A small amount of stress is normal, it is when it gets out of hand that problems arise. To healthily cope with stress in today's society requires that you are able to recognise the following:
With the pressure of modern life, it is easy to fall into the trap of neglecting steps 2 and 3. That means only relieving the symptoms. It is important to identify and address the underlying causes of stress, or else the experience of stress will never go away. In fact the whole art of stress management is about learning how to control our responses to stress. We cannot remove stress or remove ourselves from all the sources of stress. But stress only becomes harmful when it is uncontrolled, so learning how to control or manage stress is all that we need to concern ourselves with anyway. I can help you to identify the causes and give you instructions on how to deal with it.
For example, suppose 'tiredness' is the cause of the stress, which is resulting in headaches. If you only address the symptoms, which could be by taking headache tables, the stress still remains but the headache will go. If, however, you restructure your time and demands so you don't get so tired, you won't suffer the headaches. I will help you to learn how to restructure your time and demands. Other symptoms can include:
Chronic stomach upsets, ulcers, bowel disorders, blood pressure, skin rashes, irregular breathing, impotency, insomnia, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome.
Sometimes your stress will remain hidden, and you are unaware of the effect it has on you. These hidden symptoms could include:
Behavioural symptoms are:
Leaving important things undone, panicking, allowing insufficient time to get to work or to appointments, talking too fast, arguing for the sake of arguing, losing your sense of humour, over reacting with emotional outbursts, suspicions, difficulty with decision making, memory loss, inability to concentrate, loss of discriminatory power, poor judgement, erratic or uncharacteristic behaviour.
The unconscious is so much wiser and more powerful than the conscious mind. The power of the unconscious mind can work, both for us and against us. The unconscious mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is believes is real.
An example, which proves this to be the case, occurred in 1964, when a man was found dead in a freezer. He had become trapped and his body revealed all the correct signs consistent with someone who had frozen to death. That’s what you’d expect after being locked inside a freezer, isn’t it?
It’s certainly what that man expected and it’s exactly what he told his unconscious mind to believe, because if he hadn’t he would have lived. The freezer wasn’t switched on and the temperature inside was well above freezing point.
Our unconscious mind holds all of our past experiences, all of our fantasies and all of our future possibilities. All of the things we might recognise are there as well as the things we are capable of having, as well as those we have already thought. The power of the unconscious mind can work for us with the correct training that can be provided for you.
Some stress is normal, however to maintain it over a period of time is bad for your body. At first our brains tell us to 'stop, take a break, you are doing too much'. But, often we don't listen to our own good advice and then the brain gets wise and says 'right oh! If you are going to ignore me then I'll make you stop'. It sends signals to our body and this produces illnesses to force us to stop. Stress stimulates chemical, physical and psychological changes. Allow me to teach you to build stress relieving moments to help you cope throughout the day, and deal with:
1. The nature and causes of stress. - The “fight or flight” response. The Physiology of stress
2. Stress response choices.
3. Sources of stress – personality, lifestyle, environmental and chemical
4. Recognising stress symptoms.
5. The nature and power of the unconscious mind.
6. Relaxation techniques.
7. Self Hypnosis
8. Goal setting.
9. The role of diet and exercise in stress control
In primitive times, a constant stream of life threatening dangers presented themselves and two responses were vitally important for survival. These were the response of flight and the response of fight. Hunting ferocious beasts one day and taking part in a bloody tribal battle the next, primitive man had to respond in either of these two ways if he was going to survive. Running for his life to escape an aggressor who was stronger, or fighting to overcome a lesser opponent. The choice was a simple one and totally appropriate to those times. Everyday we are faced with some sort of challenge – “out of the ordinary demands”, if you like. Because our autonomic system cannot differentiate between the various sources of arousal, being stuck in a 20th century traffic jam can produce exactly the same bodily responses as being chased by a woolly mammoth or sabre tooth tiger would have done in our ancestors. In other words, our primitive response mechanism still works in exactly the same way as it has always done whilst the responses themselves have become less and less appropriate
The personality factors are those which arise from our values, beliefs and behaviour patterns. Your value system is the deepest level of your personality, and from them beliefs are formed which in turn produce behaviour patterns. Trying to alter behaviour without understanding or changing your values and beliefs is doomed to failure. Real change comes from making changes at the deeper levels of your personality. For example low self esteem is formed from certain values and beliefs we hold about ourselves and our world and low self esteem produces stress. To tackle this source of stress we need to learn more about the underlying values and belief which are producing the loss of self esteem and where appropriate, reconstruct them. Stress management explores various techniques for doing this.
Lifestyle as a source of stress concerns the stressful events which are provoked by the way we live. Research by two American doctors, Holme and Rahe, produced a scale of life events, which were valued according to the amount of adjustment needed to cope with them.
Death of a spouse or child came out top, followed by divorce, separation and imprisonment. At the other end of the scale, the two doctors listed changes in eating habits, taking a vacation and even Christmas.
Environmental sources of stress are things like inadequate housing, unpleasant or unhealthy working conditions, crowded public transport and that sort of thing.
Chemical sources of stress are substances which act upon our central nervous system to produce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Many such substances are harmless or even beneficial when taken in relatively small doses. Examples are:
Caffeine: which is in coffee, coca cola and in tea, is a stimulant which boosts the output of stress hormones. Initially it will make you more alert but later, especially when consumed in large quantities, it will produce symptoms of irritability and cause sleeplessness.
Salt: which increases nervous tension.
Sugar: too much sugar can decrease blood sugar, causing fatigue and irritability.
Nicotine: far from being the relaxing drug smokers often claim it to be, nicotine is actually a stimulant which stimulates the adrenal glands, causing full stress response.
Alcohol: which is a depressant when taken in excess, although it relaxes when drunk in moderation.
Yes, I am interested in learning how to relieve my stress
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