Understanding Stress

An estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of doctor visits are related to stress*

Understanding Stress

Understanding stress, the causes, responses etc is the cornerstone to understanding how Vedic Meditation helps control stress.

And whilst Vedic Meditation is not a substitute for medical treatment, many physicians recommend it to their patients.

This is because Vedic Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques available for reducing stress.

Furthermore, it is also one of the easiest to learn and simplest to practice.

Stress! The idea stirs up many images — rushing to work, watching the stock market drop daily, working long into the night on a project. All of these situations can build up irritation and fatigue that dare not show at an important meeting. Stress in such situations means pressure, conflict, loss of control, and uncertainty. These feelings can lead to a variety of problems for all members of a family. That is why stress has such an ugly ring.

Stress is your body’s physical and psychological response to anything you perceive as overwhelming. This may be viewed as a result of life’s demands, pleasant or unpleasant, and your lack of resources to meet them.

When stressed, your body creates extra energy to protect itself. This additional energy cannot be destroyed. If not used, it creates an imbalance within your system. Somehow the energy must be channelled into responses to regain a balance.

Stress is a natural part of your life. Without some stress, you would lose your energy for living. You will thrive on certain amounts, but too much or too little stress will limit your effectiveness. Ideally, you find your optimal level of stress—the balance at which you are most motivated. If you learn to recognise the symptoms of stress you can minimise the harmful effect of stress.

Why Be Concerned About Stress?

Excessive stress in your life interferes with your interpersonal relationships at home, on the job, and socially. It can make you spend your efforts on not being unhappy, rather than on being happy. Stress can waste your vitality and deplete your personal energy resources that could be used for enjoyment. You can become negatively influenced by your attitudes and feelings about yourself more easily.

In addition, medical research estimates as much as 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related. Stress can interfere with your physical functioning and bodily processes. High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease have been linked to stress factors. Other stress-related ailments include ulcers, allergies, asthma, and migraine headaches. Most health professionals agree stress can be a contributing factor in making existing medical problems worse.

Environmental and societal pressures—our competitive, success-oriented way of life—may lead us to potentially hazardous health. According to the United States Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, “Eighty-three percent of all deaths for adults between the age of 21 and 65 are related to lifestyle.” Unmanaged stress is increasingly a characteristic of many Americans today.

During peak activity periods, do you:

  • Rest adequately?
  • Eat well-balanced meals?
  • Take breaks?
  • Rebuild energy resources with time off?
  • How does your lifestyle influence your health and ability to manage stress?

Causes of Stress

Everyone differs in what is stressful or potentially stressful. What for one person might seem to be a catastrophic event may be a minor setback for another.

Fears Cause Stress

Some physical fears that can cause stress are:

  • Dangerous machinery
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Dangerous, congested traffic.

Psychological fears associated with stress include:

  • Failure
  • Not being able to get the job done;
  • Inability to manage debts; and
  • Adult children who do not want the family business.

Uncertainty Causes Stress

In each person’s life, there are uncertainties that can cause stress. The change of a job may necessitate many other changes in the life of a person or family members. Trying to sell a home and buy another in the new location may be stressful. Logic and informed predictions have a place, but often stress piles up because there are so many “unknowns” in such situations.

Life is filled with uncertainty. It is discomforting not to know what is going to happen, particularly if your control of the situation is impeded by:

  • Government policies and controls
  • Weather
  • Market fluctuations
  • Illness
  • Interest rates
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • and Accidents.

Uncertainty may cause feelings of being out of control, which can cause stress.

Attitudes Cause Stress

A positive or negative attitude influences a person’s reaction to stressful situations. For example, if you feel your job is worthwhile, you may see some of the problems you encounter as challenges. Seen as pluses, the problems or potential problems become motivators. However, if you resent your situation or feel “stuck” in your job, similar experiences create stress, a stress that frustrates instead of motivating you.

Perceptions Cause Stress

Past experiences and the resources you feel you have available to meet life’s demands will affect the degrees of stress you may experience. The degree of stress experienced will be affected by your perception of your ability to meet the particular demands. How you perceive the situation determines if it is or is not stressful.

Perception can be broken down in the following ways:

  • Your sense of competence, self-esteem, values, interests, needs
  • Personal resources: Past experience in handling stress, health
  • Material resources: Finances, equipment, storage
  • and People resources: Other people who can assist you, such as friends, coworkers, family members, professionals.

Change Causes Stress

All change produces stress, even positive changes. Although marriage is a positive change, it can also be a period of major change. Consequently, some people find the responsibilities of marriage very stressful. A vacation may also be stressful; arrangements must be made for the trip and for work, and there is always a tendency to plan too many activities.

Negative changes are not as difficult to identify as stress-producing. These are situations you would not like to occur, such as children leaving home to start careers, economic recession causing a financial crisis, or loss of a valuable possession.

Change demands your adjustment to the particular situation, whether you desire the change or not. Developmental changes that you are able to plan for— pregnancy and birth, children growing up, the ageing process—may still be stressful even though anticipated.

The following are more examples of stress-causing changes:’

  • Work/business Operational change due to technological advancement
  • Major change in responsibility or workload due to a shift in the partnership
  • Expansion or reduction in production
  • Increasing skills to increase efficiency and Inflationary operating costs
  • Personal Illness or injury
  • Personal achievement or disappointment, and Retirement
  • Social Illness or death of close friend
  • Beginning or ending of formal education
  • Change in social activities, and Involvement in community service
  • Financial Major change in financial state
  • Major purchase (home, equipment, land)
  • Additional family expenses (education, insurance, illness) and Partial liquidation.

What changes have you and family members experienced in the past several years?

How Do You Respond to Stress?

When experiencing stress, you might find that it affects not only in your body but also in your emotional reactions, your personal thoughts, and your relations with others.

The following list of stress symptoms contains the most typical reactions to stress. It can also help you begin focusing on ways to manage stress.

When we are under stress our bodies are functioning in survival mode (fight, flight or freeze)

Learn to meditate, learn how to cope with stress

Our immune system weakens, we tend to be more reactive (rather than responsive), more guarded, defensive (crying over spilt milk), and most importantly – our quality of life, our life satisfaction is lowered.

Vedic Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques available for reducing stress and anxiety. That means that you no longer store as much stress and tension in your body and start responding to life with a positive attitude – relaxed, resilient and care-free. It is also one of the easiest to learn and simplest to practice.

If you are in Auckland (NZ) call me on 021 532 768, or email to find our how Vedic Meditation could help you achieve better health.

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*according to The American Institute of Stress (AIS), which is based in Fort Worth, Texas.