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Stress is an Inside Job
Posted: 2/25/2014 | Wellness Comments
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Like I talked about in my blog Deal with Stress Live with Peace, the word “stress” is used for so many difficulties, that it has really become a catch all term. When someone talks about stress we really aren’t sure what they are saying. Some synonyms for stress are pressure, strain, or tension.

Stress is unavoidable and is often defined by the perception of the individual. There are some events that would be universally considered difficult and highly stressful. If an event is so impactful that it’s psychologically traumatizing then the person would have had difficulty processing all that happened through their system at the time it occurred. Then they’re left with feelings, thoughts, images, bodily sensations, and sensory memories trapped inside that need to be processed.  If these extremely difficult events are repeated, like in war or a very difficult childhood, then the person might experience much of life as stressful.

Stress is experienced in degrees
and is not black or white, all or nothing. What is stressful to one person might not be to another. It often depends on someone’s history and how they react physically, emotionally, and mentally to the stimulus. How we experience an event and carry it inside of us determines whether or not it’s stressful.

Trying to avoid events and people we perceive as stressful can sometimes be accomplished, but very often cannot. Learning how to navigate our inner life by talking about and being with what is coming up for us inside, can help a person integrate what has happened in their outside life. Often anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are an outgrowth of one’s unconscious and unprocessed inner life. The act of processing our inner thoughts, feelings, associations, bodily sensations, and memories helps us release what would be called “stress.” Then the person doesn’t have to progress into what could be called mental illness.

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