And breathe...

 

Stress Management

Perhaps the first thing to say is that, unlike pressure, stress is never good for you and never a positive thing. Stress creates unhealthy biological reactions, and prolonged stress can lead to both physical and mental health breakdowns.

Whether you currently believe that you work well under stress or are already uncomfortable with the level of stress you are currently under, it is essential that you do something about it.

Symptoms Check List

  • Increased irritability
  • Heightened sensitivity to criticism
  • Signs of tension i.e. nail biting
  • Difficulty getting to sleep/over sleeping
  • Drinking and smoking more
  • Indigestion/Weight issues
  • Loss of concentration
  • Fearful of the future
  • Depression
  • Muscle Pains
  • Panic attacks
  • Obsessions
  • Heart Palpitations with or without panic attacks
  • Dizziness or feeling faint with or without panic attacks
  • Feeling desperate

The most important thing to know is that all these symptoms can all be overcome, no matter what you are dealing with in life. What will your life be like when you become YOU again?

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What is Stress?

Stress in itself is not an illness. It is a response or reaction to excessive or prolonged pressure and challenges that can cause stress-related mental or physical ill health. Modern phenomenon, ‘being stressed’ is the result of one body system overworking. ‘Being stressed’ is simply the result of one system (the stress response) doing too much and the other system (natural relaxation) not being used enough. Lazurus defines stress as ‘a condition or feeling experienced when a person percieves that the demands placed on them exceed the resources the individual has available’

Our body’s stress response works like a car alarm. It is designed to keep us safe by alerting us to the presence of danger in our immediate environment. Instead of using a noise, our internal alarm system lets us know that something is wrong by creating changes in our neurochemistry. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) pumps extra cortisol and adrenaline into our heart, and extra blood and oxygen to our arms and legs for the ‘fight or flight’ reaction that allows us to challenge or escape danger.

We can’t live without it because it would be impractical and dangerous – like walking through the jungle without any fear signal in the presence of predatory animals. However, if the alarm goes off too often or too easily, not only do we stop paying attention to it, but it begins to have a negative impact on our health and our lives. It should be balanced by the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps you to ‘rest and digest’ – your blood pressure drops and the food in your system begins to digest.

This ‘natural relaxation’ is soft, calm feeling you get in your muscles when you have finished a heavy work out or vigorous movement. You feel a natural high caused by the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. It would be virtually impossible to function if that’s how you felt all the time, so both systems work together.

Key facts
You need to know about stress

Stress in itself is not an illness. It is a response or reaction to excessive or prolonged pressure and challenges that can cause stress-related mental or physical ill health.
5 million
Up to 5 million people in the UK feel “very” or “extremely” stressed by their work; and work-related stress costs British society about £3.7 billion every year. - From Carol Hymovitz article in WSJ Career Journal.
£100bn
Stress and chronic ill health in the workplace costs £100bn- Dame Carole Black, ISMA Conference
9.8 million
In 2009/2010 an estimated 9.8 million working days were lost through work-related stress. On average each person suffering from work-related stress took an estimated 22.6 days off - from HSE
85 percent
The New England Journal of Medicine went so far as to declare that "managing the long-term effects of the physiological responses to stress is critical to survival."Stress may contribute to 85 percent of all medical problems.
Becki Houlston life coach and healing dorset

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