Stress creeps up on us all. We don’t actively choose to be stressed. Most of us don’t even realise how much of it has become part of our lives. Stress is a perception of a real or imagined threat, and we are kicked into the fight-or-flight response. This is a normal response to stressful situations , requiring us to adjust and change. So stress isn’t all bad. But when the balance tilts the wrong way, then suddenly it can become hard to function, at home, at work, or in social situations. And it can be brought upon by different kinds of trauma at any stage in life.
Anxiety, which, according to the Harvard Medical School, is one of the spin offs of stress, and affects more than 40 million people . It is very real to those of us affected by it. People often describe it as feeling completely stuck in a situation. Whether it’s a problem with work and meeting deadlines, a relationship that seems to be getting nowhere, no matter how hard we try; or trying to juggle a career, mortgage payments and starting a family. Even the smallest problems then can become overwhelming
When it becomes part of our way of being in the everyday sense, we begin to see the signs. Our hearts start pounding faster, we get palpitations, headaches and sweaty palms. We become upset easily, suffer from low self esteem and even the smallest problem becomes insurmountable. We feel tired all the time and sleep badly.We find it very hard to get up in the morning, hate Mondays with a vengeance and spend a lot of time sitting around. Bills and letters remain unopened and the house is in a continual state of clutter, and we are unable to work productively. We dread making phone calls and feel worried most of the time. This can be accompanied by a continual knot in our stomachs and panic attacks. Depression, headaches, phobias and stomach problems can also come into play. One or all of these symptoms can affect our daily lives. There is no shame in being like this. But we have to ask ourselves, are we living or just existing?
Even some celebrities have been open about their stress and anxiety problems . Johnny Depp’s struggle with panic disorders are well known and his old girlfriend Kate Moss, revealed in an interview that she has been dealing with the same problem for years. Who would thought that Adele, not only suffered from panic attacks but social phobia. Oprah Winfrey spoke about what happened to her on the set of the film The Butler. ” In the beginning it was just sort of speedy and a kind of numbness and going from one thing to the next thing. I will tell you when I realised that I thought ‘All right, if I don’t calm down I’m going to be in serious trouble. I was in the middle of doing voiceovers you know. And I remember closing my eyes in between each page because looking at the page and the words at the same time was too much stimulation for my brain.”
Life doesn’t have to be like this, it is possible to turn things around and make change happen. Good news! According to Harvard Medical Faculty “…each of us has a resiliency tool box into which we can add various tools and techniques for handling stressful events. ” They assure us that we have tremendous power to sharpen our resiliency tools .. “and expand your coping repertoire.” Here are some simple tips I have for you to help to bring about that change: I will have more in my next blog and go into more detail.
Five tips for November
- Sit quietly in a chair and concentrate on your in and out breath for about five minutes to start with and build up to 15.
- Take regular exercise.
- Eat healthy foods and avoid caffeine.
- Don’t skip meals and eat slowly.
- Make time to connect with others. Join a group.
Change is easier than you think. I’m always happy to talk:
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