Stressful Life? Problems in the world, health, marriage, kids?

Living in a stressful world

We live stressful lives. Our days are packed with problems, activities, work, kids, events and functions. I ran into a friend of mine who has three children and she told me about all of the activities and events she's involved with on a regular basis. Many of these take place on the weekend. She works a full-time job, raises three kids, and is active in the business community. While she shared her schedule, what I wasn't hearing was a time in her schedule that allowed for a moment to relax.


How to cope with stressful situations
How to cope with stressful situations | Source

Stress response

We have all heard of the "fight or flight" stress reaction. This is an immediate response in us that tells us to run away, or stand and battle it out. Stress causes:

  • Release of hormones.
  • Rapid heartbeat and respiration.
  • Increase in how much blood pumps into your heart and other muscles that have now tightened up with tension.
  • Heightened energy and strength.

How stress affects the body

While the "fight or flight" response can save our lives when we're in danger, other situations that have little to do with a threat on our life, such as a hurried lifestyle, anger, or emotional upset, can cause these same symptoms. When this happens, the body attacks itself.

Stress can bring on health problems:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Digestive disorders
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Back pain
  • Reduced immunity to infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Chemical imbalance that may contribute to cancer
  • Heart disease

The effect of stress on our emotions

Back to my friends stressful life-

She called with a problem that seemed impossible to solve. It was actually a very benign and simple issue. To her, however, it was "more than she could take". The reason small problems become big is due to the weight of all the other things we are piling on to it. Ever hear of "the straw that broke the camels back?"

I know it is cliché, but it paints the picture so well. When we live in a constant state of stress, it takes very little to break us. We are not able to carry any more weight. We begin to react in ways not in line with the situation.

We may cry more, or lash out at people. We may internalize and have stomach and fatigue problems. We tend to fight more or micro-manage.

How to change our stress response

The very first thing to do is make a complete stress list of all the things in life that feel upsetting to you. This list needs to include everything you--

  • Worry about
  • Afraid of
  • Tired of
  • Wish were different
  • Sad about
  • Crazy about
  • Angry about
  • Disgusted with
  • Ashamed of 
  • Fed up with
  • Had it up to here with
  • Negative
  • Unfortunate circumstance
  • Bad
  • Evil
  • Horrible
  • I can't believe it
  • What are we going to do?
  • How can we possibly
  • What will happen
  • How do people do that
  • Why do bad things happen

There are a bunch more, but you get the idea. This list will likely be very long. Some things may be silly and others may be tragic. The main  thing is not to leave anything off. No one but you will see this list.

Stress response - what do you control?

Now take your list and put a check by each item you have the ability to change. Go ahead, do it now, I'll wait for you.

Got it done?


OK, now take a look at the things that you can't control, change or do one darn thing about. These are probably the things that are causing you the most stress in your life. Is that right?

Now ask yourself, can I bring world peace? Can I feed all the starving children in China? Can I make the economy better? Can I protect my children from every harm that may come to them? Can I make my husband, wife, mother, father, child, best friend, neighbor--change? The answer to each of these is NO.

These things are out of our control and there is very little to be done other than accept this is how it is. You can still enjoy your life despite these things that are impacting your feelings, but you have no power to change the situation. You only have the power to change how you feel.

These are the things that you can let go of right now.

Stress response - what can I change?

Now look back at your list at the things you can change. Is your schedule so full (like my friend) that you have no moment for peace? Do you need to make personal changes or lifestyle changes? Pick the one thing that will have the greatest return on your investment.

It's kind of like paying off credit cards. you tackle one at a time, choosing the highest interest and lowest balance card to pay extra on each month. When that one is paid off, you now have more to spend on the next one. And so on, and so on...until you are debt free.

The same principal works with stress. You chip away at it by getting rid of the smallest irritant first. This will give you extra energy to tackle the next one. Until finally, all your energy is going towards that big monster that masters you.

Positive stress message

Jesus said to his followers:

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

May you live in peace my friend.

More by this Author

Comments 12 comments

mathair profile image

mathair 5 years ago from Ireland

Thank you for this reminder! We can get so bowled over with stress that we can not see any way out! I learned the hard way! However I think that we need to be regularly reminded not to let stress pile up on top of us. Voting this up!

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 5 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks Mathair for stopping by. I am sorry you learned the hard way, but hopefully now your life is full of peace and good things.

BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

That is for sure that we live in stressful times. I write about stress all the time. About how stress makes us sick and how I use mindfulness to reduce stress

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 5 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks Blissful for sharing your hubs on stress.

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

Guess l´ll have to read this every day... At the moment l feel like someone pulled the ground from under me and l have no control over my own life.

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

so true bayareagreatthing...

stress has engulfed our life to such an extent that no one is spared from health issues. Considering the high prices of health insurance we should be using our visits to doc's sparingly but little do we realize the factors that are making us head in the direction.

Voted up!

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 5 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks Dim and Ruchira for stopping by. I agree with you both! I need to read this every day too! Stressors surround us in our modern lives.

stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub. Very good information about stress and what it causes. All familiar to me. God Bless You.

LVidoni5 profile image

LVidoni5 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

This is great advice and very helpful... Thanks and Up.

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

Love the idea of a stress list!!! GREAT HUB! I have missed you! God Bless you! When you get a chance, come by and visit! VOTED-Useful!!!

trina47 profile image

trina47 5 years ago from Ohio

Very good article, and very helpful, thank you!

Darknlovely3436 profile image

Darknlovely3436 4 years ago from NewYork

great hub..

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article