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I suppose I could plough through oodles of sites and gather up enough material in providing an answer to this debate question. Then again, it wouldn't be answering the question: the key word is 'You.' So my self-help program maybe useless to most readers here. I will even go as far as to say, I won't be able to cure your stressing ailments or causes, in fact I may increase the stress level a few notches. Please click away if you are expecting a doctor's guide in combating stress. I will disappoint you, if you are a genuine sufferer wanting bullet point answers. I'll put you out of your misery and announce: 'There is no such thing as zero percent stress.' I'm not sure if you are aware of this but I can claim that you must avoid online forums, websites, governmental advisory churn, leaflets, and more importantly Dr. Copeland's answer to a stress-free lifestyle. Whereby, for one monthly fee, he will soothe your stresses away by just slotting him into your 'MP3 life' and press 'play.' His low tones will drift on and on and you'll be left wondering why did I buy into this wacko dribble? Guess what? All of the above will increase your stress levels. Feeling stressed? Yes, likewise, my levels are perhaps semi-moderate to moderate; and increasing. Are you still reading? I take it you like stress. Some stress is good for stimulus - otherwise you'll be permanently horizontal and even that is stressful because you'll be thinking what you should be doing; while being horizontal; we can't win. However, it is vital that you should avoid taking advice from online communities.
A 'shrug' instead of trying to justify yourself lowers stress levels
Still here! Well I have met a stress head; I mean a total stress head. Someone who reeked of stress from her scalp to her toes; her whole entity was a quivering car crash. Neurotic, a heart rate a permanent ninety beats a minute while sitting down, and it rubs off onto others around her, including me. In comparison I'm a corpse compared to her high pitched vocal combustions and nervy twitches. Weirdly enough she claimed I calmed her down whenever I met her, holy cow, heaven help anyone who tries to bed her. She's an incredibly attractive specimen who just can't get a man. They run. Why can't I get a mmm man? What is wrong with me? Are they all gay? (No, it's because you're a stress head and you have tiny breasts) You either jump into the sea of fire or try explaining you're far too highly strung and stressed for anyone I chose the other option; you keep your own stress levels low by just shrugging and claim most men she meets must be all gay. I was her only straight male companion for two years. She inwardly hated me, from day one she'd labeled me as a womanizer; partly due to (me) speaking to a couple of girls within five minutes of each other, apparently. In her eyes I was intriguing, yet she hated every male bone in my body. In turn, I kept my stress levels at a minimum by not arguing with her. Roll-on ten years and I hear through a flight instructor she'd met the scariest neurotic lady ever; yeah, in the air, shockingly she was trying to re-new her commercial flight license. The normally placid flight instructor, with twenty three years of experience broke a habit of a lifetime and spent the rest of the day getting slaughtered in an aerodrome bar.
The flight instructor admiringly claimed to me - "Oh, she hates you with a boundless passion" - I smiled, and stated I chose my friends wisely - stress free ones can stay.
Now it has become completely unacceptable to wallop another individual to lower stress levels - Pity really, a punch bag isn't receptive enough, except for making a windy thud, and research has shown humans don't respond well to sudden wind noises. There is a connection with wind noises and diet, so psychologically you'll be thinking of food, windy food, and that leads to comfort eating. Too much comfort eating produces storage fat and that'll sit on you spare tyre. Inadvertently, this'll cause extra stress. Try to avoid any place whereby a lot of wind is heard: such as a gym - whereby wind is most common while exerting. Again, you'll only binge afterwards - therefore making you feel guilty - resulting in stress.
In the gym you are reminded what shape you are, many times over - via the mirrors.
Also there is another concern, the 'gym fanatic' - he or she will make you feel inferior - resulting in stress. This is a fast track method in creating unnecessary stress. Doctor's will encourage you to join activity groups to aid in stress relief or recommend herbal tea, and have access to a stress ball. Don't worry, it is their job to notify people of such practices, it is simply a 'box ticker' - By answering their questions accordingly you are lowing the Practitioner's stress levels in the mid term, saving them a stressful phone-call by those who stimulate bureaucracy and red-tape - the thinkers of 'bull'.
The bureaucrats manufacture stress; it is big business for them, because it keeps them in a lucrative job, and keeps their high maintenance wives happy, so long the designer handbags keep coming; that in turn helps with their stress levels. The more stress they manufacture into the system, down the line (to us the stress sponges) the higher the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) the country has. Yes, stress helps with higher productivity. Proof of this resides in two opposites of the stress scale, Jamaica and China. In Jamaica stress levels are very low - it creeps up slightly when the rum runs dry; usually when they're asleep sleeping off the extended happy hour. China live off stress, they're a humming vibration of stress it is felt where-ever they are. Many little feet walking, moving, and the whirring of cameras recording every entity that is in their path. They never switch off - Stressing over what to log next and spreading their inbred stress to passers by trying to swim against the mass tide of whirring, high pitched hysteria, and little feet.
