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Stress in life may be one of those things that seems unavoidable. Why is it that some sail through their day without a care in the world, while others are in a state of constant worry and weariness?
As an individual who has had several relatively stressful circumstances appear throughout life, I can attribute the amount of stress that I am feeling at any given moment to one thing - my decisions related to this stress.
Whether we realize it or not, when we are faced with a stressor we actually have the ability to control our reaction to it. Many might say, that this is simply not possible though. Stressors exist in the external world and we must react to it in a particular way. Your boss, or spouse is in your face again. The baby is crying or someone has just cut you off on the road. Aren't we supposed to respond to these events with frustration?
None of these circumstances are particularly stressful. What is stressful is how our mind reacts to them.
This may be hard to believe at first, but we can try a sort of mental trick on ourselves to see if this is actually true. The next time you are faced with a red light, while you are in a rush to work - take a moment. Just one second to stop and, instead reacting the way you might normally react. Just laugh. Think about the absurdity of the situation. You have an important meeting to get to. You have people who you are responsible to. This light has no compassion for you, how rude of it to change when you are on your way to work. Doesn't it understand that you are an important person and have better things to do. Silly isn't it. To think that a light might have compassion for you or care either way about how your day goes.
So, where does this negative reaction take place. Does the light cause it, does the meeting, schedule or coworkers cause it. No, it is an internal cause. The sooner we come to this realization, the sooner we will be able to handle our stressors in an appropriate way.
Instead of getting upset at your spouse or boss immediately next time. Just take a moment. A split-second is all you need. Reframe the image you have of the situation, in to one in which you are in control. Then, because you are in control, you will be able to laugh instead of wince or cry, or run-away. The healthiest reaction you can have is sometimes just to laugh in the face of unreasonable reality frames, cause they are in fact absurd, and have no control over your internal world.
When we learn to do this, we can begin to reframe our situations in to ones in which we are more aware and in control. Situations have no power over us if we do not allow them to.
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