Many solutions to tackling stress
Stress - a word of only six letters and it conjures up so much. Stress is simply a reaction that upsets our physical or mental balance. A reaction to what? A stressor. The stressor is most often initially external but it can be aggravated or eased by our internal response.
Stress triggers a range of physiological responses including the release of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline related to our fight and flight instincts. It also triggers an increased heartrate, faster breathing, higher blood pressure, diabetes and tension in the body
A certain amount of stress is part of life. The problem comes when it continues, becomes chronic and we lose our balance. The World Health Organisation calls stress the 'health epidemic of the 21st century'. It drives many chronic diseases.
Stressed people are less likely to exercise, eat healthily and they get less sleep. They are also less likely to lose weight successfully. When people are under chronic stress they are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol and drugs and over eat. Stress is the main cause of depression. It causes anxiety and disturbs our chakras.
When the burden of stress is too much, we become numb to avoid feeling. But when we stop the bad feeling we also stop feeling good. We lose our joy and we lose our connection.
Job stress is becoming increasingly problematic with 82 percent of people feeling increased stress in Ireland in the 2015 Mercer survey. In the UK in 2015-16, stress related sick leave accounted for 45 percent of working days lost due to ill-health. Stressed staff are also less engaged in work and less productive.
Why do we have this epidemic now and what can we do about it ?
Modern life has so many pressures and distractions which heighten stress. Changing work norms, email and social media mean people are often always on, at work and over-focussed on what is going on outside of them. Globalisation and working across timezones means there is pressure to be at peak performance levels throughout the day. To be healthy and happy in our daily lives we need to find ways of restoring balance and calming our mind and body at regular intervals.
If you are feeling stressed, the first thing to do is to deal with the stress, restore balance and then deal with the problem or series of problems you are stressed about. This is not avoidance but intelligent. Sometimes we take on too much. Sometimes it is better to say no. Sometimes, we need to change our thinking which enables us to change how we act and feel. As Einstein says-a problem cannot be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it. It is important we find a way of seeing things differently.
So if you are feeling stressed-take stock. Alleviate the stress response. Focussing on the breath is a very powerful way to restore balance. Relax your body. Go for a walk. Do something you enjoy. Laugh. Get a massage. Practice yoga. And when you are clear, analyse. What is causing me stress? What can I think, say or do? Speak to someone that can help you solve your problems.
It is so important to develop a resourceful way to respond to the regular stressors that are part of your life. This is why meditation is just so valuable as it enables us to clean our mind and helps us see things differently. It makes your mind strong, balanced and flexible. A balanced mind can create balance in the body more easily. Some people find cognitive Behavioural therapy very helpful. There are many solutions. The most important thing is to find one that works for you.