Managing Stress in the Midst of Chaos, Change, and Growth

We all experience stress in different ways, whether it be as muscle tension, digestive problems, or issues with our emotions. The way we experience stress is extremely individual, and I am thrilled when I meet others whose stress manifests the same as my own. Just as each of us is unique, the way in which we cope with and manage stress will be just as individual. Ultimately, the goal is to find the tools, methods, activities, and coping skills that work for you.

Before we discuss methods of managing stress, let's discuss what stress is and how it can either benefit or harm us. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary ( defines stress as "a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a cause in disease causation" and "one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existing equilibrium."

In evaluating the first definition, we see unmanaged stress may lead to various forms of disease. The most common conditions I see in my acupuncture and Reiki practice are bodily and emotional pain, varying levels of acute or chronic disease, and unmanaged stress. When these patients and clients enter my clinic, my job becomes helping them to reduce their stress to manageable levels or adapt to an increase level of stress.