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Stress Busters: The Stress Cycle

It's All In Your Head
...there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

Shakespeare had a point. The truth is, unless your house burns down or someone dies, most stresses are not disasters. Thinking they are, however, can easily overwhelm you. As we said, the problem doesn't even have to be real or present – it can be in the past or the future, or even, only in the mind.

When we worry about an upcoming job interview or a blind date, we may find ourselves with a dry mouth, queasy stomach, or sweaty palms. We might become fidgety, restless, and pace around, or have difficulty falling asleep. Our nerves or anxiety are our emotional response to stress. Incidentally, anxiety is not always a bad thing. That feeling of apprehension, the gnawing feeling in the pit of our stomachs that "something is wrong" is a natural warning signal. We have all used it as a motivator at times to study for finals or to pay our bills. When it works overtime, though, it causes problems.

Addicted To Stress
Adrenaline keeps us going, but after awhile it can become addictive. When the stimulus stops (no deadlines while we are on vacation), we experience adrenaline withdrawal, accompanied by restlessness, vague feelings of unease, and a strong desire to "do something," anything, to restart the stress cycle and get the adrenaline pumping once more. If and when we finally let go, we collapse into a heap – depleted, depressed, and exhausted. We may feel blue or bored. Our "get up and go" has "got up and went." We need, in short, to relax, regroup, and rebuild ourselves.



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From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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