When it comes to managing stress in our life we have to know which kind of stress to tackle first.
There is the stress that keeps us on the edge of our seat as we watch our favorite sports team in a championship game.
There is the stress that we feel mount right before a major project is due
Then there is the stress associated with doing something we fear such as public speaking, asking our boss for a raise or approaching the woman/man of our dreams to ask for a date.
We can all relate to these situations of stress, we know what brings it on and we often know how our bodies tend to react.
However, these are NOT the most dangerous forms of stress. We can work on dealing with stress associated with these occasional causes and still miss the most dangerous type of stress of all.
The reason is that most of these stressors are temporary. You have a few days of stress associated with a certain life situation and then it disappears.
They come and go and typically do not happen all that often in life, so we can deal with them and then bring ourselves back to a state of being in control and living reliatively stress free.
DO YOU HAVE THIS KIND OF STRESS?
So what is the most dangerous stress?
I have talked with many men who have had heart attacks, people who have controlled addictions that were largely the result of stress, what they all will tell you is that it is the chronic, seething, "under-the-cover" stress that is the worst.
You know what it's like, calm on the outside, burning up on the inside.
The problem is this type of stress builds over years, and it builds slowly in the beginning so that you can cover it, ignore it and learn to live with it even though it continues to build an affect us physically and mentally.
Chronic, low-level stress is insidious…not many people recognize its destructive power until it's too late and something major has happened in your life (a heart attack, nervous breakdown, addiction that masks this stress gets the best of you)
In fact, I've seen perfectly healthy, happy people completely breakdown over the course of a 10-year period caused directly by this slow building, chronic stress.
To recognize this kind of stress you have to be willing to interrupt your daily habit of being so busy and distracted that you ignore your own state of mind and body.
You must be willing to listen to your mind and body – and when you do you will be amazed to understand how much stress you cope with each day.
As well as practicing mindfulness you need to pull out of the destructive habits you have created to cope with stress…the eating unhealthy foods, putting off exercise, keeping yourself so busy you can't think about it (workaholic syndrome), ignoring your healthy friends, and sometimes putting your ambitions on the back-burner or figuring out another way to achieve what you want in life.
Are you the type of person that keeps stress bottled up inside? That presents a calm exterior while you feel constantly anxious and angry on the inside?
If this sounds like you then a word of warning, you have the worst kind of stress and it will not go away on its own…will you take action today to recognize and begin to bring peace and harmony back into your life?