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It's Your Reaction to The Stress That Counts

Stressful events are very subjective and your reaction to them is learned. Speaking a new language takes practice and so does learning new reactions to these events in your life.

A client and I were discussing why she felt "stressed out" all the time. I asked if there was anything in particular that was bothering her. She replied that the world was stressful; her job was stressful; her interaction with her kids was stressful; just about everything, come to think of it, was stressful.

I suggested that the reaction to perceived stressful events is very different for everyone. One person can find an event stressful where another may see it as challenging or even exhilarating. After my comment, I saw the wheels start to turn in her head as she thought about what I had just said. 

Hans Selye, MD wrote an amazing book in the 1970's called Stress in Health and Disease. I read the book sometime in the 1980's and was amazed that his work made such practical sense. He postulated that just by changing your reaction to an event modified how it affected your entire mental and physical health.  

Dr. Selye determined that your reaction to a stressful event was more important than the event itself. Your reaction, not the event itself, was pivotal to the negative or positive changes (yes there is good stress as well) that could occur inside the body. I adopted his ground breaking work in my practice and immediately started using it on myself and with my clients.

Over the years, I have been able to witness firsthand how similar events  affect my clients differently. One client will be presented with a "stressful situation" and describe how horrible the experience was for them. Another client will describe a similar event but relate how empowered they felt after resolving the problem. The same event followed by two different reactions and effects upon the body.

When you feel stressed, instead of reaching for your habitual reaction, try shifting your approach to the problem. See if you can't view the situation in a completely different light and change your reaction for the better.    

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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