Useful information about stress
Stress is a normal and natural response to change. An appropriate amount of stress can be useful to help motivate you to act and get things done. Too much stress can be harmful to you.
In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors.
External factors include the physical environment, such as your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you're confronted with on a daily basis.
Internal factors determine your body's ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get. It is always worth checking that your basic needs are being met appropriately if you are feeling stressed.
Both stress and nerves rely on a neurological and physiological response to something real (or happening now) such as
- I am being mugged
- I am being given a really hard time in the meeting by the attendees
- I am being chased by the vicious dog
or imagined (and may never happen!) such as
- What happens if I mess up my driving test?
- What happens if I get a hard time in the meeting?
- What happens if I walk past that dog and it chases me?
Examples of stress and nerves related issues I have worked with?
Some examples of issues that I have helped clients with are
- I have got an exam coming up and I am really nervous and worried about it
- I have got a driving test coming up and I am afraid that I will be too nervous in the car on the day and mess up
- I have got too much on at work, too much on at home and I can't cope. I'm stressed
- I have one more chance to qualify for a place in a semi-professional football team, but every time I get on the field, I seem to freeze. This never used to be the case
The following issues are examples of what can be effectively helped using the Human Givens Approach
- Fear of writing exams, exam nerves
- Fear of performing in meetings, meeting nerves
- Fear of doing my driving test, driving test nerves
- Public speaking nerves
- Flying nerves
- Pre-birth nerves
- Performance nerves or anxiety
- Learning to cope with stress at work
- Learning to cope with stress at home
- Learning to be more relaxed around people
- Learning to be more relaxed around certain situations
- Learning to cope better in times of crisis, such as relationship or marriage stress
- Learning to deal with bereavement or loss of a loved one
- Learning to deal with times of change at work (eg. organisational restructure)
- Learning to deal with times of change at home (eg. moving house)
Stress and the link to fear and anxiety
Stress can also be thought of as a state that arises when the demands placed on the individual are perceived to exceed (or threaten to exceed) their ability to cope. This can result in a range of issues including headaches, migraines, insomnia, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and skin complaints. Long term stress can lead to increased risk of major illnesses, bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and anxiety disorders.
Stress is actually an adaptive response which is designed to you cope with a short term emergency. We are all born with the fight or flight response which is there to keep us alive. Unfortunately, in this day and age, what may be perceived by the response as a deadly threat, may not be (e.g. public speaking, financial instability), but neurologically and physiologically the response is behaving as if it is. You could say, it means well but doesn't always get it right. Most of the physiological responses will be very familiar to you, and include
- Loss of appetite and dry mouth
- Reduced immune response (ever notice that you seem to get more colds when you are "stressed")
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Reduction in production of growth hormones
In the long term, these can lead to high blood pressure and some of the longer term illnesses described earlier.
These days the word "stress" is used to cover a wide range of human experiences. Stress triggers include the smaller things like "I'm stressed because I woke up late this morning" through to the more significant "Since my partner died, I have been permanently stressed". Think about how many times you hear people in your place of work saying "I'm stressed", often without even saying what they are stressed about. It has almost become a permament condition for some people.
The stress response generally takes two forms within a person
- Fear - the response to something that is actually happening to you right now ("I am being mugged")
- Anxiety - the response to something imagined and anticipated to happen in the future (even though it may never happen). This is normally the stuff you worry about, think about or even make up in your head (What if scenarios -"What if I mess up in the meeting"). In some cases the anxiety can be as a result of a traumatic incident that happened to you in the past and you feel like you are still experiencing it as if it were happening now.
The key antidote to stress is relaxation in its many forms including slow breathing, yoga, self-hypnosis, reiki, meditation, sport, excercise, healthy diets or anything that is enjoyable to the person. Hypnosis tracks can help you relax effectively, and I can recommend this one which many of my clients have found beneficial
A pleasant hypnosis audio track to help the listener unwind at the end of the day. It helps you release any worries or stresses and feel positive about upcoming concerns.
Professionally recorded, and using the latest techniques, this product uses double induction to deepen the level of the trance.
Download this now for £8.97 and in 10 minutes you could be kicking your shoes off and enjoying a wonderful relaxing mental massage!
Order the CD version of this product for just £11.99
That said, there are people who are currently not able to effectively control their response to some of the triggers causing their stress (such as excessive worrying, feeling stressed about a person, people or situation). In this case a good therapist can help you to learn to respond more appropriately to these triggers.
If you are feeling stressed, it is important to check that your basic needs are being met appropriately.
Please note: Before undertaking any therapy, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are on any medication for chronic pain, anxiety or depression.