Understanding, Identifying and Resolving Stress
The biological definition of stress is ‘the consequence of the failure to adapt to change; the inability to respond appropriately to physical and emotional threats.’ Stress can be described as the way you feel when pressure is placed on you. The impact of stress will vary from person to person and what causes stress to one person may in fact motivate another.
Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for a variety of involuntary bodily functions i.e. they are initiated without conscious control. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for maintaining optimum functioning within the body, known as homeostasis. This system is made up of two opposite functioning parts; sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Whenever we are faced with a stressful situation our bodies produce adrenaline which, through the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, initiates the ‘fight or flight’ response. This response causes our body to automatically jump into action in whatever way is necessary to meet the situation.
Once the situation has been dealt with, the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system calms everything down bringing our body back to homeostasis.
The ‘fight or flight’ response is very effective at protecting us but if we trigger this response on a regular basis we tip the balance. The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is working on overload with little time for the parasympathetic branch to perform its function. This overload impacts heavily on all other functions of the body and over time it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to restore its natural balance.
Whilst the impact of stress can have a destructive and sometimes devastating effect on our lives, committing to highlight and resolve the issues will inevitably lead us to overcoming stress and restoring our natural balance, allowing our bodies to function normally.
The first step is to highlight the priority areas. By taking responsibility and admitting that our physical and/or emotional symptoms are stress related we can begin to look at the cause and find the solution.
The solution can be two fold. By first addressing the cause i.e. a stressful relationship with our spouse or high workload we should begin to look at ways of resolving this. Take one issue at a time so as not to cause more stress by trying to do too much at once. In dealing with this first aspect we are addressing and seeking to resolve or remove the cause of the Removal and Understanding Stress so as to avoid placing further stress upon us.
The second aspect would then be to look at ways of relaxing, calming, nourishing, rejuvenating and restoring balance to ourselves. To help our symptoms we might seek alternative therapies and look at forms of exercise, hobbies and interests and other new ways which will add value to our lives. This second aspect should be seen as an ongoing addition to our lives and a way of providing us with an injection of relaxation and calm. Something which is for and about ourselves, that makes us feel energised and good about ourselves.
Having an awareness of self is paramount to achieving a healthy balance in our lives. Everyone is different and so it is important to know what the right balance is for you and exploring what is required in your own life to maintain that balance. Any healing, change or improvement has to come from within. No-one knows you as well as you do. Inevitably, improving one area of our life will impact on all aspects of our lives, enabling us to lead a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life.