We hear a lot about stress and people getting “stressed out!” But what is stress and why is it important to our basic survival?

“Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress. “–The Cleaveland Clinic

We generally think of stress as negative, but if we think of stress as any thing that exerts force on the body, then we can see how it can be a positive influence in our lives. Without some stress, many of us would have no reason to get out of bed in the morning, or to attend school, or to go to work, or to provide for our children. Problems occur, however when there is too much stress on the body.

“Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds. . . . Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress – a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomachelevated blood pressurechest painsexual dysfunction, and problems sleeping. Emotional problems can also result from distress. These problems include depressionpanic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress is linked to 6 of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.”–The Cleaveland Clinic.

What strategies have you used to reduce the negative stress in your life?

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