Stress impacts our mind including thoughts and feelings as well as our bodies. Whilst it can release hormones and adrenaline that provide a coping mechanism or giving us the ability to ‘think on our toes’ and deal with the problem at hand, chronic stress if left unmanaged can lead to more serious ailments such as depression & disease.
Stress initiates a fight or flight response that is a specific combination of chemicals released in our bodies. That combination is adrenaline and cortisone which gives us a sudden burst of energy and strength, making our minds clear enough to make the decision to ‘fight, freeze or flee’ hence the name fight or flight response. Acute stress (fight or flight stress) has been described by the American Psychological Association (APA) as being the most common form of stress. Because it is short term, it doesn’t cause long lasting harm to the body. However, left unidentified or unresolved it can slowly turn into a more destructive type of stress – episodic or chronic stress. These two are the ones you need to worry about. Episodic stress can lead to hostility, resentment, which left unchecked leads violence (rage), aggressiveness, competitiveness and a harrying sense of time urgency or ‘rushing’. All. The. Time.
Chronic stress is the harshest and is extremely cruel – it is the slow killer – leading to cancer, deep, deep depression, heart disease and stroke. It wears people down until their bodies, quite literally, give up.
Sounds horrible right? The good news is: all stress is treatable – if you are at first willing to accept that you have it. And if you are alive, you have it. The best way to combat stress is to know your limits. Know when to say ‘no’. Knowing that you need to discuss problems instead of bottling them up. Really, really looking after yourself. Knowing that you are not alone. Taking ‘me’ time. And last but certainly not least, exercising.
Taking time out to discuss your problems with someone you can trust is a great way to start. You can then begin to learn your limits on how you feel about things and you will have someone to back you up when you need to say ‘no’. A close friend or relative will also be able to give you a different perspective or attempt to ‘reframe’ the stressful matter. They may have gone through something similar or will at least try and hear you out so you can come up with a solution together.
Understandably, you may feel like there is no one to talk to. If you feel like this, then you would take the time to write in a diary. It will get all your thoughts and feelings into line and it is a good way to start the venting process. If you feel like writing is not a strong point for you, you can try researching your feelings on Google. You will see that there are so many people in the world who have experienced things very very similar to what you are going through and forums and blogs that are dedicated to stress are a great source of information and tips on how to overcome how you are feeling Another option is contacting someone – a professional – for help. There are some useful links below on who to contact in times of need.
In reality, it comes down to you as an individual, your body and mind will be able to tell you what it needs in order to cope with high stress levels. You need to know what works for you. Some people go for a run. It gets you outside and into the world, and clearing the mind of any negative thoughts and being around nature. However, others may find that retail therapy or a coffee with a friend is the best way to combat their stress. Hobbies are another big one, healthy, happy hobbies.
mindhealthconnect have online e-courses for stress management and depression.
Beyond Blue can provide immediate support – via phone or online. Whatever suits you!
Livin focus on depression in men, they do seminars all over the country.
Exercising at around the optimal level for 12 weeks can significantly reduce symptoms of depression amongst people who are inactive and experiencing non-melancholic depression.
It ain’t weak to speak
Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.
In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.
There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That’s what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.