If someone comes to you and says, "I am stressed out!", you wouldn't respond by saying "Congratulations. That is such great news. I am so happy for you". Our society views "stress" with negativity, and it is something to be avoided. Stress is actually defined as "a demand placed on something". Stress is a neutral term and can often be a positive thing for us. In order to get stronger, we stress our muscles in the weight room. We lift weights and the weight puts our body under stress and over time, with proper recovery, we become better. In order to gain endurance, we stress our cardiovascular system. In order to gain knowledge, we read and listen to lectures and take notes to stress our minds. Stress, in the proper amounts, is what helps us to grow and improve. Stress only becomes distress (defined as "a demand that causes harm") when we don't respond properly to the stress and/or when we allow it to be "too much". Too much exercise with not enough rest/recovery can cause harm (hence the term "stress fracture"). Too much demand on our mind or emotions, without coping with those "stressors", can cause harm. Instead of getting "stressed out", we need to "get the stress out" by addressing the demands that life places on us by coping with the demands and not ignoring them. First we need to identify the stressor and then we need to determine the harm that it is causing us. Finally, we need to make a plan to deal with the stressor.
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