Let’s Understand What is Stress ?
In any area of life, when you have a good definition of something, your understanding of that thing increases considerably. When your understanding increases, your ability to use the information increases.
So it is with stress. A good definition of stress would increase your understanding and your ability to handle stress.
Unfortunately, there’s plenty of confusion and inadequate definitions of stress floating around in society. Some sources even state that there really isn’t one specific definition that everyone agrees upon. Other sources vaguely define stress as some physiological reaction to environmental factors.
Neither of these concepts gives us a clear definition that we can understand and use to improve and manage the effects of stress on our mental and physical well-being.
There are two related definitions that will give us a clear concept of “stress” and will open the door to better handling. We’ll look at the basic definition of stress and the definition of a problem first.
The basic definition of “stress” is any opposing reaction or force to your own intention that causes strain or tension.
Similarly (but not the same), the definition of a problem is an opposing intention or force of some kind. Problems can be solved. A problem doesn’t necessarily cause stress or tension.
The main characteristic of a problem that becomes stressful is feeling like we can’t do anything about it. Not all problems are stressful when we feel that we can do something about them, no matter how much or how little.
So the full definition of stress is “a problem (or set of problems) that we do not feel that we can solve or do something effective to handle.”
In other words, you could say “I don’t feel like I can do anything about this problem” or “I feel stressed” and it would mean the same thing.
Take anything in your life that feels stressful to you. Apply this definition to it and see if it fits. Is it something you don’t have a real solution for?
Let’s look at it another way. Do you feel stressed by situations or problems that you have a good solution for? Probably not!
Each one of us has our own unique set of problems and our own unique ability to solve them. So the things that may be stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. But this definition of stress allows us to understand and handle stress in an effective way, regardless of the source.
Stress can be mental or physical or a combination of both. Most material on the subject of “stress” deals with mental stress. But prolonged physical stress is the main culprit that causes illnesses and disease. And that leads to even more stress, both mental and physical.
In my research and personal experience, lack of understanding about how the body works and what it requires to be healthy actually causes physical stress.
For example, if you don’t know (or have misinformation about) what kinds of food to eat to give your body strength and energy, you’ll most likely create physical stress when you don’t provide your body with what it needs. The body will be stressed in its effort to survive.
You might not be consciously aware of every single thing that is stressful to you at any given moment. But when you start to handle stress more effectively after you understand the definition of stress, your awareness of stress and how to better handle it will improve.
“Stress” can be handled… Your health, happiness and life truly depend on it!
Do You Know Stress Kills Us ?
Chronic stress is linked to heart attacks, stroke as well as life impairing diseases like diabetes. Besides these, stress can cause you headaches, eczema flare ups, insomnia, chronic aches and pains, weight gain around your waist, ulcers, indigestion, anxiety attacks and burn out. It also increases your bad cholesterol level and leads to an increased risk of heart disease.
Even if stress does not kill you, in affects your quality of life. Stress ages you more quickly too, leading you to an earlier grave.
You see, stress causes your body to produce more cortisol. The stress hormone, also known as the death hormone. As we grow older, growth hormones and other hormones decrease, while cortisol increases.
Cortisol increases your blood sugar levels. In a situation where you need to physically fight off or run from a threat, like a caveman confronted by an angry bear, that comes in useful as more energy is ready for your body to use. However, if blood sugar levels stay high due to elevated cortisol levels, you can develop diabetes as a result.
Likewise, when blood pressure increases and blood is directed away from non essential tasks like digestion, and heart beat rises, your body is better prepared to fight or flee from physical threats, however, if this is sustained in the long run, you’d end up with high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress also ages your rapidly. This article about 7 things that age you includes stress as one of the 7 aging factors.
Unfortunately, stress is part and parcel of life. Some people cope better with stress than others. Type A personality types, the go getters and perfectionists are most likely to be advesely affected by stress. They key thing is this. After a stressful event, your body needs to wind down. You need to let the cortisol levels subside, for your metabolism to return to normal, for the non essential systems like your digestive system to function normally, for your heart rate to lower to its normal rate, in order to stay healthy in the long run.
In other words, you need to relax.
Take a break. Not by partying. Give yourself some time out. Read a book. Rest by the beach. Stare out into the horizon. Just do nothing.
