Curious definition of stress

I went to a talk at my kids’ school the other night about drug abuse prevention.  Interesting material and great presenter.

One of the things that caught my attention was the presenter’s definition of stress.

Before I tell you what it was, what’s yours?  Definition of stress that is.

The dictionary calls it “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

Sounds significant.

The presenter called stress the result of emotions that aren’t dealt with.

Simple.  Clean.  Manageable.  This means that emotion we don‘t deal with or acknowledge is a shortcut to stress.

I like that she didn’t say you have to necessarily solve your stress inducing problems.  She didn’t say bliss out and force a smile on your face.

She did say acknowledge.

As in my shoulder hurts again.  I feel under pressure.

As in my scalp is tingling.  I’m chock full of anticipation.

As in my chest feels tight.  I’m scared.

As in my heart feels bigger than my body.  I’m full of love.

As in my throat feels tight.  I’m sad and about to choke up.

Dealing with your emotions hits as home run.   Dealing with your emotions is a direct path to reducing stress.  Clearly.

And you? How are your emotions connected to your stress level?


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8 Responses to “Curious definition of stress”

  1. Kerri Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 10:31 am

    This is great! I totally agree with the presenter’s definition.

  2. Isabelle Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    So true. When I acknowledge my emotions and take a deep breathe…I always feel better instantly.

    Being present also really helps as every time I feel stressed…it’s rarely a result of the present. It most often has to do with the past or what I fear about the future…

    Thanks for this great definition. It’s a great reminder.

  3. Emma-Louise Elsey Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Lee-Anne

    Undealt with emotions definitely lead to stress – and depression…

    Sadly, as a society we’re taught to suck it up – instead of finding healthy ways to express.

    Absolutely – we need to acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge – how we feel. And then decide what we’re going to do about it.

    All too often emotions are seen as weak – rather than powerful signals that tell us where we need to take action!

    Thanks for putting this out there Lee-Anne!


  4. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Emma-Louise. Hoc pati filias regis – Latin for ‘suck it up princess’ is unfortunately too common these days. I agree about seeing them as cues and signals. Any suggestions for how to have folks acknowledge them more?

  5. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    March 8th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Isabelle; I love your point about stress being a pointer to something from the past. Very incisive!

  6. Julie Says:
    March 9th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the reminder to take a moment to acknowledge what emotions are causing stress. That’s going to be one of my goals this week!

  7. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Funny how such a simple thing (taking a deep breath) can help so much and how we forget to do it.

  8. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Hi Julie
    I liked the author’s direct link between emotions and stress; so simple & elegant. How did it go this week trying to make the links?

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