It’s easy to read scientific studies about stress and well-being. It’s not easy to see stress ravaging the lives of your students, clients, friends, and family members, along with personally experiencing those same outcomes in your own life.
In my role as a wellness educator, stress has consistently been the single most substantial issue affecting the lives of the people with whom I work, and it affects them in every wellness dimension (i.e., physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, occupationally, and environmentally). In fact, when people seek professional advice about changing their physical health behaviors (e.g., actions relating to alcohol, food, tobacco, physical inactivity, etc.), they often find that non-physical factors like stress are actually the driving force behind their physical behaviors. As a result, optimal stress management has both direct and indirect effects on improving a person’s quality of life.
Beginning with the first page in Chapter 1, you’ll also soon discover that my interest in this topic isn’t simply academic. Instead, the adverse stress outcomes I experienced over 20 years ago sparked a journey that has since transformed not only my own life, but also the lives of others. It’s therefore a path I’m now grateful to have traveled, and I hope it makes your own voyage a much smoother one.
A TRUE STORY
During my junior year of college, I almost dropped out of school because of some struggles I was having with the required coursework. My thought process at the time involved many different elements and was therefore quite complicated, and although I knew I was feeling “stressed out” about the whole thing, I didn’t truly realize how much the stress was affecting me until I woke up one morning and found that my jaw was locked almost completely shut (I could only open it about a half inch).