As published in Yoga Magazine
February 2011

Befriending Stress

3 Steps to Revolutionize your Responses to Stress

— by Jonathan Pofsky, MFT, CMT

Life is hard. I hear that a lot and more often than not, I agree. The life that most of us have come to know is a modern day balancing act of go go go and do do do. We work long hours, often staring at screens or hurrying from one intense meeting to the next. Day after day, week after week, the body starts to gradually rebel with its offerings of musculoskeletal pain, elevated heart rate, and splitting headaches. The mind grows weary and agitated. The breath becomes shallow, constricted, and ultimately, neglected. And yet even if we know we are stressed, and overwhelmed, we do little to change the root of the dysfunctional ways we respond to stress. Perhaps we find ways to temporarily relieve our condition. More often than not, we end up caught in the same dreadful stress patterns, convincing in their assumptions that this is just the way it is and we need to slog our way though it. When stress is left unattended, it manifests as involuntary stress responses in the body and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you feel trapped and oppressed by stress and stressful conditions, there is a good chance there is something revolutionary you may not have tried yet: Make stress your friend.

Transforming your responses to stress is do-able for you, right now, regardless of the stressor or symptom of stress. Using a simple three-step process, you will learn how to befriend stress, access it in the body, and take appropriate actions to create balance and ease. Before we get started, there are a few things you need to know about stress that will help you begin.

Need to Know

The term stress is derived from the Latin stringere, to draw tight, which is an excellent frame of reference for what happens to us mentally and physically when we are in its grasp. There are two kinds of stress: eustress and distress.

Eustress is stress or activity without negative consequences on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Imagine the stimulating effort needed to give a talk in front of a small group of people. Distress has destructive consequences on the nervous system, especially with extended or repeated exposure.

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Published Articles

Befriending Stress
    - Yoga Magazine

Keeping Calm
    - Yoga Magazine

Favorite Books Lists

A list of some favorite books related to helping with stress and anxiety.

Books on Stress & Anxiety
Books on Depression
Books on Stress & Mindfulness

Poetry by Jonathan Pofsky

As we arrive more fully into ourselves, a truth emerges. This truth defies censorship, judgment, and reason.

Jonathan’s Book

These words are my truth, the result of a commitment to deep listening and trust in life below the surface of things.

Helpful Links

Links to resources for help with stress and anxiety.