Good afternoon everyone! Today I want to talk about stress, and how we can work to reduce its detrimental effects.
Hi Joanne! Thank you for joining me today.
What is stress? stress is the state of mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension, resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is any force that impairs the stability and balance of bodily functions.
Stress is something that we perceive as negative and we all want to avoid it even though we all end up experiencing it at some point in time. Does that sound familiar?
When I’m stressed I talk about how I’m feeling .
But is stress always unhealthy?
Actually, mild stress is often healthy and can motivate us to lead healthy successful and productive lives.
When stress becomes chronic and we are not able to effectively manage it, it becomes detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical health
Stress is a very individual thing but some common causes of stress are *Overload- having too many commitments *Pain and sickness, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of physical activity *Financial problems *Relationship issues, lack of a support network *Worry, anxiety, guilt, depression, PTSD *Major life changes: marriage, death, moving *Hassles of daily life
So what is the physiology behind stress
Cortisol *Stress causes the body to produce the hormone cortisol. cortisol is tolerable for brief periods, it actually can give us the energy to get things done when we need to, but it's very unhealthy when your body is in a state of chronic stress.
*cortisol acts to aid and preparing the body for vigorous activity by breaking down lean tissue for conversion to sugar and increasing the production of gastric acids. It also blocks the removal of certain wastes in the bloodstream. This will ultimately weaken the bodies defense mechanisms.
Hey guys, I have heaps of stress going at the moment.
You've come to the right place Robbie. Hopefully I can give you some tips that will help.
Tools to manage stress *STOP - one minute breathing space *Relaxation response *Meditation *Mindfulness *Visual Imagery *Yoga *Exercise *Nutrition *Sleep Many of these crossover. The key is in finding what works for you
STOP is probably my favorite because anyone can do it anytime anywhere.
Stop Take a deep breath Open and observe Proceed with new possibilities. In stressful moments we over react, either externally or internally. This is a way to regroup, and deal with the situation in a way that will not be detrimental to our health, we just need to remember to do it.
The relaxation response was first coined in 1974 by Dr Herbert Benson and is the foundation for most means of mental stress reduction. It involves redirecting thoughts to an inner awareness which can produce physiological responses such as decreased blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and metabolism. It is actually quite simple. Dr Benson described four steps in illiciting the relaxation response. Once or twice a day for 10 to 20 minute, sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes, repeat a word or a sound that soothing to you as you breathe
Personally I try not to attach time to anything that has the capacity to reduce stress because I do not want that to be a deterrent in using these tools. Therefore I personally recommend anytime that you can give to practicing stress reduction techniques will work, just like with physical exercise, every little bit helps.
Meditation generally involves deep breathing and relaxation techniques to achieve a state of complete awareness where the mind is clear and tension is released from the body. There are many types of meditation. I consider the relaxation response to be a form of meditation.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation. It involves the awareness of the body and the mind in the present moment. Awareness of our thoughts, actions, motivations and responses in each moment allows us the opportunity to make changes in our thoughts, actions, motivations and responses
Visual imagery involves taking a visual journey in one's mind that promotes a peaceful, calming feeling. Incorporating as many senses as possible allows one to experience a greater state of relaxation and reduce overall stress and anxiety. For example visualize yourself lying on the beach, feel the cool ocean breeze, hear the seagulls, smell the salt water and the coconut scented sunscreen.
Yoga combined physical postures and breathing techniques to strengthen the body and improve respiratory efficiency while relaxing the body and the mind. Start with a few easy poses the day.
Exercise - physical activity helps pump up the production of the brain's feel good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. In addition to the physical benefits, regular exercise decreases stress, depression, and anxiety, while improving self-confidence, overall mood, and mental state of mind. It's important to have clearance from your doctor, and to work at an appropriate intensity level. Studies have shown that even 5 minutes of daily physical activity can be helpful in reducing stress.
Nutrition - the proper balance of nutrients is necessary for the body to remain healthy and efficient. When the body is under stress, there's an increased demand for nutrients. Food high in sugar, low in nutritional value, and high in calories can leave us feeling sluggish. A healthy diet can improve energy level and help to reduce stress.
Sleep - a good night sleep allows us to tackle the day's stress more easily. When we are tired, we are less patient and more easily agitated, which can increase stress. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Meditation practice can usually help to improve quality of sleep.
Other factors to manage stress; *Effective communication *Assertiveness *Empathetic or active listening *Time management *Coping skills and self-awareness *Goal setting and self management
In closing, stress is something that we all live with, and small amounts are okay, but when it becomes chronic it can cause mental and physical deterioration. The key is to learn how to effectively manage it, and fortunately there are many ways to do this. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding the information that I have presented you with today. Hopefully some of these tools will work for you!