About Stress - What is it?
Stress is a normal and natural biological response to a challenging situation of a physical and/or emotional nature. Many things can be perceived as stress; from walking down the road on your own to handing in a report to your boss. Most important, is how your brain perceives the situation and the level of threat/risk it poses. No matter who you are, or how much knowledge and experience you have, you can become very stressed and unwell.
It is well known that our brain is responsible for our physiology, movements, thoughts and emotions. When the brain perceives a stressful stimulation, it triggers the biological reactions that put the person experiencing the stress on danger-alert. This sets off the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). There follows, as a consequence, a complex sequence of reactions. This is explained on other pages.
The fight-or-flight response level of stress channels adrenaline, additional oxygen and nutrition to the body’s muscles and organs in order to prepare it to flee or fight. Lower priority is given to other body functions, such as:
- Immune system
- Blood flow to the skin
- Digestive system
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), needs to have time to bring the toxic cortisol levels down. When chronic stress develops, there is an overload of the short term response chemicals and the brain and body has to try and cope. This is known as the General Adaption Syndrome (GAS). One should make every effort to stop GAS occurring.
Most of us have our own concept what it feels like to be ‘stressed out’. Luckily, this is usually only a temporary state and we are able find time and space to 'let go' and relax. thus reducing stress levels. Nature tells us that that this type of stress is not harmful to us. Humans are strange creatures, in that we need a certain amount of this ‘good’ stress in our lives. If we don’t get it, we could find it to be a cause of ‘bad’ stress!
So what are these reactions?
Millions of commuters may think that driving in the rush hour or travelling on an overcrowded train is stressful. These situations could be triggers that cause an instinctive fight-or-flight reaction to save us when in potentially life-threatening situations (Remember humans are not designed to be driving cars in traffic jams or crushed up against strangers in a metal box). Massive changes occur in the brain and body due to hormones, adrenaline being the most well known, changing physiological reactions.
A healthy attitude to help combat stress is to realise that we can learn to engage our brain intentionally to manage the consequences of the fight-and-flight response. It is very simple to learn to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the 'rest-and-digest' response in our body. All you need to do is master stress management techniques.
The SNS is fast reacting in creating the fight-and-flight response, but it is slow to shut down. This results in our modern, fast-pace life styles maintaining our systems at a high state of alert, with almost continuous levels of stress hormones in our blood stream.
This can then develop into a spiral of chronic stress, resulting in the following symptoms:
- Blood draining from non-essential organs and being diverted to the skeletal muscles to aid us to fight or run for our life
- Pupils dilate to let more light in for better vision
- Breathing increases to supply more oxygen to the blood
- Rapidly beating heart to send oxygenated blood around the body
- Blood pressure rises significantly, as a consequence
- All of these supplemented by a massive release of glycogen and fats into the blood stream.
So, you could be there, just sitting in the traffic or squashed in the train, doing damage to yourself as you can’t follow your instinct to flee or fight. You are primed for physical action, and could get progressively ‘more stressed’ as you become frustrated.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Few aspects of life are stress free and, contrary to the popular concept that a stressed life style is a modern phenomena, it has always been a central part of human life.
When we are tired, frightened, tense, anxious, angry or depressed, we are under ‘bad’ stress.
Good stress includes; the physical and mental exercise required for a normal healthy mind and body, sex, elation, competition, and many others.
Good Stress = Eustress
Bad Stress = Distress
But this definition is only aimed at ‘bad stress’. Good stress’ does not cause wear or tear and can be very therapeutic.
Stress can be described as: ‘the wear and tear on our whole being due to our inability to cope with the continually changing environment’.
About Anger - What is it?
Anger is a natural response to feeling attacked, deceived, frustrated or treated unfairly. Everyone gets angry sometimes – it's part of being human.
How you react to anger or feeling angry depends on lots of things, including:
- The situation you are in at the time – if you're dealing with lots of problems or stress in your life, you may find it harder to control your anger
- Your family history – you may have learned unhelpful ways of dealing with anger from the adults around you when you were a child
- Events in your past – if you have experienced events that made you angry but felt you couldn't express your anger, you may still be coping with those angry feelings
Some people express anger verbally, by shouting. Sometimes this can be aggressive, involving swearing, threats or name-calling. Some people react violently and lash out physically, hitting other people, pushing them or breaking things. This can be particularly damaging and frightening for other people.
Some of us show anger is passive ways, for example, by ignoring people or sulking. Other people may hide their anger or turn it against themselves; they may feel very angry on the inside, but feel unable to let it out. People who tend to turn anger inwards may harm themselves as a way of coping with the intense feelings they have.
Responsive Hypnotherapy© helps you remove your anger.