Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stress: What Drives YOU Crazy?
I just read a terrific article in my most recent issue of Romance Writer's Report (which is available to all RWA members). In it, the author explains that stress is anything that causes you or your body to tighten up. Webster defines stress as a constraining force or influence (yes, I looked it up).

Which got me thinking and doing a little research. Consider the following:
  • Stress is the body's response to a stimulus; a stimulus can be:
    • Real or imagined; and
    • Physical; psychological, cognitive, or behavioral.
  • Stress manifests itself in three steps:
    • Alarm is the first step, which usually causes the body to produce adrenaline and, in some cases, cortisol (aka fight-or-flight response);
    • Resistance is the second step, which causes the mind and body to develop methods of coping (i.e., eating, drinking, screaming at loved ones, etc.); and
    • Exhaustion is the third and final step, which causes severe biological results, such as ulcers, migraines, depression, and other medical conditions.
POSITIVE things can cause stress. Yup, your daughter's upcoming wedding, next week's date with that guy you've been ogling at the gym for months, the birth of your child (or grandchild), etc.

We all know that negative things cause stress, so I don't need to give you examples. Perhaps you need to be reminded, however, that while we can't control the positive and negative things that happen around us, we CAN control how we respond to them--both physically and mentally/emotionally.

I've experienced a number of significant changes in my life in recent months, which include relationships (both personal and business), the sale of one of my insurance businesses, and my increase in freelance writing jobs. Not to mention the darned lousy weather that continues to mess with my plans.

Having and utilizing effective plans to reduce stressors and our responses to them is an important part of achieving personal and business success--and getting done all the things we want and need to do. I've implemented a plan to reduce MY RESPONSES to the stressors in my life. I know what drives me crazy ... now I'm working on methods to avoid the crazy part.

Now I want to hear YOUR advice, suggestions, and tips.

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