Stress is a term to describe the natural and physiological way our mind, body and emotions respond to the environment surrounding our daily life. When managed positively, stress motivates us towards self-improvement but many of us get overwhelmed by stress which results in negative responses.
The Stress Build-Up
There are many reasons that causes stress and it is different for each person. However, extensive studies have shown 3 major categories of stress-inducing reasons which we will interpret as such:
The events and circumstances that exist in the physical such as coping with an illness or disability, loss of loved one, unemployment or broken relationships. Even positive events like job promotions can trigger stressful responses.
Here’s a scenario - you are heading a project and something goes wrong. How would you respond? By shouting, pointing fingers or demanding for admission of error OR do you take time to accept that the mistake has already occured then analyse and discuss with the team what went wrong? The way you react to stressful situations reflects your thought patterns. And since thoughts are subjective, we cannot exactly put a data to quantify it hence we consider it as intangible factors that develop stress.
Are you aware that the way you interact is a significant contributor to the experience of stress? Many times we react to situations that happened to us and it snowballs into how we communicate with others around us. Although many situations may be out of your control, think of what you can change in your daily habits to make things better for yourself and others. Everything starts with your well-being!
The effect of stress manifests in three major realms that are physical, psychological and change in our behaviour. Should you find yourself identifying with some or many of these symptoms, it is likely that stress is affecting your life more than necessary.
Managing Stress - “FIGHT or FLIGHT?”
According to physiologist Walter Cannon, our brain is hard-wired to tell our body what to do in the face of danger - run or to fight. While these are reasonable methods to remove threats; it can be counterproductive when it comes to using it as stress management. The “fight or flight” system places us into a hypersensitive mode, resulting in us perceiving that every situation is out to cause us harm. We operate on fear and our short-term goal is to fight and survive each “crisis” (most of the time aren’t real crises). In the long run, we become unable to relax and assess our life with clarity and mindfulness. Upon realising how stressed we have become, the flight switch is turned on and many choose to run away from the issues. Or to numb the feelings hoping it will just go away. Yet they don’t. And they won’t. The symptoms of stress are indicators of the real issue - unresolved emotions that you chose to suppress. To get to the root requires introspection and a re-examination within us. I believe that the practice of mindfulness can help you be engaged in the present and guide you to learn more about yourself and what stresses you.
Stress does not have to take over your life. Talk to me to find out how I can journey with you towards a better well-being.