ACT and Stress (1)


Q:  What’s the best way to cope with stress?

A:  Effectively!

It's not stress that kills us it is our reaction to it

This quote by Dr Hans Selye, one of the fathers of modern stress research, illustrates the dilemma we face while living in the modern world.  Our bodies’ reaction to stress – the fight or flight response – can have a major impact on our health.  This response, which works very well when triggered occasionally, all too often seems to get stuck.

Job pressures, relationship issues, financial stress and unexpected events – all trigger the same primal response from the body’s sympathetic nervous system. This essentially puts the body on a war footing, releasing cortisol and other stress hormones throughout the body, shutting down digestion and increasing muscle tension and inflammation.  Over time this can have very far reaching and serious consequences.  Too much stress ineffectively handled is definitely not good for us!

So, where do we turn to for help?  Well many of us may have found refuge in all sorts of temporary escapisms.  Drink, drugs, food, shopping, work, exercise to name but a few.  Unfortunately, though these may work in the short term they tend not to be so effective in the long term and can even exacerbate the initial problem by creating problems of their own.

So what to do?  Well there is a lot of research to show that the answer lies within our own body.

The para sympathetic nervous system (sometimes known as the ‘rest and digest’ system) triggers the opposite response to fight or flight, thereby restoring equilibrium to the body.

What we are looking for then is the “Relaxation Response” to counter the “Fight or Flight Response”.  Where do we find it?

Research shows that,

“The para sympathetic nervous system can be activated and strengthened using slow diaphragmatic breathing as found in meditation and yoga.”

In other words, when we are in the grip of the stress response we can find the relaxation response in our very next breath!

I wrote “THE STRESS RESPONSE” to remind me of that.


  • What sort of attitude do you have towards stress?
  • Have you discovered the power of the breathing space?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.






We all have known those moments when the chemicals course through,

When our heart is starting pounding and our pressure’s rising too,

And the stress response is surging as it carries us away

Far beyond the equilibrium we hoped was ours today.

It may be it was significant, this something that occurred,

That stirred up our lovely comfort zones and left us all disturbed,

Or maybe on this occasion it was nothing much at all,

But when the stress response gets going it is difficult to stall.

And it really can be wearisome, this constant red alert,

When our body’s on war footing trying to stop us getting hurt,

But when it doesn’t make distinctions ‘bout the level of a threat

Then the stress response gets stuck, and getting stressed is what we get.

And we know we should find refuge, and we would do if we could,

For when we’re flooded out with chemicals that won’t do us much good,

But where to find it, that’s the problem, we have tried so many things,

Well we could look to our body, this same body that stress brings.

For it can counteract the stress response, it’s really very slick,

We have a body with an antidote and that will do the trick,

And all that’s needed is a breathing space that’s long and deep and slow,

And as we feel ourselves relaxing then our stress begins to go.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “THE STRESS RESPONSE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

Not strictly ACT I know, but if you want to find out more about Dr Hans Selye, then check out the American Institute of Stress website.  It makes for fascinating reading!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….


How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes


Published by

Corinne Shields

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, erstwhile teacher for thirty plus years, and permanent student. I have long been interested in psychology and spirituality and enjoy writing inspirational poetry. Hence the publication of this blog at ACT Made I play golf badly, piano a little better and I love reading, writing, and all things French. I divide my time between Wales and France and enjoy travelling with my husband, Len and my dog Charlie.

2 thoughts on “ACT and Stress (1)”

  1. Thanks Corinne for some very helpful and interesting reading. It’s not easy to battle stress. I’m better at giving advice than physically doing it myself. It’s been lovely reading all this information. I am going to try and put it into practice. Lots of love, Linda Seymour xx


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