Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens and response is something we can choose.Rev. Maureen Killoran
In a 2012 survey, 20% of Americans said they were experiencing extreme levels of stress. And while 64% said that it is “extremely important or very important to manage stress”, only 37% felt they were actually doing an excellent or very good job at managing theirs. American Psychological Association

What is Stress?

We often refer to stress as an emotion, but it is actually a much more complicated phenomenon. Stress is, in fact, a complex mix of emotional, physical and behavioral responses. Feeling “stressed out” is your body’s way of saying, “I cannot cope with this challenging situation.” But stress is not always just a result of something negative happening to us. It can be something that takes us out of our usual routines, or something that creates more responsibility or work for us—even something very positive and exciting, like planning a wedding or adjusting to life with a new baby. Having some level of stress is a necessary and positive thing. Stress can be motivating and can enhance performance—ask any athlete or stage performer! But too much stress is a bad thing.

Chronic stress causes health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as immune deficiencies, which can make it harder for your body to fight infections. Chronic stress also causes memory and concentration problems, and can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.

When we over rely on our outdated primitive Brain Operating System to meet the day to day Challenges of living in a Modern World we are continually triggering our fight/flight/freeze responses causing STRESSful reactions throughout our body.

Stress is Triggered by our Brain’s Survival Instincts

Most of the stress we experience is not handled well by the more primitive Reptilian and Mammalian brain. There’s also another stress related hormone that is released by the adrenals, just as powerful as adrenaline. It’s called cortisol, which in small doses can help wipe out most unpleasant aspects of stress, returning us to normalcy. However, in today’s challenging world, in which we can feel threatened often by money issues, social issues, security issues, work issues, and relationship issues, our stress response system doesn’t turn off as it was naturally designed to do.

So, the cortisol gets released in greater doses, which greatly affects our health, and ability to learn, as it impacts the hippocampus, and other parts of our body in a negative way.

Only, by learning to make shifts to access the higher brain capacities and acquiring the tools to reflect, gain insights and control can we creatively respond to challenges and go beyond our automatic pre-programmed stress responses.

When you think of the amygdala, you should think of one word. Fear. When stress overwhelms us, it’s a sign that our amygdala, the brain’s trigger for fight-flight response—has hijacked it’s executive centers in the prefrontal cortex.Dr. Richard Davidson, pioneer brain/mind researcher

So, by rewiring our Brains, we can change our lives. By designing new programs we can change the patterns of our brain firings to lay the foundation for new perceptions and experiences.

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