Stress has been a vital evolutionary
strategy that has helped us survive. However, in the modern world it
all too often manifests itself inappropriately. We often talk of the
stresses of modern life, perhaps a recognition that our lives might not
be in balance.
Under stress our
bodies release chemical messengers such as adrenaline and cortisol, as
in the "fight/flight/freeze" response.
We react as if under threat, even if it is running late for a meeting,
or dealing with financial problems. We experience symptoms such as
rapid heart rate and breathing, sweating and dry mouth as our bodies prepare
for optimum performance. Our heart is pumping blood to our extremities
in preparation for physical activity, but also pushing more blood from
the areas of our brains that govern cognitive function to the areas
governing physical activity. Yes, under stress we become a little more
Long term stress can have debilitating effects and
can compromise our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to illness.
We can look at your lifestyle, identify your stressors and work out the optimum
way to reduce your stress and manage it more effectively.
Here are a few ideas for reducing stress:
Take an objective look at your
lifestyle, how healthy and balanced is it?
Join a class such as yoga, tai
chi, chi gung or meditation. Exercise can help too.
Have you tried a floatation
tank? Not for the claustrophobic, but very relaxing for some.
Do you have
enough “me time” built into your routine?
How much time do you
spend doing things that really give you pleasure?
Every hour or so, take
a few moments to check yourself. How am I feeling, how tense is my body?
to spend a few minutes each day in a quiet space, without the constant
stream of stimulation that is all around us. In other words, get to know
We have 24 hour news, papers, radio, internet, even news sent
to our mobiles. Have you considered reducing your exposure?
Identify your main stress triggers, make changes or learn good coping strategies
such as EFT, breathing techniques, mindfulness or self hypnosis.
Catching stress early and having ways to
manage it are crucial. Learn to recognise the signs, such as:
Low sex drive
Increased emotional responses
Increased alcohol or substance use
Negative feelings/low mood
Prevention is better than cure!