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One of the realities of our modern lives is that there are so many different competing demands on our time we sometimes don’t know what to do first. Pressures can come from school, jobs, or just juggling the demands of your own family. All these competing issues can leave you feeling overwhelmed or worse. To use a different word, you are experiencing stress.

What we call stress can be very damaging both physically and emotionally. “Stress” is not a disease or condition; it is a generic term used to refer to a set of emotional and physical responses to outside stimulus and situations. The emotional responses include fear, anxiety, depression, feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. The physical responses can be sudden perspiration, increased heart rate and raised blood pressure. Unresolved stress is a leading cause of insomnia and contributes to symptoms of hypertension. Left untreated, these symptoms can wreck your health and your ability to enjoy life.

Of course the pharmaceutical industry is eager to help you “de-stress” with any number of prescription medications. So eager, in fact, that their television advertising has increased more than 300% over the last few years. This isn’t hard to believe as it is hard not to be presented with an ad for one drug or another anytime you turn the set on.

Similarly, the therapists stand ready to help you as well. Both the psychologists and psychiatrists will help you through your issues, charging by the hour.

I do not mean to belittle either drugs or therapies; many, many people have been helped by both methods. But, to me, neither addresses the question of why, when faced with identical situations, some people just handle it better than others. The fact is that much about how we react to stressful situations is a learned response and we can learn to handle our challenges without falling into the stress trap.

This is appealing because, if we learn to “de-stress” ourselves, we can do it without becoming drug dependent or spending months or years in therapy. Ideally, we can learn how to be better privately and make use of the available technologies in place of the more traditional methods.

We are fortunate that there is now technology available to help us learn these techniques quickly and effectively.