What is stress?
“Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances” - The English Oxford Dictionary
When we hear it in this terminology, we must be consumed by stress every single day! And most of us are. Most of us are confronted with demanding circumstances on a daily basis, whether it is in our work environment or home life. In saying that I guess demanding circumstances also vary. Therefore we cannot simply say stop doing this and you will be free from stress or change that and you will be free form stress. Let’s look at ways to recognise stress.
How can we identify stress?
You can take notice of your behavior. Are you or do you act like any of the following?
Never find time to relax and unwind
Indulge in work (workaholic)
Poor time management
Neglecting your health
Neglecting your appearance
These are just a few triggers’ to take notice of. If you find you are some of these perhaps it is time you looked at shredding the stress to reveal a more relaxed and in control you.
The seriousness of stress is rather extreme. I believe if we all took time out everyday to shred the stress we would have a much happier and healthier household, workplace, community, world!
Leading causes of stress in Australia.
The Australian Psychological Society conducted a survey in 2015. The APS stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2015. Discovered the following statistics:
The top five causes of stress in Australia over the five years are:
Personal finances - 49 per cent;
Family issues - 45 per cent;
Personal health - 44 per cent;
Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle - 40 per cent; and
Issues with the health of others close to us - 38 per cent.
The five most popular ways of managing stress in Australia over the five years are:
Watching television/ movies - 85 per cent;
Focusing on the positives - 81 per cent;
Spending time with friends and/ or family - 81 per cent;
Listening to music - 80 per cent; and
Reading - 75 per cent.
One in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime, 5% experience substance abuse. Every day at least six Australians die form suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own lives.
What happens when we suffer from stress?
When we are faced with a trigger by a sound, or an incident our body’s parasympathetic nervous system switches on the fight or flight response. The chemical cortisol is released (stress hormone) as well as calming chemicals to balance out the reaction. If our brain cannot restore balance between the two types of chemicals or if one dominates the other without any relief we suffer stress. Long-term stress can have serious consequences for the brain.
When we experience stress we noticed the following effects:
Stress can also alert us to danger and encourage us to take action in situations where we need to protect others or ourselves. Therefore in these kinds of situations stress can be very helpful.
The concern we have is when we take no action or not enough to shred stress. As the statistics show above people in Australia will watch television, spend time with family, focus on the positives, read or listen to music as ways to reduce their stress levels. I can relate to all of those however, there is something very important missing form that list and it is mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a way of being that offsets stress by intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgement. Mindfulness is to achieve a state of relaxation. All mindfulness techniques are considered to be a form of meditation.
Meditation is now well documented as a way to change a person’s stress threshold. Therefore anyone who meditates regularly can increase his or her tolerance to stress! This is amazing and easily achievable with commitment and practice. Meditation increases your tolerance to stress. Mindfulness decreases stress.
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness. For me it is Tai Chi, Qigong (moving meditation) and being still without distraction. Focusing on my breath allows my body to relax in order for my mind to take a break. I do this by firstly getting the physical body relaxed and comfortable, and then I focus on some nice deep breaths. When I take time to consciously breathe I become relaxed re- energizing and in control. The single focus of just the breath allows my mind to stop and be present. By being present I gain clarity, relax, and often gain knowledge through listening to my inner voice. So simple yet so effective, remember everything has polar opposites, yin and yang, breathe in breathe out.
You know when things are getting too much you can feel your body becoming tense; perhaps you clench your teeth or suffer tiredness and anxiety. When you notice some of these traits you are aware that your mind and body is suffering, it is under stress. Only you can change that. Be in control of yourself; be responsible for how you feel. To often we blame others or society for our stresses and emotions. Let’s be honest you are the key to your temple; you have the ability to listen to it, learn from it and make great choices for it.
Perhaps you are the kind of person who would rather prevent stress from exploding. That’s great I would suggest you get onto finding ways to shred the stress today. Preventing emotions overload, as well as life threatening encounters such as heart attacks, strokes break downs will make a difference in your own life. Others around you will notice the difference in you and you will have a positive effect on them. Being a positive role model is so important to our loved ones and our community as it filters through they too will reap the benefits of you shredding the stress.
For more on meditation and mindfulness visit www.loveyourlifecoach.com.au to book in for our next workshop. Or to book a one on one session with me.
You may also be interested in purchasing my book “Soar Like An Eagle Beautiful Woman” a book on building self-esteem for women. It is an easy to read, handbag sized book fast becoming a resource and much loved keep sake for many women. Also available at www.loveyourlifecoach.com.au
Have a stress free day :)