It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. ~ Hans Selye, author of The Stress of Life

If we are overly stressed and anxious, why is that? Why did we choose stress? According to the Law of Attraction, whatever we focus on, we get more of. That includes our levels of stress. We do, however, have the power to choose to dismiss it immediately and return our bodies to a state of healthy, flourishing ease.

Stress—along with chronic stress, tension and anxiety—is serious and can prove fatal for some. This challenging energy locks us into fight-or-flight mode, freezing us out of the present moment where we control our emotional state, which then affects our health. If we are not in the now, we can’t use our brain to focus on what is important in the moment; we are lost in the past or the present, where it is impossible to change course. When this becomes habitual is where stress may become a chronic illness.

The symptoms of stress that can affect our health are easy to identify once we are familiar with how our individual bodies deal or don’t deal with it. Stress and anxiety are closely connected, and often painfully so. Typically it starts with something that begins outside of us—something we witness or experience—and then the emotion related to the incident implants itself within our energy field or mind. We then feed it with fear and worry until it explodes, often with devastating results.

We need to figure out what stresses us out the most as it is different for everyone. Is it family, children, a work or personal relationship, a work project, a lack of a job, struggling to make ends meet, or something else? For some, it is a stew of all of these things, all the time; for others, it happens occasionally.

Signs of stress can be small, whether it is a gray hair or two, more wrinkles and worry lines, skin rashes or acne, the occasional shortness of breath, or losing patience quickly. Maybe it is feeling tired yet still being unable get a good night’s sleep, or being sick frequently. Or it can be tension headaches, heart irregularities, uncomfortable digestive issues, body tension, pain, depression, or decreased sex ability or desire.

Time management can also become a big issue; the lack of it can create a stressful environment. We need to look at our priorities and the environment we’ve created. It is important to choose wisely because we can only steal from our health for so long without consequences.

There is no specific destination when stress enters the body. After dancing with the brain through thoughts, it will infiltrate and attach itself to many of our organs or systems until we understand why we are feeling this way and do something to combat it. The hormonal system, nervous system, heart, intestines, circulation and stomach are all prime targets for stress. And the whole body suffers with reduced energy and immunity. If we don’t respond to early warning signs, the body will start sending clearer messages to us until we alleviate it or there is a health-related event.

The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances.” ~ Andrew Bernstein, author of the Myth of Stress.

Interestingly, jellyfish, sea urchins and starfish have zero stress; they also do not have brains. Maybe there is a connection there. We need to disconnect from thoughts that lead to increased stressful energy. Choose to release this toxic poison. The good news is that as horrible as stress is to ingest, it is not difficult or expensive to remove.

Destress the Distress

There is more good news when it comes to working with internal distress; it is possible to set up a personal alert system to enable us to be keenly aware when we are getting into dangerous health zones. When we experience these personal alerts, there are simple non-prescription alternatives available that will return the body back into ease and prevent further “dis-ease”.

Our bodies speak to us whether we are listening or not. Stress can be our teacher by alerting us to what is working in our lives or what needs our attention and correction. Instead of being stressed out, let’s learn how to better get the stress out.

  • Mindfully center by taking deep breaths, decompress to let pent-up steam out and choose not to be a “pressure cooker”
  • Add more peace and calm with a meditation experience
  • Drink the purest water and find a diet that resonates
  • Focus on positive thoughts and language as this is the navigation system to ultimate health
  • Choose a schedule and time where relaxation and decompression with loved ones or even alone is possible, whether it is a long weekend away or planning a vacation

Is there such a thing as good stress? Yes, there is. Psychologists refer to good stress as “Eustress”, or the stress we feel when elated. This energy keeps us enjoying life and being vibrant. Always choose Eustress and enjoy the flow of endorphins. Stress can be both an ally and an enemy.

Greg Madden is the director of the Xenia Wellness Center in Hunter, NY. He is a certified biontologist and has studied quantum medicine and tui-na medical massage. Connect at 508-579-7648, or