There are only a few days left in April… just a few days left of Stress Awareness Month and, no doubt, pretty much just as many people are suffering from stress at the end of the month than there were at the beginning… the WHO says stress is an epidemic and that it will be the single biggest killer in the developed world in the 21st century.

Not that you’ll see STRESS emblazoned on any death certificate… it will be one of the many direct physical effects of stress: hypertension, cardio-vascular disease, stroke, even cancer. Yes, stress starts in the head and impacts everything in your life. The digestive, immune and cardio-vascular systems are the immediately obvious ones but the disruption of sleep that accompanies stress has now been implicated by Stanford as a proven cause of the protein build up on the brain’s synapses that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The good news is that stress starts in the head… it’s not real, it is imagined. One person’s stress is another’s motivation or excitement – stress is uniquely personal and completely self-inflicted. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR) confirms that you can de-stress yourself – as distinct from the way in which we normally distress ourselves! And MBSR’s findings have been further confirmed by modern neuroscience – not only can we manage stress, we can banish it, not only can we kill of stress before it kills us, the steps we take to do so restructure key neural components and, quite literally, change our life.

I hear you say “That’s nonsense… change your life?” But, once you alter how you perceive, you alter everything – and this is most definitely life-changing.

Evolution has designed us in a certain fashion – it enabled us thrive 15,000 years ago but it’s killing us in the 21st century. We are designed to not focus (because we need to maintain our limited ability to focus on the possibility that a bear or tiger will leap from the bushes and devour us) and we are wired to be stressed because, should be predator confront us, we’ll immediately spring into action and either fight or run away.

Evolution is a tortuously slow process but that doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility for yours. Neural plasticity confirms that our brains structure and restructure themselves to how we use them – use yours to focus on the here and now rather than the thoughts that trigger the stress response.

The key point is, there are just a couple of days left in April – Stress Awareness Month – if you take the right steps, there are just a couple of days left in your life when you will “suffer” from stress.

Author's Bio: 

Willie Horton is a practicing business psychologist focusing on enabling his clients develop their purposeful focus and achieve their desired goals. Originally from Dublin, Ireland – originally and accountant, tax consultant and banker – he has been pursuing this path since 1996 and now has clients the world over. To take the right steps to rid your life of stress, simply click