Understanding stress – Day 3, week 1

Let’s try to understand stress a little better because it will help us to tackle it and to improve our well-being immensely.

Although the Tigers are long gone, the physical threat to our lives has been replaced with the modern-day stress of long work hours, financial worries, relationship issues, family problems, and trying to juggle far too many things at once.

Stress often gets talked about, and most people think they know what it is and what it is like to be stressed. But sometimes its effects can be masked or hidden, and not everybody who is showing the signs and symptoms of stress recognizes them for what they are.

For instance, we might not link an upset stomach, asthma attack, fast shallow breathing, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, trouble relaxing, a constantly busy mind, recurrent colds and flu, and many other chronic health conditions, to the effects of stress.

Whereas small amounts of stress can be beneficial in motivating us or helping us to get a task done – chronic or long-term stress is a whole different story. It is therefore important that we start recognizing when we are stressed, and what stresses us so that we can start making changes.

Just as the Tiger was causing us a fight or flight response, nowadays many other situations have that same effect on us.  How do you feel when: – you’re at work… around your boss… in a traffic jam… with your children when they’re fighting or whining… having a never-ending ‘To Do’ list… being around a particular family member??

Our minds and bodies don’t make that distinction between a perceived threat and a real one. Our highly evolved survival response kicks in and wants to either, attack, run away, or freeze with fear. Our muscles tighten, the adrenals release adrenalin, nor-adrenalin, and cortisol into the body, our heart rate rises etc.

Our bodies can only take a certain amount of stress. If we don’t start to look at life differently our perceived threats will increasingly take over, keeping our body in a state of constant stress – putting a huge additional loading on our heart, blood vessels, internal organs and adrenal glands.

Learn more about stress in today’s video and it includes some stress relief tips. We will talk about these more in detail in the weeks to come.

It’s no fun to do this alone, if you haven’t done yet, you could join the journey to well-being closed Facebook group here.

Best wishes,
Jamila