Technically, the definition of stress refers to that period of time between one state of being that you are already accustomed to and some new state of being that you haven’t yet become accustomed to. The period of stress can be quite uncomfortable because the body often perceives differences as threats, even when they’re not physically dangerous. For example, we can jump or startle when we hear a sudden noise coming from another room. Regardless, a body that is stressed is often tense, has tired muscles, chest pains, shortened breath and an even shorter temper. All of these can lead to even more stress and irritability.
Causes of Stress
Stress can come from almost any situation. Common ones in Oakville and Halton include concerns about personal finances, long commutes into Toronto, beliefs that we are better parents when we give our children more things, and worries that we are somehow not meeting the same standards we presume other people are meeting with ease. Even though we enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, our North American culture can be relentless in its constant push for us to go faster and harder, to take on more and more, and to always appear happy and untroubled, as if the “Fine” we use when people ask “How are you?” is really the truth.
From this perspective, noticing your stress can be a valuable signal that something is not working, especially when we learn to value it and listen to it. Too often, people ignore signs of stress, thinking incorrectly that they are signs of personal failure. The psychologists and registered psychotherapists at Shift Cognitive Therapy believe that listening to one’s own body is a fundamentally important skill because it usually tells us exactly what we need to do: Slow down, take something off your agenda and find ways to take better care of yourself.