I've never fully believed that stress can cause symptoms, but recently, with more attention to Kurt Harris / John Sarno's (The Divided Mind) teachings, I'm wondering how to determine if one is actually stressed.
Sometimes I feel like I'm pretty zen, being a minimalist n' all and having lots of quiet time and analytical / introverted times (maybe too much), but sometimes I feel I'm slightly wound up. I can't tell if it's chronic stress, or not.
With one set of friends, sometimes I feel like I'm a low-stress kind of guy, and with other friends I feel like there's always something bugging me, (even though there really shouldn't be...as I am pretty dang healthy, no student debt, did well in college...etc. etc.)
I don't know if this is a dumb question, but how can one determine stress levels? and how does one freaking just turn off once in a while?
I think I have problems with the 80/20 rule...meaning I tend to stress out more, and have no problems being compliant...and actually have issues being too compliant most of the time. On another note, the quest for health shouldn't even be about "being compliant."
Stress can be a healthy thing, which people tend to forget. If you have NO stress in your life, that means that nothing could possibly be going on. Worrying about what you're going to say, who you're going to hang out with, what choice you are going to make- these are just a part of life, and they can keep us motivated and allow us to question and evaluate our surroundings. Even if you feel "like nothing is bugging you" but you're still a little stressed, this can be a pretty natural response to a situation.
Physical things to check for: shallow breathing, hand temperature, nervous sweating, high pulse rate, high blood pressure. If you are experiencing these symptoms frequently, and they noticeably disrupt what your doing, red flag that your stress levels are too high. If you experience exhaustion and fatigue on a regular basis (that get-home-flop-on-the-couch-paralyzed-for-hours feeling), you should do something about your stress levels.
To manage your stress, you can try many of the run-of-the-mill treatments for blowing off steam: physical activity (including sex), meditation, gentle stretching/yoga, spending time with people you are relaxed around, laughing (what's up stand up comedy), playing, and engaging in hobbies you are passionate about.
You can do all these things and still NOT be stress free, and that is a good thing. If you have no stress in your life something is up. You will have moments of no stress if you seek out these soothing activities, but you will never "turn off" the mechanism of stress for good. I mean we need it- what if a cougar turned up out of the blue? It's gotta be on hand and ready to go.