it. This helps us to see that not all stress is created equal. For Marcus, cooking is enjoyable so his stress would be considered the good kind or eustress—it’s fun and exciting. Ironically, the same activity makes Gabriela extremely anxious, but her stress would be classified as acute. Keep in mind however, that acute stress is not necessarily bad—it’s a short-lived stress that may start-off as positive or exciting, but shift to something quite distressing and problematic.
Although not every type of stress is harmful, episodic or chronic stress should not be ignored. Episodic stress is often characterized by someone who has a Type A personality. Highly driven and competitive, these people have a strong sense of time urgency, but they can’t organize their slew of self-inflicted pressures. Those who suffer from episodic stress typically live in chaos because they take on too many responsibilities. They’re forgetful and disorganized, continuously rushing, yet always running late. Chronic stress has by far the most destructive ramifications and it can lead to the debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Chronic stress seems never-ending and inescapable like being trapped in a bad marriage or an unhappy career that demands too many work hours. This type of stress can stem from traumatic events, dysfunctional families, poverty and other severe setbacks. Unfortunately, chronic stress is often associated with hopelessness and many other crimes that plague our society. For example, a woman that’s being physically abused by her alcoholic husband who threatens to kill her if she tries to leave.
Unmanaged stress is a major health hurdle because it entails a wide spectrum of mental, physical and behavioral symptoms. If we don’t learn how to manage stress effectively, it can wreak havoc on our thoughts, emotions and body in numerous ways. As we learned in Gabriela’s case, emotions such as fear and anxiety may lead to shortness of breath, heart palpitations, tension headaches, dizziness, or a panic attack. Between 75-90% of all doctor visits are the result of stress-related ailments. To complicate matters, people who continuously resort to food, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs as a coping mechanism, only end up magnifying their health issues. In the long run, these types of unhealthy behaviors predictably lead to more stress—excess body weight, a damaged liver, an increased risk for cancer, a serious addiction, and a host of other destructive outcomes.
Because life is not the same for any of us, there’s no quick-fix to combating stress. On the contrary, many of us need to break free from old patterns and unhealthy behaviors. This won’t happen overnight. However, one day at a time, one step at a time and one PHS principle at a time, we can learn what we need to know. Our journey toward recovery and health is personal and The Proactive Health Solution will meet each of us wherever we are at. By guiding us through two main components on the PHS Pyramid, Lifestyle Management and Healthy Self-Management, it teaches us how to discover our own remedy to managing stress—one that is healthy and self-empowering. These components help us not only to address the external areas of our life that need serious attention, but the internal areas of our self as well. Throughout this transformation process, we become inspired to experience the super natural healing power that’s available through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:6-7 and 13 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
The Proactive Health Solution: “A great starting point for readers looking to improve their health and a useful supplement for those already pursuing healthy lifestyles.” —Kirkus Reviews Click the link below to read the full book review.
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