We hear so much about people being stressed out all the time now but what does this actually mean and what can we do about it?
STRESS is part of our daily lives and it can mean different things to different people. What is stress to one person may not be to another, some people need a certain amount of stress in-order to drive them to reach deadlines and to ensure they are motivated to complete tasks etc.
What do we mean by stress anyway?
The definition of Stress is that “it is the perceived imbalance between our ability to cope and the demands we have to face” so you can see that this could vary from one person’s response to an incident to another’s.
What is sthe percieved ‘normal’ response to a Stressful situation?
- The brain responds by triggering the release of powerful hormones from the adrenal glands, pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.
- The Sympathetic Nervous System also responds and the body thus reacts by increasing the heart rate, changing the blood-pressure, sweating etc.
- This response is perfectly normal as we are designed to respond with the ‘fight or flight’ response in order to protect ourselves from potential danger.
- Problems occur when we make either one of the following mistakes: we try to suppress the emotion and thus ignore the natural fight response or we dwell on the emotion and allow ourselves to remain in the constant flight state.
- So in any given day we can potentially experience lots of stressful events or times we feel under stress …we wake up late for work, the car breaks down on the way, the school rings to say your child is sick and needs to go home just when you are about to go into THAT meeting you have prepared for all week… you get annoyed at work about something but don’t say anything, have a bad night’s sleep and then get upset with your children when they don’t do as you want and it goes on …
- Our perception of the pressure can dictate how stressed we feel and inevitably our response. Also, if the person feels there is a lack of understanding re: the impact of this stress, this causes more stress. What is required here is an understanding that our ability to deal with a situation is absolutely no indicator of how others would deal with them.
So we can accept that stress creation is very individual and that certain situations such as losing your job and being really terrified for your future can create more stress? Staying in that constant state of fear or anxiety can paralyse you into inaction. It can prevent you from responding positively and looking for solutions rather than staying in the negative zone. In other examples our perception of the situation and the way we think about it will dictate our response and this perception is based on our past experience of similar situations and our habitual way of dealing with it.
Because of our past stressful reactions we tend to think and feel our way into stress each time we encounter a similar situation. We may have felt bullied in the past and experience this again or we may have been bitten by a dog and are now afraid of dogs! By changing our response over a period of time this new experience when repeated becomes the past experience which in turn dictates our response.
We are all such creatures of habit and what is good about this is that once you have broken the old habit and created the new more acceptable way of reacting, this too can become a habit. Knowing what to do and how to do this are very different and going to a health life coach can help you to learn how. You can read all the self-help books you want which may get you into the right frame of mind but changing your behaviour is the tough bit and to do this you need further support. It’s the DOING of the change process that is vital.
So what else can we do to reduce our stress levels, turn recession and depression into manageable options?
There are a number of things that you can do to make you feel you have more control in your life and be less stressed overall. While we can’t control the recession but we can control our response to it. It is known that being hopeful and flexible are important traits to develop and seeking help and support from friends and family are also beneficial. Here are some of the Practical Stress Busters.
- Work off stress: Physical activity helps to produce the body’s happy hormones and help release tensions.
- Become more positive less negative. SMILE
- Become more active less reactive.
- Talk to someone you trust. A problem shared is a problem halved.
- Get a worry box. Write down your worries and get rid of them into the worry box. They may never happen.
- Get enough sleep and rest.
- Eat well.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Take one day at a time
- Manage your time as best you can. Develop a system that works FOR YOU not AGAINST YOU. Prioritise. Make lists
- Plan ahead and learn to say NO.
- Take up a hobby.
- Learn to RELAX ‘your way’. Read. Listen to music. Go to the cinema.
- Laugh! Laughter can be the best medicine so find opportunities to do so.
- DON’T GIVE-UP.
Fear can hold you prisoner…..
Hope can set you free.
Health Life Coach in Co.Wexford