Stress, what is it good for?

April is stress awareness month. Are you stressed?

We all feel stressed from time to time. Perhaps when we are busy or something unexpected happens. Stress is a state of physiological disturbance to your normal well-being, occurring due to environmental (external) factors. One way to look at stress is when the demands on you are greater than the personal resources you have. Perhaps, not enough time, information or money. Typical signs of stress include increased blood pressure, insomnia and irritability.

Some stress is not necessarily a bad thing and triggers responses in us to help deal with the situation we are in. When we are stressed, we release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which prepares the body for physical action – fight or flight. This reaction also causes physical changes such as blood supply being diverted to certain muscle groups and shutting down some secondary bodily functions such as digestion. These hormones provide us with a boost of energy to help us fight the danger or run away. This response is probably of more use to a caveman confronted with a dangerous animal, but it also has a place in the modern world. This response will be triggered by any stressful situation.

But, long term, unresolved, stress is not healthy and can have damaging effects on the body.  Raised cortisol levels can caused increase in blood sugar and blood pressure levels as well as a decrease in libido. Ultimately, if left untreated or unresolved, it can result in breakdown or even suicide. The problem comes when your body goes into a state of stress when it’s not appropriate or when this response is unnecessary. If you are stressed by a tight deadline, being ready to run or fight is not helpful. Also when blood flow is diverted to the most important muscles needed to fight or flee, brain function is impaired. This mean you can’t ‘think straight’ and this leads to poor decision making. A state that is not ideal in either our work or home lives.

Everyone experiences stress in different ways. For some it might be headaches or an eczema flare up. For others perhaps a change in personality such as being short tempered or impatient. Stress can also affect the immune system making us more likely to become ill.

Some stress is unavoidable, but managing it is the key. It critical that we recognise when we have too much demanded of us. Then we can take action to prevent ourselves from becoming overwhelmed – say ‘no’, delegate, prioritise or ask for help.

Hypnotherapy can help is a range of techniques including relaxation, mindfulness, boosting self-esteem and positive affirmation. These will help you to develop effective coping strategies for when you are stressed and ensure you remain focused and effective to resolve the stressful situation.

To find out more about Stress Awareness Month, click here

To find out more about how I can help you manage your stress then click here.  

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