Friday, December 12, 2014

The Truth About Stress & Its Cure

womanstress 

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to teach stress management to students in my role as a personal counselor at a New York City public college. While there, I established a stress management program that emphasized relaxation training, diaphragmatic breathing, hypnosis, cognitive restructuring and procrastination training. These techniques were helpful to those who took the time to be trained. But over the years, I came to see that stress management is not only about learning techniques.

This came home to me while taking a training course in group therapy. I presented one of my stress groups as my course project. I still remember the comments of the instructor: “This is all well and good, but you aren’t really dealing with the people in the group and what’s troubling them.” After a bit of anger on my part, I came to realize that I had missed an essential point in successful stress management.

Managing stress is more than learning a few breathing techniques or yoga poses or even how to think positively. These things can certainly help treat the symptoms of stress, especially in times of need and challenge. But stress management is really about discovering what makes us happy.

Martin Seligman, a positive psychology researcher, in his book Authentic Happiness, laments the scientific neglect of life’s positive dimensions:

    “Relieving the states that make life miserable, it seems, has made building the states that make life worth living less of a priority.” (1)

Happiness is a center piece to any life that is meaningful, lived with purpose and fully engaged with the world. In this article, I will explore how happiness is the foundation for living a life that is whole and satisfying.

What is stress management not about?


The media is filled with information about managing stress, losing weight, getting fit, finding the right career, making money and gaining status.  We hear of techniques to cure every ill. We’re told how to breathe, what to eat, which careers are the best, and what exercises to do for a flat stomach. In spite of this, many of us are still stressed out, overweight, out of shape, in jobs we hate and somehow discontent with our lives.

It’s even worse for the not so fortunate among us who are working two or three jobs just to survive and provide for their families, for the single parent looking for day care and decent employment at decent pay, or the homeless trapped in a vicious downward cycle. Deep breathing may not be up to the task of relieving this kind of stress.

There is a much broader vision involved in managing stress than we might at first imagine, such as knowing ourselves , our values and virtues, having a supporting and loving community of family and friends, and working for the good of others. These are the things that help create well-being and happiness. If it were as easy as trying a stress management technique to cure us, we would all be happily relaxed. Let’s take a closer look at the extraordinary contribution happiness can make in our lives.

What is happiness about?

The answer may be that it was never about abundance or techniques. It may be more about coming to know who we are and recognizing the importance of our relationships with others and our community.

For the rest of the story: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/12/10/the-truth-about-stress-its-cure/

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