“If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.” ~ Adabella Radici

Every day, each individual has an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts running through their minds. Considering that your mind can only handle 7-10 bits of information at a time, no wonder you may feel overwhelmed!

Stress appears to be everywhere and affect everyone. 11 scary statistics about stress reports that 77% of people regular experiences physical symptoms related to stress, while 73% experience psychological symptoms. 33% of people feel they are living with extreme stress.

Stress often is accompanied by an array of physical reactions. These symptoms can be characteristic of other physical or mental disorders. Prolonged stress can have a serious affect on all areas of your health therefore, understanding some of the myths surrounding stress may help you prevent some health related issues.

Myth #1 Circumstances create your stress.

It appears that this is true but it isn’t. Stress stems from the thoughts you have about your circumstances, not the circumstances themselves. For example, take the case of John, who remains calm in the face of a huge deadline while Peter flips out with stress. One thinks of it as a challenge, the other as a nasty chore. It is all in the perspective.

Myth #2 Stress is inevitable.

Stress is not inevitable! One way to prove this is to look for something you’re not bothered by that others are. Maybe you love flying but your friend doesn’t. Your friend can’t imagine not feeling stressed before and during a flight, but for you no big deal. The same is true for whatever you get stressed out about, be it money, health, work, or something else. It’s entirely possible to think differently and not experience stress in your life, as unlikely as that sounds it only requires a different approach.

Myth #3 You chose stress.

Stress may not be a choice, it may result from subconscious beliefs you have about the world. Subconscious beliefs are those you are not aware of. This belief may have been with you for so long you no longer are aware of it. You are only aware that you believe it because you think it’s true. To eliminate some stress, you may need to question some of these beliefs in order to see them differently.

Myth #4 Stress is motivating.

To understand this myth you need to know the between stress and stimulation. Having deadlines, setting goals, and pushing yourself to perform at your optimum capacity is stimulating. When stressed you’re not stimulated, you’re anxious, upset, or frustrated. Stress dramatically reduces your ability to perform at peak. People who get things done under stress are succeeding in spite of their stress, not because of it.

Myth #5 A little stress is good for you.

Dr. Hans Selye, the founder of the modern stress concept, promoted the idea of good stress. But research since then has proven that stress contributes to 75% to 90% of medical conditions, including the six leading causes of death. Stimulation is good for you. Stress is not.

Myth #6 The most popular techniques for reducing stress are the best.

This is a dangerous myth to believe because it may lead people to activities which may cause them even more stress. One example would be meditating. For someone with a highly active mind this could be torture. Besides, these techniques deal with the effects of stress and not the causes of stress, which are your thoughts. So, a more effective long-term approach involves learning to think differently about challenging situations so the stress is no longer produced.

Myth #7 No symptoms, no stress.

An absence of symptoms doesn’t mean an absence of stress. Over time, chronic stress will eventually cause your mind and body to start wearing out (fatigue, loss of productivity, forgetfulness, etc.). But this can take years, sometimes decades. Don’t ignore the stress in your life simply because you may not be suffering at this moment. Developing healthy stress management routines go a long way in helping you get through the more challenging time when they arise.

Myth #8 Stress is everywhere, so you just have to live with it.

Many aspects of today’s world (a bad economy, long work hours, over-scheduling, etc.) lead to increased stress for many people. But that doesn’t mean you have to simply accept it. You can shape your life in such a way that you add some stress-free time during your day, week or month. Know when you are stimulated and when you stressed. When you feel stressed try find ways to change your thinking about the situation. For example, if you find your self thinking about your long to-do-list, prioritize it! What really needs to get done now and what can wait. You could also break down complicated tasks into smaller, simpler projects.

Making situations work for you rather controlling you go a long way to lessening the stress in your live. Isn’t your health worth it?