How can I avoid stress?

Short answer: You can’t, so build resilience

Life is all about change, and change produces  stress. But there is good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). You wouldn’t want to get rid of the good stress associated with birthdays, weddings, vacations and all the enjoyable things in life. You wouldn’t want to avoid the stress that helps protect you – tells you to remove your hand if you put it down on a hot stove burner or prepares you to run away from a threat. You cannot get rid of acute stress (like accidents) and for the most part human beings handle acute stress episodes fairly well; they are short term and when they are over and done with you recover from them. The stress you want to avoid as much as possible is chronic, low level stress – that’s the stress that hurts health-wise.

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Just What is Stress, Anyway?

Estimates vary, but somewhere between 75 and 90% of all visits to primary care physicians in America are due to stress-related conditions. Stress has been implicated as a factor in stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and a host of other problems.

Even so, the “experts” have no clear, agreed-upon definition of stress. That’s because stress is a highly personal thing. Some people can take more of it than others; some people even seem to thrive on it! And stress is important in our lives, not only as a signal of possible impending danger but also because it’s stress that provides excitement and joy in living. There is bad stress (distress) and there is good stress (eustress). So  you don’t want to  rid yourself of stress – you want to manage it.

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