Article Source: http://goarticles.com/article/How-Stress-Kills-You/2295548/
III. WHO: The Magnitude of the Problem :
1) 75-85% of Patients visit Primary care Physicians for Stress-related Problems
2) 75-85% of all Health-related Problems are due to Stress
3) Maximum absenteeism on any working day is due to Stress
IV. What happens in Acute Stress?
The Fight or Flight Response
1) Adrenaline, Nor- adrenaline & other Stress Hormones released to Circulation
2) Breathing becomes faster to supply oxygen to all Organs
3) Pupils dilate and vision becomes bright
4) Muscles become tense- Ready for action
5) Body becomes more active- Ready to fight and face the challenge, threats or danger
V. Stress affects all Major Body Systems
VI. When Under Stress;
1) Increased Heart rate & BP
2) Increased Respiration
3) Increased Blood Glucose, Lactate& Cholesterol
4) Increased Body Metabolism
5) Increased Muscle tension & Physical activity
6) Increased Anxiety & Tension
7) Brain, Mind & Body Overactive
VII. What is Relaxation Response?
The Relaxation Response Is the opposite of Fight or Flight Response. A State of deep Physical & Mental rest.
1) Decreased Heart rate & BP
2) Decreased Respiration
3) Decreased Blood Glucose, Lactate& Cholesterol
4) Decreased Body Metabolism
5) Decreased Muscle tension & Physical activity
6) Decreased Anxiety & Tension
7) Brain, Mind & Body Relaxed
VIII. CAUSES OF STRESS
1) Major Life Events
2) Family Problems
3) Daily Hassles
4) Work & Work Place Problems
5) Environmental Causes
6) Social Interactions, Communal, Current Terror & Violence
7) Mind Setup & Mind Traps
8) Uncertain Future & Unrealistic Expectations
9) Modernization, Globalization & Other Life Style Problems
IX. An Overview of the Causes of Stress
A. Causes at home
1) Death in family, near relatives or friend
2) Injury or illness of any family member
3) Marriage of self or other family members
4) Divorce or other marital problems
5) Pregnancy or birth of a new baby
6) Children’s behavior, hyperactivity & School problems
7) Conflicts with spouse, family members & others
8) Change of residence, place, city, state or country
9) Financial problems
10) Unforeseen & other emergency situations
B. Causes at work place
1) Meeting the demands of the job
2) Relationship with colleagues
3) Training & Controlling the staff
4) Excessive work pressure, deadlines & targets
5) Over time, overload & working on holidays
6) Argument with co-workers, boss& management
7) Frequent change of assignments & job
8) Harassment from Superiors
9) Unhealthy environment & working conditions
10) Sexual molestation
C. Other Cause
1) Daily hassles like traffic jams, break downs & the like
2) Academic changes, work place changes
3) Lifestyle behaviors such as overeating & drinking
4) Social interaction with pessimistic people
5) Mental traps & unrealistic expectations
6) TV, films, computer games & wasting time
7) Unnecessary fear, worry & hurry
8) Social, political & religious activities
9) Various other threats
10) Violation of law
X. Stress in Students
1) Time Management
2) Thinking about the Future
3) Financial Problems
4) Addictions & Substance Abuse
5) Sexual Harassment
6) Love & Marriage Problems
7) Social Problems
8) Political Problems
9) Religious conflicts
10) Food & Accommodation
11) Mental Problems
12) Health and Illness
13) Family problems
14) Academic Problems
XI. Modern Executive Stress
1) Waking up late
2) Trapped in Traffic
3) Administrative& Staff Problems
5) Work over load
6) Time management
7) Targets & Dead lines
8) Financial Problems
9) Frequent phone calls & E-mail alerts
10) Emergency meetings
11) Urgent situations
12) Public Pressures
13) Staff & Trade union strikes
14) Untimely food
15) Personal Health problems
16) Children’s School & College Problems
17) Social clubs
18) Late at home
19) Sinking Parents
20) Grumbling wife
21) Pending Files & Late night
22) Worry, Hurry, Anxiety &Tension
23) Sleeping pills, A peg or two
24) Incomplete & insufficient sleep
XII. Symptoms of Stress
A. Physical Symptoms
3) Chest pain/Tightness
4) Shortness of breath
7) Sleep disturbance
8) Frequent colds/Flu
10) Loss of appetite
12) Coronary heart disease
13) Migraine, tension headache
15) Asthmatic conditions
16) Chronic backaches
19) Skin disorders
21) Sexual dysfunctions
22) Bowel alterations
23) Stomach distress
24) Dry mouth
29) Muscle tension
30) Generalized aches and pains
B. Mental & Emotional Symptoms
You might feel:
18) Negative attitude/thoughts
24) Feelings of unreality
25) Urge to run
26) Unable to concentrate
28) Decision making- both major & minor- becomes difficult
29) Excessive daydreaming about “getting away from it all”
