Is It More Important To Reduce The Stress In My Life Or Modify My Reaction To Stress?

Dr. Jeffrey Janata answers the question: 'Reduce Stress Or Modify My Reaction?'

— -- Question: Is it more important to reduce the stress in my life or modify my reaction to stress?

Answer: Well, this is such an important question because it gets to the distinction that most of us don't adequately make. There is a difference between stressors in our lives -- those things that we experience as challenges -- and our own stress response, which is an emotional and physical learned response to those stresses.

So we can't make general statements about this for individuals, but what we can say is that, most likely, it's going to be easiest to begin with to try to modify your stress response -- those ways in which you react to stress, and trying to learn new and more adaptive ways of responding to modify and reduce that stress response to those things in our lives that we can't necessarily control. Then, only then, do we try to address, I think, those stressors themselves, and try to change the context or the situation or the person or the event that's serving as a stressor in our lives.

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