We all know that excess stress is bad for us. The key is to understand how stress and anxiety effects you, and how to manage and reduce it.
The American Psychological Association recently undertook a study on stress to help us understand how to achieve higher levels of wellness and performance. Here’s what they found.
Stress is not the same for everyone.
People experience life differently. What may be stressful for one person could have no effect on another. For example, some people get anxious flying, whereas others are excited and completely relaxed. Some of us thrive under pressure while others don’t.
We also know we develop a lot of our resilience to cope and manage stress through the modelling behavior of our parents and carers. For example, if you had a parent who was anxious or suffered badly from stress, you are more likely to be negatively effected by stress too.
(Some) Stress is not always bad for you
When we experience a small to moderate amounts of stress or anxious feelings, it can help us develop self-discipline and creativity.
We can also experience happy ‘stressful’ events such as a wedding or award presentation, moving into our new dream home or sharing the news of a baby arriving.
When we can learn to manage stressors we can thrive, become additionally focused and more productive.
We have always experienced a degree of stress or anxiousness. When a child, learning to tie your shoes for the first time, having your training wheels removed, starting a new school, learning to drive all creates anxiety within us. Yet, we have likely used this stress to focus us on achieving.
Stress is everywhere in our lives
Life is never completely stress-free, there is always the likelihood of a stressful event occurring. This shouldn’t stop us living or functioning, we want to make sure that the stress doesn’t overwhelm us. If we experience multiple stressors at once, we need to prioritise and work on resolving the more simple problems first. Then we can start to face those more complex issues, step by step. Even when we cannot change the stressor, we can choose how we respond to it and what we do about it.
When we struggle to manage stressors, it can hurt us emotionally, psychologically and physically. This is particularly true if panic attacks are suffered. Stress or anxiety becomes bad or damaging to us when there is too much for us to handle and we become overwhelmed.
Showing symptoms of Stress or Anxiety
Studies have shown that if stress or anxiety continues, we go into fight or flight mode, which takes considerable energy and often leads to panic attacks. Symptoms may be camouflaged by medication, which is not a good idea as it can prevent the person managing the cause. Medication treats the symptoms thereby leaving the reason remaining.
Stress and anxiety left unmanaged can cause ongoing physical and mental health issues and affect all areas of your life. Left untreated it can result in symptoms manifesting in health issues like anxiety, indigestion, physical pain, even a heart attack or stroke.
The best stress and anxiety reduction techniques
Research tells us specifically designed stress and anxiety management program is a great idea. We also know that it is our mind that creates the thoughts that escalate stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is it is our mind can reduce our stress and anxiety levels as well. We also know Hypnotherapy to relax both body and mind is beneficial to lower our levels of stress and anxiety. Once reduced we can process these events or issues much better, therefore, lowing the overall stress levels felt.
Assess Your Level of Stress
How much stress or anxiety does it take to start impacting you? How many adverse life events can you handle within a given period of time?
Psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe studied whether stress contributes to illness by surveying more than 5,000 people. They asked the patients to say whether they had experienced any of 43 life events in the past two years. Each event had a different “weight” for stress. Patients added up their scores, which were a matrix of the number of events and severity of incidents. The higher the score, the more likely the patient was to become ill. Their scale is a gauge only and each individual experiences stress and anxiety differently and knows the level they feel.
If you wish to try this scale to gain a rough idea of your stress levels, do so with the caveat that each person responds uniquely to what may seem to be the same event. Beyond that, levels of stress experienced as a result of a given event may vary within the same person according to how many other stressful events they have endured recently and of what severity.
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