Have you heard the statistics from Health Canada? 55 percent of working Canadians perceive high levels of stress in their lives. That’s from 2003. In 2012, the stats showed the percentage had risen to 57 percent.
If you are like me, you have probably noticed that the driving in Calgary is not getting any calmer. The angst about the economy…and then it is climate change…and then it is what’s next? You can answer this for yourself.
You know the signs of stress. Some are physical like tight shoulders, difficulty with sleeping, restlessness, and indigestion. Some are emotional like anxiety, maybe boredom, the feeling of lots of pressure…there are others. Each person will have his/her own unique combination of signs and symptoms.
Stress is not by definition a bad thing.
We have all heard it. Stress can be a motivator. It can propel us into action and give us valuable personal energy to accomplish our goals. If that is the way stress is impacting you….read no further.
For the rest of us that sense that stress may be starting to get the best of us read on.
There are 3 things that you need to know about stress that can help.
1st – Stress occurs because of the way that we respond to the pressures and demands in our lives. This is “good news” because we can change the way “we respond” with a little knowledge, know how, and effort.
2nd – Stress occurs because of our perceptions of our challenges as well as our perceptions of ourselves and the resources we have to meet the challenges. This is “good news”,as well, as perceptions can be changed.
3rd – Most everyone will experience stress. It is not the stress or the stressors themselves that are the problem, but, it is the way we are handling the stress that determines whether the experience of stress becomes a problem. “Good news” as well. We can change how we handle stress.
There are numerous coping resources that are effective for handling stress. If you are like me, perhaps you try to exercise regularly, you watch your diet, you try to get enough sleep and there are many others. All of these are excellent strategies, however, they may not fully address the “3 things” that I suggested that you need to know.
One approach to stress reduction that does address these “3 things” is called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is an educational program that teaches individuals how to cope more effectively with stress by drawing on an inner resource called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is commonly thought of as paying attention, on purpose, from moment to moment, without judgment. By paying attention, a person cultivates a capacity for awareness that is used to promote relaxation, to see problems more clearly, and to gain insight into appropriate action to address our challenges. Other benefits include: greater personal balance, a sense of ease, and peace of mind. These results are backed up by evidenced-based research.