Stress is a term that describes the inability to cope with certain amounts of pressure, whether that it is caused by too much or too little, conscious relaxation can help with stress.
Here are some signs of stress: -
- When we have lost interest in life and other people.
- We feel we cannot cope.
- We find it hard to make decisions.
- We are irritable a lot of the time.
- We have a fear of disease.
- We are not happy with what we are and how we look, self-hatred.
- We feel like a failure.
- We find it hard to let go and have a laugh and some fun.
- We feel neglected and like no one cares.
- We feel bad about ourselves.
- We can feel suppressed anger and rage in ourselves and find it hard to show our feelings.
- We can have a fear of open or enclosed spaces.
- We do not like being alone.
- We find it hard to finish tasks.
- We can take on too much, before we have finished other things.
- We find it hard to concentrate.
- We have a fear and dread of the future.
- We can find it hard to talk to others.
- We can have muscle tension.
- We can suffer excess sweating.
- We can have a lot of headache or migraines.
- We can feel frustrates.
- We cannot relax.
- We have emotional fear and worry.
- We can have an overactive mind.
- We can have trouble sleeping.
- We can have compulsions.
The five common psychological signs of stress are: -
· Increased use of alcohol or drugs.
· Confusion or an inability to think clearly.
· Changes in sleeping, eating or sexual habits.
· Mood changes.
Plus things like eczema, psoriasis, asthma, irritable bowel, and migraines and PMT etc. can all get worse when we are stressed.
When we are born we are relaxed, fearless, trusting, as we grow older we accumulate memories from experiences which affect our emotional, psychological and physical well-being, which then create tense reactions from mild to extreme. Imprints stored in our subconscious mind make us feel like protecting ourselves through tension, our mind and body never forgets, we need to bring on conscious change, which is changing one formation of energy to another e.g. bad habits into good habits. Tension is accumulations of blocked energy causing ridged behaviour, mental and postural patterns; great energy is stored where tension is found and is a tremendous relief when unblocked.
We as humans have the same instinctive actions when under threat as animals do, this is the flight or fight response, we ether run or we fight if confronted by danger. In the flight or fight situation stress hormones are released into the body, our lifestyles today have become more stressful, stress can be brought on by many causes like financial worries, work pressures, family pressures and every day living. We do not react to our body clock and the signals being heard when we are hungry or tired, we tend to do less physical activity or work to help keep our stress levels lowered, our lifestyles are rapidly changing and we are trying to keep up with new skills, pressures etc. There are biological causes like nutrition; drugs, pollutants and noise can cause stress. I think we are becoming a nation of keeping up with everyone else, we want the show house look and have lost the lived in relaxing atmospheres, we have the role model looks to live up to, being a perfect mother etc. Social contact is also important issue in stress; we no longer live near our families and do not have their support. We move for our jobs, to get better jobs, to find work, to go to university, try to get a better life etc. Then we have problems settling into a new area, making new friends, finding people to help us etc.
In modern society we can no longer get away from these stressful situations due to technology, we are always contactable in one form or another. Everyone is different and different situations effect people in different ways, to one person it may be stressful and another person may thrive on the pressure. When a person is stressed they feel like they are being pulled in all directions, overloaded and near breaking point. The stress feels real as if a real threat, the problem is we cannot see if it is just perceived one. The problem is we cannot run or fight in these situations, so the stress hormones stay in the body and are not released. When we are stressed our heartbeat is faster, high blood pressure, increased muscle tension and quicken breathing. We are now acting on mental stress like we did on physical stress before.
It is how we react to things around us that could give us the stress, but it is how we react and deal with them that matters. If we are stressed we can suffer anxiety, low self esteem, inability to cope, lack concentration, feel isolated, physical symptoms like loss or gained appetite, indigestion, heartburn, muscle cramps, headaches, muscle tension etc. Stress can leave us vulnerable to infections, high blood pressure, back pain, allergies, depression and aggressive behaviour, impotence, eczema, asthma, peptic ulcers, coronary heart disease and cancer.
There are three stages of stress, the first is when the body mobilises for action and signals are sent to let you know that stress is occurring this is known as the alarm reaction stage. The second stage is when the stressful situation has passed and the body repairs the damage in the body and the heart rate will start to return to normal, breathing slows down, blood pressure lowers and muscles relax, this is known as the resistance stage. The third stage is the exhaustion stage, this is when stressful situations are continuous and the body is reacting continuous to it and the body system and organs begin to break down and pathological, immunity or emotional problems start to develop. This can affect the muscle response in the body leading to chronically tense muscles which is long term tension causing things like headaches, asthma, backaches etc, highly anxious people can suffer with more muscle tension.
