Stress Management
Stress Management is NOT for Sissies

Speaker/humorist Mike Moore delivers a sample of a workshop on Using Humor and Recognition to manage stress at home, at work and at play.

Just as there are different degrees of stress,
there are also different types.

Acute stress results from the strains of everyday life. Often, it involves unpleasant situations that need to be resolved. Since these are incidental and only temporary, the stress can usually be managed. Of course, there are some who jump from one crisis to another—indeed, chaos seems to be part of their personality. Even this level of acute stress can be brought under control. The sufferer may resist change, however, until he realizes the effect that his tumultuous life-style is having on him and on those around him.

While acute stress is temporary, chronic stress is long-term. The sufferer sees no way out of a stressful situation, be it the woes of poverty or the misery of a despised job—or no job. Chronic stress can also result from ongoing family problems. Caring for an infirm relative can bring on stress as well. Whatever the cause, chronic stress grinds away at its victim day after day, week after week, month after month. “The worst aspect of chronic stress is that people get used to it,” says one book on the subject. “People are immediately aware of acute stress because it’s new; they ignore chronic stress because it’s old, familiar, and, sometimes, almost comfortable.”

Traumatic stress is the impact of an overwhelming tragedy, such as rape, accident, or natural disaster. Many war veterans and concentration camp survivors suffer from this type of stress. Symptoms of traumatic stress may include vivid memories of the trauma, even years later, along with an increased sensitivity to minor events. Sometimes the sufferer is diagnosed with a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sensitized to Stress

Some say that the way we respond to stress in the present largely depends on how much and what kind of stress we have encountered in the past. They say that traumatic events can actually alter the brain’s chemical “wiring,” leaving a person much more sensitive to stress in the future. For example, in a study of 556 veterans of World War II, Dr. Lawrence Brass found that risk of stroke was eight times higher among those who had been prisoners of war than among those who had not—even 50 years after the initial trauma. “The stress of being a POW [prisoner of war] was so severe it changed the way these folks responded to stress in the future—it sensitized them.”

Stressful events experienced in childhood should not be underestimated, experts say, since these can have a substantial impact. “Most kids who suffer a trauma are not brought to the doctor,” say many doctors.. They get through the problem, go on with their lives, and wind up in our offices years later, suffering from depression or heart disease. Consider, for example, the trauma of losing a parent. Stress of that magnitude occurring when you are young may permanently rewire the brain’s circuitry if untreated long term stress is present.

Stress Management is NOT for Sissies

Find out the latest research and techniques to combat this global problem.
Stress is a Call to Action

- by Jeanne Russell
(c) Jeanne Russell - All Rights reserved

There are lots of articles and web-sites out there that give advice on how to manage and reduce stress.We all agree that the effects of long-term stress on our bodies, relationships, and general well-being can be quite debilitating. But we must not forget that stress is actually a gift.It is a clear message from our bodies and the universe that says, “Danger!Something needs to change.” Stress is a definite call to action.

So while it is important to take measures to relieve the symptoms of stress by exercising, meditating, and eating chocolate.We must not stop there.Why settle for minimizing stress when we can use it to actually improve our lives?

So how can a person who is so overwhelmed by the pressures of daily living transform the chaos into positive action? Well the first step is to break it down.Stop and write down all the things that are causing you stress.Often when you look at the issues and separate them from the noise and chaos, you can see that there are a few major issues that are causing stress and the rest of the stuff just seems bigger because it is all mixed up together.

So you look at your list and you will start to see major categories of stress.Your categories might be:

My children’s behavior

Money Issues

Work Relationships

Lack of time

Next you ask yourself, “If I could erase one of those categories of stress today, which one would it be?”And your answer tells you which category to work on first.

Let’s say you decided that money is your number one stressor at the moment.You make less then you spend.You have bill collectors calling you day and night and you are afraid to answer the phone. How many of us have been there?

Anyway, there are two areas that come into play here. How much you spend and how much you earn. And you need to look at both of them and make a list of several actions that you can take in each area.Can you cancel the cable and quit buying Lattes? Can you ask for a raise and start a side business with long term earning potential? This article is not about money management but you get the gist.

You must break it down, create a plan, and then take action.You would be amazed at the stress relieved just by writing it all down. Somehow when our problems are jangling around in the chaos of our brains, they seem insurmountable but when we take them out and look at them, they are not so bad.

It is very important to break it down.Our brains can only handle so much at once so by separating our problems into categories, we make them more manageable. By concentrating on one area, you are not neglecting the others. You are focusing and that is important.

Often is not even what you do that matters, it is just the fact that you are taking control.

So next time you feel your hair stand on end, stop and thank the universe and then get going toward a better life.

-- Jeanne Russell is a mother writer and entrepreneur. Contact her at

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Lynne Fain, MA, MSW, CSW is an experienced psychotherapist and educator-trainer. She herself is a cancer survivor. Lynne has taught meditation techniques in a variety of settings: In hospitals to patients, in homes to clients and their families and in organizations to fellow practitioners. In her private practice she employs a combination of psychotherapy and meditation instruction for relaxation and pain management For clients who have their health, she is able to facilitate a deepening personal understanding of major life issues for self-actualization.

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Stress Management is Not for Sissies

This page is devoted to helping combat the debilatating problem of stress through providing resourses for the stressed person. Find out the latest research and techniques to combat this global problem. Stress is a Call to Action.