We have all experienced stress at some point in our lives. Stress is part of our survival mechanism and without it we wouldn’t be here. It triggers our senses to alert us to what is dangerous and what isn’t, when we need to stay and fight and when we need to run like the clappers.
Despite what some may think, stress isn’t a bad thing. It drives us and gives us the adrenalin surge that we need. Our Olympic athletes needed an adrenalin surge when on the starting line for the 500 meters just as much as a sales manager may need it to meet their monthly sales target. It’s when stress becomes a resident and moves in that problems start to occur.
Yet why is it that one person can appear as cool as a cucumber in the face of stress and another can lose their head? Stress is based on perception, so what one person perceives as stressful, another may not. It is because of this fact that how to deal with stress can be very manageable.
Stress is also known as the ‘fight and flight’ response and when triggered a rapid number of bodily changes take place. All major organs not required in the moment shut down including the immune and digestive system; the body floods with cortisol, the stress hormone; the adrenal glands go into over drive and the body gets ready to fight or take flight. Together with this, the thinking brain shuts down and all bodily responses become primordial.
What does this mean for you? When the thinking brain shuts down you are incapable of taking in any information; you may struggle to process words and the meaning of them and as for creative thinking, well forget it. Your body can’t function, you can’t digest food properly, fight off illness and your mind is on constant high alert.
Stress works on a continuum and 80% of the clients I see as a therapist have some form of stress related disorder, proving just how apparent stress is in today’s world.
How to spot the signs of stress
Stress has many guises and to some people it may not even be apparent that they are stressed accepting it instead as a way of life, but there are some key signs you can look for to indicate you are stressed;
How to deal with stress
One of the key interventions to overcoming stress is to calm down and focus your mind which will be on overdrive. A simple way of doing this is to do some 7/11 breathing.
Breathing in for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11 triggers the parasympathetic side of the nervous system, which is also the relaxation response. Imagine your stomach is a balloon and as you breathe in for the count of 7 fill your stomach with air and as you breathe out for the count of 11 let your stomach deflate. Do this approximately 7 – 10 times notice just how much calmer you feel afterwards.
It is important to remember that stress is normal. It is a subconscious response based on your bodies own survival mechanism and it doesn’t mean that you are not capable of managing your life or work.
Our ability to deal with stress comes from our spare capacity. We can create more spare capacity by taking time out on a regular basis to relax. When we do this we create space in the mind and body allowing us to deal with situations calmly and rationally, to think clearly, to tune into our instincts and to remain in control of our emotions.
A few sessions of hypnotherapy can help you get back to yourself, teaching you some powerful and effective techniques to stop stress in it’s tracks and put you back in control.