Stress is probably at the heart of most problems you may experience throughout your life and includes a very large range of symptoms. It is not possible to eliminate stress, but we certainly can learn to manage it without resorting to medication. The symptoms of stress are the feeling of being overwhelmed, being under pressure, or a feeling of being compelled to perform a certain way. It is generated by our interpretation of a situation. For example, you may be under pressure to meet deadlines at work, whereas your colleague, an easygoing type, is not. External circumstances and your environment can both cause stress, but the worst type of stress is the type we put on ourselves. It is the most damaging.
People also tend to absorb stress that is felt by those who are close to them, making the problems even worse for themselves. This is not good. Studies have suggested that the reaction to high levels of sustained stress are... Increased blood pressure, an increase of adrenaline and combined with other changes can make you more susceptible to things like heart disorders and disease. You can also find yourself depressed, irritable, despairing or on edge. You may also find that you can't sleep, concentrate, or remember things, and you may even get headaches.
The hypothalamus gland in the brain is stimulated by stress, this then acts on all the other glands in the body. The hypothalamus, also sends messages to the pituitary gland, which in turn sends chemical messages to the nervous system and the adrenal glands which says that something is not right and needs urgent attention. The adrenal glands produce stress hormones, which can severely tax the body's resources and the mind's ability to cope. Over a period of time these killer substances continue to be produced. This can cause chronic ailments such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, a reduced immune system, depression, allergies and other such nasties.
stress is a part of everyday life and therefore is usually impossible to avoid,
however it can be brought under control and managed in a systematic and positive
How do we learn to cope with stress? Well, you have to learn how to relax. However you are fooling yourself if your idea of relaxing is watching TV, going out to dinner, or playing golf. These things may be fun, but they aren't teaching your mind the key to unlock the various locks that are holding you to these stresses.
Relaxation, although at the time may seem difficult to achieve
is a big key towards achieving this. It causes a changing of the Alpha and Beta
brain patterns by using functions that involve concentration, centering and focus.
If you are under a lot of pressure, or if you're ill, maybe possibly travelling
a lot, or unduly worried about something, you may notice that you are not functioning
as you would normally do. Relationships can suffer, you may also be distracted
at work or be short tempered with people, and even lose your sex drive for no
apparent reason. You can begin to feel that life is unfair and that you're not
good enough to make it. All of these feelings of lowered self-esteem can lead
to depression, which also tends to form a vicious circle making the situation
seem even worse.
Happy incidents and thoughts like being in love, or having a baby, also produce stress, but this a good type of stress, which is challenging and strengthens us mentally, physically, and spiritually. The other side of stress is distress, normally beyond the ability of the individual person to cope with, or adapt to. This is the main cause of diseases.
The good news is that there's a lot you can do to relieve stress. Relaxation can help considerably. Take a moment to relax. Stress is most damaging if it is continually on going. Even if you can get only just a few moments of relaxation it can help to alleviate the situation considerably. There are several methods to help you to do this which can all be learned very quickly and self taught. One such method is described later in this page.
If you're at work and start feeling stressed, take a little break. Get up and stretch or talk to another worker for a couple of minutes or so. If you're home take a break in a quiet room. Try and give yourself a longer break at least once every day. At work, talk to your boss. They may have no idea that you're workload may be excessive, or that your job entails you to spend an extra hour every day trying to figure out what's needed. Consult colleagues to find out if they've had or handled a similar situation. You will feel better for having spoken up and that will make you feel a whole lot better about the situation. When at home, talk to your partner. In relationships lack of communication is often a source of stress. If you have concerns about your job, your kids or your partner, mention them.
Try this method of relaxation.
This is not dangerous, nor is it a form of self-hypnosis, you are in full control the whole of the time, as is your subconscious. Should anything happen to disturb you during this time you will be immediately awaken and be fully aware and responsive as normal.
Doing this every day will improve your technique and amount of relaxation you experience each time.
Learn this off by heart, then sit or lie down, whichever you
prefer. Close your eyes. Try and ignore any distractions that you cannot control.
Get comfortable and relax the body. Take as long as you like between each step,
but give yourself at least a few seconds between each step. Keep your hands apart,
put them by your side, do not clench your fists or grasp anything. Totally relax
your legs and feet. Then close your eyes and say to yourself I am totally relaxed.
Now starting at the bottom of your body concentrate on your feet
and say to yourself out loud,
"My feet and toes are relaxed", and repeat, "my feet and toes are relaxed".
Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on.
Now say to yourself, "my legs and knees are relaxed", and repeat, "my legs and knees are relaxed".
Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on. Now say to yourself, "my thighs and my bottom are relaxed", and repeat, "my thighs and my bottom are relaxed".
Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on. Feel the gentle pressure of the chair or bed on your body. Now say to yourself, "my back and my stomach are relaxed", and repeat, "my back and my stomach are relaxed". Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on.
Now say to yourself, "my shoulders and arms are relaxed", and repeat, "my shoulders and arms are relaxed". Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on.
Now say to yourself, "my wrists and my hands are relaxed", and repeat, "my wrists and my hands are relaxed". Feel that they are now relaxed, and then move on.
Now say to yourself, "my neck and my head are relaxed", and repeat, "my neck and my head are relaxed". Feel that they are now relaxed.
Now pause for a little while and imagine a set of 10 steps going downwards. At the bottom of the steps is a nice place, one of your favourite places. It can be anywhere you really like, a favourite place in a forest, or a favourite beach for example. Think of your place and now starting at the top of the steps, you are going to walk down the steps counting slowly as you go from one to ten. .... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. and there you are in this nice, peaceful place. You can stay here for as long as you like.
Whenever you are ready to go back, go to the
bottom of the steps and slowly as you walk up them count again from one to ten.
.... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. and there you are back at the top again.
Now pause for a little while and then slowly open your eyes.
You will be wide-awake, relaxed and refreshed and peaceful, and aware of everything around you.
For times when the neck muscles are tense to the stage of creating a headache, this will relieve the nerve stress. Either sitting or standing let your head and neck completely relax and flop forward. Then slowly roll your head to the right until it just hangs backwards, allowing it to just flop. Then bring it back the same way until it is loosely hanging forward. Now repeat but turning to the left. You will hear the sinews cracking loudly as they unwind. Do this simple exercise about six or seven times whenever you feel stress coming on.
Lots of people find this is very helpful. For some things though it is advisable to consult an expert on the subject and / or even your Doctor, particularly if you have any ongoing medical problem or, are on medication of any description or, going through pregnancy.
of the alternatives you may like to try are listed here.
Aromatherapy. Herbal medicine. Homeopathy. Meditation. Negative ion therapy. Nutrition. Supplementation.
This can be very beneficial to a lot of people particularly as regards to stress. Various fragrances have been found to help, amongst them are...
For general relaxation. Sandalwood, Ti-tree.
For anxiety and depression. Bergamot, Geranium, Jasmine,Yang-Ylang.
For general fatigue. Orange, Peppermint.
For agitation, general calming. Mandarin, Roman chamomile, Neroli, Patchouli.
Increased concentration. Burning Frankincense is highly beneficial.
Amongst many found useful are...
Feverfew, Ginseng, Passion flower, Vervain,
Amongst many found useful are...
Aconite, Arsenicum, Calcarea, Ignatia, Lycopodium, Natrum mur, Phosphorus.
Negative Ion therapy.
has been seen to be very beneficial. The theory involves an increase in negative
Ions in the atmosphere, these occur naturally and its called Ozone as in the Ozone
layer. Natural increases in Ozone can be achieved by visiting say for example
the seaside or a valley forest. In inner cities or polluted areas the quantity
of negative Ions is reduced. Negative Ion generators or "Ionizers" are generally
available in several forms commercially, usually with names that refer to air
freshening in general such as "mountain breeze" "fresh air" ect.
They operate electronically by producing negative ions from a high voltage and discharge them into the atmosphere. As well as small household units they are also available for use in cars.
Nutrition & Supplementation.
It is important for everybody to have a balanced and varied diet. Eating properly is vital for general body health and well-being. Essential vitamins and minerals are vital to health and well being of the human body. Due to several reasons there can be a shortage of these, which may cause problems.
Supplements are available in several forms to correct any imbalance, it is however advisable not to overdose on any particular one as in large quantities they can become toxic with detrimental effect. A little too much is however better than not enough. The correct balance of the following is of great importance depending on age and body weight with children requiring only about one third of that required by adults.
Folic acid, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin A, Thiamin (B1), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6),Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12,Vitamin C, Vitamin E.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
Stress can contribute to serious health problems, heart disease and alcohol abuse to mention just two. Don't be afraid to talk to your GP if you experience stress-related symptoms such as:
Dizzy spells. Severe headaches. Chronic back or neck pain. Racing pulse. Anxiety. Depression. If you intend to alter your nutritional levels by supplementing daily, it is a good idea to consult your Doctor or Physician or a qualified nutritionist, particularly if you have a specific mental or emotional condition.
There are groups that provide positive support for anyone going through difficult periods and make it possible to lean on others. Being a member of a group means that you are not alone and also means that you have access to help and advise. Several of these groups may be found on the Internet.
These web site links are listed as a convenience to our visitors. If you use these links, we take no responsibility and give no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of these third-party sites.
© Disability UK - Richmond - UK Established 1997.