Stress can also affect every part in the gastrointestinal system, which is to do with how food is broken down by chemical and mechanical means, causing difficulty swallowing, ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea etc. It can affect the cardio vascular system, which is the heart, arteries, veins, blood vessels, chronic anxiety, anger etc. This causes the heart to over work and this can cause long-term heart disease. The skin also responds to stress, blood flow is restricted so we get cold clammy feelings and look pale or the veins can become open and then we look flushed, hot and red in appearance, skin conditions can also occur like eczema, itching, redness etc.
Stress can be good or bad. Stress is vital to motivate us to learn, improve and mature ourselves. We need a certain amount of good stress to remain interested in life and to face challenges. In some people stress brings the best out in them like actors or students etc. it helps to keep a keen level of concentration without a little stress we become bored.
Psychologist Suzanne Kobasa states we need commitment and strength in who we are, and ourselves control and conviction to influence the course of advents in our life and receptivity to challenge for personal growth, rather than look at life as a threat to security. If we are hardy in these ways then stress will affect us less, than someone who isn’t.
In the 1960’s two American cardiologists Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman discovered personality played a role in stress management. Personality was split into two: -
- A – Driven, competitive, impatient, aggressive, hostile and angry easily. Want to achieve too much in too little time.
- B – Relaxed, patient, less driven, pace themselves, sensible, less angry and hostile.
Most of us are a mixture, but if personality A dominates more than B, then you are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
Here are five pointers of a stress management programme and suggestions on what I would do to improve a situation.
- Understand the stress – I would first look at what was causing the stress. Some things that cause us stress can be altered, others can not we just have to learn to accept it and try to make the most of it. I would try to work back to the events around the time that the stress started to work out what caused it in the first place.
- Change your perception – I would look at my thoughts at the time, my values and expectations. The influence of the imagination on the actual experiencing of our lives has a powerful effect. Our thoughts and mental imagery have an effect on the experiences we find our selves in. We as humans can become locked into one way of seeing, one way of feeling and one way of perceiving things. We have to use our imagination, our body and our spirit to create change. We have to open up to new opportunities to change where we are now and where we want to be. Our subconscious mind is like the fertile soil, our thoughts are like the seeds we plant, and we need to be choosy which seed to plant. The soil will let anything grow if we let it. We have to watch our thoughts, every negative thought; we need to turn it into a positive one. All bad thoughts or negative thoughts get stored in our mind, that is like a computer storing them up and from this is what our mind believes we want to live. All these negative thoughts build up and bring with it low-self esteem, panic, worry, fear, stress and anxiety. These experiences from the past physiologically are re-lived by the new experience that is like the old one we have stored up, so if last time you had a panic attack, the chances are you will this time, as it was your way of dealing with it. We through imagination have to replace all the bad or negative thoughts with new, good, safe, relaxing, protective images, so if it happens again we can go back to the new images used in the relaxation therapy and deal with the situation in a positive way. In relaxation therapy visualization incorporates the use of suggestive language to allow the client to participate in harmonious natural scenes to synthesise the experience of actually being there. We also have to look at our confidence and self esteem, find ways to boost it. We must not be too hard on ourselves and except what ever we do in life we are doing our best. We sometimes expect too much of ourselves and what we are capable of doing.
- Improve your physical responses – If we eat a good balanced meal, get the correct amount of sleep needed, rest when we should, meditate and exercise our body is more capable of dealing with things that could cause us stress if our body was run down. We need to listen to our body and what it is trying to say to us, eat when we feel hungry, sleep when we feel tired, and rest if we feel ill etc. Meditation is an excellent way of being more aware of ourselves, our needs, listening to our subconscious mind, when we meditate it is a state of very deep relaxation, our heart rate slows down, our oxygen level consumption decreases and our blood pressure lowers, we become calmer and clearer in our thinking, which helps us cope with the tensions of everyday life.
- Improve your emotional response – Dwelling on the past is no good, the past has happened and we cannot change it even if we want to. We have to watch our thoughts, every negative thought; we need to turn it into a positive one. All bad thoughts or negative thoughts get stored in our mind, that is like a computer storing them up and from this is what our mind believes we want to live. All these negative thoughts build up and bring with it low-self esteem, panic, worry, fear, stress and anxiety. As we go through life we need to sometimes make new friends, as our interests change, we move, we change jobs, etc. It is good to be around people and socialise, talking to people helps you make sense of your problems, it hopefully unless your friends are very one sided gives you a chance to listen to both sides of a story and here your problems back again in someone else’s terms, a bit like counselling and this then helps you to start solving your own problems.