'NICE' to see you, to see you - NOT!
Most of the time the system manufactures too many stresses for us taxpayers to swallow, so the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in their own paradox informed all UK business how to distress 'effectively' colleagues in the workplace. Nice. Approximately 100% felt their stress levels rise substantially as they read the protocols of the listings.' Turn Off Taps After Use'. 'Hydrate Plantation Nearby' (Plants makes your working atmosphere fresher). 'Leave Your Desk Tidy' - here's several pointers to make your levels boil over. The 'NICE Team' estimated just fewer than 30 Billion, was being lost by UK companies due to stress. (Probably after reading NICE's anal retentive package) The team worked out that too much stress leads to employees taking leave due to illness. Again, having read the six steps from the NICE team - even the normally robust staff members were feeling decidedly ill.
Ignore the politically correct. Pity them, they've only got pathetic wads of paper to smother you with. Feel sorry for those who are taken in by governmental listings. It's too late for them, they've got ulcers.
There is one simple thing that eradicates stress completely for several seconds, and that is laughter. Laughter is the only act that is concentrated enough to ease your stress laden body for a couple of seconds of glorious respite.
I'm a laugh a minute guy. Problem is, it is stressful for everyone around me. Haa Haa Haa.
Some degree of stress in life is inevitable and even desirable however, prolonged stress can lead to serious mental and physical problems; so what can be done to reduce the harmful effects and take back control of your life?
The first step is to understand how stress works. As animals, we have a fight or flight mechanism which leads us to respond to threats.
Some people's 'threat sensors' are over-sensitive and like a car alarm that goes off at the slightest vibration, they over-react to situations and become stressed very easily. For such people, there are two useful techniques that can be used. The first is to interrupt the bi-feedback loop. When you feel stressed it's likely that your heart will race and your breathing will become shallow and laboured. You notice this and say to yourself, 'Oh my God, I feel stressed!' When you feel like this, work at slowing and deepening your breathing and telling yourself that you are calm and in control. The second approach is through rationalisation. Think of all of the things that you worried about in your life; there's a fair chance that most of them never happened. People who experience a lot of stress tend to over-estimate the likelihood of something going wrong and the magnitude of the consequences. Try to be more rational and also consider the worst outcome and accept it. OK, what if your presentation was a disaster? It wouldn't be great but it wouldn't be the end of the world either.
Another approach is to identify and write down all of the things that stress you and to take action on the things you can change. Many life events such as births, marriages and deaths are naturally stressful and it is worth noting that even 'happy events' can be a cause of stress. People can experience a stress overload when too many big things occur at once,eg, new job, moving house, birth of a child, increased debt, etc. Accept what you can not change but look carefully at steps you can take in the things you can. All long journeys are made of many small steps. Try to align yourself with yourself. Develop a lifestyle that suits your personality as trying to be somebody you are not is not sustainable in the long run.
Apart from life events, two big causes of stress are money and relationships. Debt can be an enormous millstone around your neck which constantly wears you down. You have to confront your financial reality. If necessary see a debt counsellor. Avoid paying off one debt with another as this will eventually reach the point where you just can't keep up the payments and all you will have achieved is to double your debt. Act now before it gets out of hand.
Relationship problems can cover anything from an overbearing mother-in-law to sexual problems. Whatever it is, you have to talk and be honest about your feelings. Try to avoid blame and accusation but talk about behaviours and how they make you feel.
Be clear in your mind about what you want to be different. Bear in mind, that this is not a magic formula and that people aren't always going to become what you would like them to be. By the same token, you are the only true judge of your behaviour and should not try to live up to other people's expectations, whether real or imagined.
Unrealistic self-beliefs will create unnecessary stress also so if you are the sort of person who uses a lot of 'should' statements in your internal dialogue, then think again. If you say, 'I should never fail, I should be able to cope, I should have been more successful,' ask why and says who?
Let go of trivial and self-created stressors like impatience. You can see people in traffic jams or supermarket queues getting themselves all worked up. If that's you, learn to let it go before you give yourself an ulcer. Poor time management is another self-imposed stressor. If you are always racing against the clock, either you are saying 'yes' to too many jobs, setting unrealistic deadlines or leaving things to the last minute. You may say that there is nothing you can do about it but in fact, you are the only person who can do something about it.
Be wary of ineffective coping strategies centred on avoidance and blocking. Troubles won't diminish by ignoring them and although drink or drugs will provide temporary relief, they come back to haunt you once the fog clears.
Apart from the suggestions made so far, other helping strategies involve diet, exercise and sleep. Stay off coffee and drink plenty of water and green tea. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and avoid junk food and comfort food particularly late at night. A good night's sleep makes the world of difference but isn't easy to get when you are stressed. Try to get as much exercise as possible during the day. Walk whenever possible and take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you suffer from insomnia, don't read in bed or catnap during the day or evening. Go to bed only when you are really tired and get up if you wake up. Try to get a solid block of sleep, even if it's only for a few
hours to start with.
