Stress ~ It costs! Including you, those you love and care about, business, and the National Health Service … £Billions per year. It is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” and according to some data, accounts for up to 90% of doctor visits. ‘Stress’ is a well-used word these days and means different things to different people … Physical, psychological, emotional stress. Every part of us is connected so wherever and however we feel it will be felt in our whole body. At the cellular level in fact.
It can mean: physical pain or tightness and tension in the body; feelings of fear; resistance to change; overwhelm; worry; sadness; grief; frustration; anxiety; and being attached to just about any crisis in life. As far as crisis goes, it’s been said, we’re either coming out of one, in one, or headed for the next one! There’s the identity crisis, mid-life crisis, and mortality crisis. Some people may choose to call this part of the life journey. As the Buddhists say, “the isness of things.”
~ Is stress useful?
~ What are the effects on the body?
~ Do we have a choice to be stressed?
~ Is going to the doctor the only way to deal with it?
~ Empowering, healthy and sustainable ways to deal with stress.
~ Is stress useful ~ Most people have heard of, and experienced the “fight or flight” response. Presented with danger, e.g. a sabre tooth tiger or more modern threat, it’s a good thing that we have this reflex response. The key word being “reflex.” In this case, it’s a physiological change which happens automatically. Blood sugar rises, heart rate increases, blood is diverted to the arms and legs, as well as from the front to the back of the brain. Hormone levels like adrenalin rise. This is to support the body escape or deal with the threat. BUT, once the event has passed and we’re safely out of danger, we should revert to a calm relaxed state. Stress is actually the body’s reaction to perception which can be changed with non-invasive natural skills and techniques …
~ Negative effects on the body ~ Frequent and chronic stress can very negatively affect health. Low energy, headaches, pains, lack of sleep, depression just to name a few. Blood is diverted away from the viscera (torso) which contains our vital organs. This depletes our immune system allowing the possibility of ‘opportunistic diseases’, viruses and potentially more serious conditions to manifest in the body. It diverts blood from the front to the back of the brain. This can result in poor memory, lack of concentration, recall and intelligence. Many people have experienced this when stressed at exam time or in an interview or other potentially stressful situation. Cortisol is released from the brain. This is an aging hormone and can cause damage to the brain …
~ Choice ~ We actually DO have a choice to be stressed even in the face of real and present danger. We can calmly and assertively take action. Most people respond to stress automatically and unconsciously. There’s a certain way of thinking and acting that will get us the desired result. In my experience, this can throw up a bit of resistance in people who believe they have no choice. There’s a way to “do stress” and often it’s habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour that achieve it. These can be changed. Some relatively quickly, and others take more time. Like anything worthwhile, there’s always a price to be paid. Keeping our “stressometer” at safe levels is well worth it. It’s good for our health, well-being, and longevity …
Going to the doctor ~ This is often the first port of call, and will possibly result in prescription medication and specialist treatment being offered. There are other approaches, many of which I’ve discovered people either aren’t aware of, or have never used …
~ Empowering methods ~ I’ve found that the majority of people know how to improve their emotional state temporarily by using food, alcohol, “retail therapy”, work, drugs, TV etc. These are coping methods and aren’t the healthiest choices, or sustainable … So what are some empowering choices?
Breathing is good! Conscious breathing using the diaphragm is powerful as it boosts our lymphatic and immune system. As the Chinese proverb says, “Partial breathing is partial living.” Daily meditation, tapping on the acupressure meridian points, moderate exercise and daily positive affirmations are all highly recommended.
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