- Improve your behavioural reaction – Some times we feel stuck in a rut and need a fresh start, a new change or a new challenge, it takes our mind off of things going on around us and gives us time out for ourselves, boosts self esteem. Try learning new skills by e.g. a course, hobby or joining a group e.g. Tai Chi. With these new opportunities you develop your personal and interpersonal skills. Time management is also important in anything we do, if you are feeling low, lacking in confidence etc. you do not want to be the last one there with everyone’s attention on you! Better to get there early, settle yourself in, find a space that you feel comfortable sitting in and have time to relax before things start.
How can we control stress?
The four given rules for over coming stress are: -
· Forgive yourself.
· Forgive others.
· Don’t compare yourself with others.
· See your good side.
We really need to let go of any negative feelings and change them into positive thoughts and lose the grudges and learn to forgive. Forgiveness starts with in; we need to be at peace with ourselves, except ourselves for whom and what we are and know that God loves us for what we are, as he created us! We need to build on our self-esteem and good points. We must never compare ourselves to others as the saying goes ‘The grass is never greener on the other side’, what we see and what it is really like to be them is two different matters and as another saying goes ‘Money can’t but love and happiness’.
Relaxation techniques are aiming to bring the body-mind-spirit into harmony, in the way of muscular relaxation, concentration or sensory awareness. It relaxes your muscles, balances your metabolism and brings your autonomic functions under voluntary control. Relaxation Techniques use breath, sound or visual images to help us focus on the body sensations, thoughts or cultivating specific emotional states.
In relaxation techniques we are learning a system of educating ourselves, ways to respond to stress rather than patterns we are locked into in our subconscious mind, behaviour is conditioned and we respond through memory. Tensions accumulate blocked energy, which crystallises into rigid behavioural, mental and postural patterns, which holds built up energy. Stress stops our body’s ability to heal and function well; relaxation techniques counteract our stress reactions to shock, pollutants and strains. Due to the fight or flight responses that react to stress, we no longer fight or run if stressed, so we are in a state of constant physiological arousal, muscles tensed and metabolism revved.
Relaxation techniques can reduce our blood pressure and flow. It can also reduce heart, breathing rates and hormone levels. In addiction they may quieten our action nerves and our impulse to strike.
Relaxation techniques have some common elements, a quiet environment with few distractions, focused attention on an image, thought, sound or word; this helps to quieten the mind. We need a passive attitude, indirect or direct suggestion to relax and a comfortable position to allow the energy to flow unrestricted or consciously relaxing the muscles.
Ways to overcome stress.
· Do something you enjoy. Whether it is a hobby, sport or even a job; you need to be involved in satisfying pastimes on a regular basis.
· Allocate time for yourself. Don’t over commit your time to other people.
· Be committed to any Stress Reducing Activity you take on.
· Make lists of what you need to do, priorities on what’s important, what does not get done today can wait until tomorrow, don’t overload your mind.
· We tend to bottle up our problems we need to let them out, talk to friends, family etc.
· It is best to face our problems, dreads, go ahead and do what needs to be done, things seem to get worse the longer we leave it and more we think about it.
· We need to learn to say no, do not do what you do not want to do, it causes anger, frustration and irritation.
· Take a holiday, we often think clearer when away from the situation and it helps take your mind off things.
· Relaxation, there are many ways to relax which include meditation, massage, exercise, visualisation, sitting and listening to relaxing music etc. (see later under heading relaxation).
· We need to enjoy what we are doing, our job, our hobby, exercise programme, family time etc.
· Make time for us and do not feel guilty at doing so, do not over commit your time to other people.
· Once you decide to follow a stress-reducing plan, keep with it or it will not work, be dedicated.
Stress Management £25.00 an hour
Relaxation Therapy £25.00 an hour
Meditation £25.00 an hour
Life Coaching £30.00 an hour.
Counselling £30.00 an hour.
EFT £25.00 an hour.
Colour breathing £25.00 an hour.
Aromatherapy £25.00 an hour.
We also offer sessions with the:
Heart Math £15.00 for 30 minutes on top of session price.
Wild Divine £15.00 for 30 minutes on top of session price.
Chi Machine £10.00 for 15-20 minutes on top of the session price.
Resperate £15.00 for 30 minutes on top of session price
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