Tension is who you think you should be, relaxed is who you are. . . Ancient Chinese Proverb

Stress is reversible no matter how depressed, anxious, angry or tense but long term physical effects and self defeating habits become less and less easy to reverse so it's worth reorganizing as soon as possible. Even moderate prolonged stress impairs well-being and performance.

Stress is essential to survive. The fight-flight reaction mobilizes metabolic and muscular systems to deal with threat and challenge. But after prolonged or extreme stress we lose clarity of sight, hearing, touch, emotions and thoughts without fully realizing and it is difficult to think, be sociable, or find a way back to normality.

If stress in a difficult job or relationship is managed by regular relaxation it only takes an extra stressor or a loss of relaxation time to begin the gradual count-down towards burnout. An episode of despair, rage, anxiety or inability to carry out a routine task might be the first hint that something is not quite right.

When our emotional systems are disrupted by prolonged stress it is harder to evaluate ourselves and our environment. We are more likely to walk into danger or miss opportunities. And take things personally and take out frustrations on innocent or not so innocent bystanders.

Prolonged arousal of negative emotions can lead to breakdown anywhere when growth, repair, immune, digestive or metabolic systems shut down. Deteriorating health and relationships adds to the stress.

It may be best to defer important life decisions. Physical, mental or emotional breakdown is a chance to stop, rest and reorganise.

dealing with stress
Except for major incidents and catastrophes, few events are stressful in themselves. Stress arises when they are felt to be threatening. What is stressful for one person may be amusing to another. An invigorating stimulus one day may be a stressor the next.

Automatic fear reflexes from the past may still be triggered long after they are no longer useful and perpetuate stress. When we notice them we can center ourselves in the present and relax. It is more difficult to stay stressed when we become aware of fears and don’t fight against them.

Meditating to suppress emotions is the opposite of awareness and like drug use can be catastrophic. Relaxing is not enough by itself. Problems have to be resolved and dangers avoided. The awareness therapy pages show how to uncover and deal with restricting memories of past experiences.

The relaxation and meditation exercises on the side-menu and on the body and mind pages allow time out from disabling emotional states and help side-step unnecessary stress and let the body gradually learn calmer habits.

They are easier to get the hang of when feeling OK, so now is a good time to start before a crisis is incapacitating. With practice they can in minutes and even seconds bring physical and mental calm in the midst of chaos.

When the body and mind learn these habits of responding they are less easily overwhelmed and can react efficiently and creatively. Perception and thinking become clear and accurate and movement easier.