Understanding Stress

Understanding StressStressed out?  Pressure, anxiety, irritability, tension…Studies show that stress is related to a wide variety of illnesses.  The truth is, our bodies are well equipped to deal with stress.  After all, without stress we wouldn’t survive or grow.  It is usually the mismanagement of stress that causes the real dangers to our health.

Understanding Stress

Like thermostats, our bodies constantly react to the demands of our lives.  By adjusting, the body the body maintains a state known as homeostasis, sustaining all it’s functions normally.
Stress is categorized as primary stressors (conditions or situations, like losing your job) and secondary stressors (reactive emotions or behaviors, like worry or depression.)
The body reacts to stressors with muscular tension, increased heart rate, perspiration, and increased hormonal and adrenal output.  These changes allow your body and mind to respond quickly to the needs of a stress situation.  Normally, these conditions are temporary. However, mismanagement of secondary stressors can prolong the physical effects caused by primary stressors.
Heavy smoking, under or overeating, drug/alcohol use, too little sleep, too much caffeine…these are some of the ways people deal with anxiety.  These behaviors compound and perpetuate the physical effects of stress, and are especially bad when added to physical stress from pain syndromes such as chronic posture distortions.

Effective stress-reduction techniques include  massage, relaxation tapes, bio-feedback, meditation and exercise programs.  Unfortunately, when experiencing stress, people fail to use these techniques because they perceive them as time and energy consuming.
Physically, massage assists the body in returning to homeostasis by releasing muscle tension, allowing the body to circulate blood more freely.  Increased circulation nourishes cells while removing stored-up toxins and waste from tissues.


Mind Over Matter

By changing your perception of the stresses in your life, you may be able to relieve feelings of pressure and tension–and manage stress better!
We experience stress when we feel threatened in some way.  Psychologically, pressure and change can seem to endanger our security and well-being.  Instinctively, we fight for survival…physically and mentally.
Your mind and body are inseparable. (? Coaching or a challenge?) can relieve pressure and profoundly influence the way your body responds to stress.

Self-esteem is a vital tool to managing stress.  Regularly remind yourself that you are capable and that circumstances in your life are passing events.
Acknowledge yourself for what you do well and for what you give to others.
Shift you focus to your strengths.
View the challenges in your life as games that you will win and be rewarded for.
See changes as opportunities to grow, gain coping skills and learn lessons.

By maintaining your perspective, you may relieve much of the overwhelming feelings and anxiety that accompany stress–enabling you to tackle situations with enthusiasm.  In short,  you will have more fun!