30) Use of sleeping pills
31) Sudden outbursts of temper or hostility
32) Forgetfulness regarding appointments, dates, deadlines
33) Frequent spells of brooding and a feeling of inadequacy
34) Reversals in usual behavior
35) Mental attitudes generally negative
36) Mental lethargy
37) Rarely develop new ideas
38) Difficulty in concentration
40) Make negative self-statements
XIII. Let us understand how we Experience Stress in our daily life
XIV. Try to answer the following :- See the Questionnaire
XV. Are You Under Stress?
1) If your answer is YES up to 3 Mild (Carrying)
2) If your answer is YES up to 3-7 Moderate (Under)
3) If your answer is YES above 7 Severe (Suffering from)
XVI. Reflections of Stress in daily Life
1) Inefficient & Reduced Productivity
2) Unhealthy Life Styles & Addictions
3) Behavioral Problems & Broken Relationships
4) Unnecessary Anxiety, Tension & Worries
5) Unhappy Life & Unwanted Situations
6) Shattered Mind Body Balance
7) Problems in Health & Wellbeing
XVII. Should we kill ourselves? If not, let us manage our stress
XVIII. Understanding & Managing Stress
The Ten Commandments;
1. Thou shalt regularly do those things that are most enjoyable to thee without harming others or self.
2. Thou shalt take time to physically relax or meditate daily.
3. Thou shalt exercise aerobically 3-5 times each week.
4. Thou shalt sleep 7-8 hours each night.
5. Thou shalt not take thyself so seriously.
6. Thou shalt grant yourself the right to make mistakes.
7. Thou shalt share your feelings each day.
8. Thou shalt eat a healthy, balanced diet.
9. Thou shalt do the important things first.
10. Thou shalt respect and express your own opinions.
XIX. Managing Stress Effectively
1. Manage Time & Resources effectively
2. Accept Success & Failures equally
3. Nurture effective Academic & Career Options
4. Avoid Negative & Distressing Situations
5. Gain Insight into our Vision & Wisdom
6. Involve in result oriented Actions & be flexible
7. Never give unnecessary promises to any body
8. Give-up the attraction for illusory Comforts
9. Start improving Self respect & Self esteem
10. Think in the Right, Straight & Positive way
11. Read good, Motivating & Inspiring books
12. Experience & Enjoy a healthy Love life
13. Seek advice & guidance whenever necessary
14. Say “Sorry”, accepting your Defects & Defaults
15. Exercise & engage in Health-promoting actions
16. Forgive yourself & others & respect their feelings
17. Foster to develop Personal & Motivating Skills
18. Enjoy the Nature & the beauty of the World
19. Communicate Efficiently & Effectively
20. Take responsibilities for your Words & Actions
21. In times of need get Help from any source
22. Value the value of Family, Friends & Society
23. Experience the Enjoyment of being alone
24. Learn to develop a “Let go” attitude in Life
25. Yes, Now Let us manage our Stress effectively by Practising the Relaxation Response Regularly
XX. Let us clean our Mind & Body by Practising the Relaxation Response daily
XXI. Let us learn to practise The Relaxation Response
XXII. The Minimum Requirements
1) A Quiet Environment
2) A Comfortable Position
3) A Relaxed Body
XXIII. Follow the following simple Steps
1) Sit comfortably
2) Close our eyes
3) Relax our body
4) Continue for 10 to 15 minutes
5) Open our Eyes gently & Proceed to our routine work
XXIV. Success in Relaxation Response
1) Regularity in practice
2) A ‘Passive’ or ‘Let go’ attitude
3) Simple ‘Doing Nothing’ works wonders
XXV. The Frequency of Practice
1) Practise twice a day, preferably in the morning (just after waking up) and evening (before going to sleep)
2) It can also be practised when ever and where ever you find it feasible.
XXVI. “RELAXATION RESPONSE”
A Scientifically validated, proved, time-tested, very effective and simple technique, which can be practised by Any one, Any Time, Any Where Without any Stress & Strain, leading to a Stress free, Serene, Balanced, Harmonious & Happy Life.
XXVII. Take home message
Let us Experience and Enjoy a Stress free, Relaxed, Serene, Peaceful, Healthy, Harmonious, and Happy life by making it a habit to relax, by practising the Relaxation Response regularly to add years to our Life in the days to come.