Work at changing your general outlook on life to a more positive perspective. Don't get involved with people who just want to moan all the time and reinforce how bad life is. Think of the things that make you happy; think of the things that you are proud of. You can identify a high point or achievement in your life and touch your hand or wrist, using this gesture to recall the moment at times of stress.
Another technique is to imagine a peaceful sanctuary, a beach or a garden and retreat to it in your mind as a relaxation technique. This is particularly useful when you go to bed, rather than milling over all your worries.
Finally, you need to change the balance of positive and negative experiences in your life. If you have one life box called 'stress,' it will occupy 100% of your thoughts and stress equals 100% of your life. Although you might not feel like it, develop other activities; do some sport, meet friends, go to the movies, even if it's a real struggle to get motivated. By doing so, you will reduce the proportion of stress filled moments. Take time to think about and notice happiness and joy around you; the blossom on the trees, a squirrel in the park, a child's smile.
Somebody once said, 'life's just one damn thing after another,' and it's true that there will always be something else on the horizon to stress you out. On the other hand you might derive more happiness by sticking with Louis Armstrong when he sang 'What a wonderful world.' It can be yours, if you let it.
* This article has also been posted on Helium under the name of Janet Sandford*
Always on the go and struggling to switch off?
Do you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day.... that you get to the end of the week and wonder where the days have gone? Do you spend all your days running around, never seeming to have time to sit down.... yet you get to the end of the evening and have difficulty working out what you have achieved? Do you start each day with good intentions, making lists of jobs to do.... and still find that you have loads of things outstanding at the end of the day?
When we lead busy lives, trying to juggle work, families and keeping house, making time for ourselves falls even further down the list.... after all, if we don't feel we have time for all the things we HAVE to do, there is no chance of having time for the things we WANT to do.... is there?
And of course, the more we struggle with those never ending lists, squeezing more and more into our days, the more tired we get, as our energy reserves run low. We are tired at the end of the day, yet sleep becomes difficult, or in some cases impossible, because we just can't seem to switch off and so when we get up the next day, we are beginning the day already tired and so the cycle begins again.
In order to bring yourself and your life back to a point of balance, you could try the following:
Keeping a family diary or calendar. Make sure there is enough space on each page to write down what you have to do. Add in your appointments, the kids' sleepovers, when the library books need to be returned as well as school trips and family birthdays. Don't agree to take anything else on until you know that there really is space in your diary for it.
Making shorter lists - long lists are daunting, and when we get to the end of the day without having crossed everything off, we feel a failure, knowing that we are starting tomorrow with half of today's list as well as tomorrow's list! Limit you list to just 6 or 7 items. Keep each item realistic........."Paint the kitchen" may be on your list, but if it is accompanied by "clear the loft", "dig the garden", "take the car for a service" and "get the children to ballet, gym, scouts and piano lessons", it becomes daunting, and almost bound to fail.
Stop working by 9pm - If you work until bedtime, your body and mind have no time to wind down, and sleep becomes of poor quality. Set yourself a time limit that allows you an hour or two before your bedtime to start the "relax and switch off" process.
Don't be afraid to say "NO". Very often we take on tasks simply because we don't want to offend, or we don't want to appear inadequate or unable. It is OK to say "No, I'm sorry, I don't have time to do that for you today", or "No, sorry, that doesn't really appeal to me". Don't clutter up your precious time with jobs you don't need to take on, and don't use up your precious energy getting worked up about things that you have taken on that you wish you hadn't.
Make a few moments for yourself - although it would be nice to have a day to yourself, or even just a free afternoon, we all know that is usually impractical. But just 20 or 30 minutes can make all the difference to the mind/body/life balance. Go for a walk, take a soak in the bath in the middle of the day, do some classic yoga stretches, or listen to a guided visualisation recording to reduce those stress levels and provide you with the energy you need to make the most of your day.
Of course different things work for different people, and you may find that some of these suggestions work better for you than others. Introduce one of the above into your day at a time, and let it become a habit before introducing the next one. Enjoy taking control and reclaiming your time, and your energy.
Stress is a very common problem that all of us suffer to a little or larger scale depending upon the nature of physical or mental routine of ours. Stress can both be physical or mental owing to the nature of your activities. And in both of its kinds, your habits are the key factor responsible for it. So when we search for the thumb rule to eliminate stress, its is, “change your habits”. But habits are like chains of friendship, too light to be felt and too strong to be broken. As habits will take a while to change, we can work out some course of action that relaxes us from the daily stress. I have been reading about stress and the ways to fight it out, some time back. Though I am not some psychologist, the methods that I will talk about are the outcome of reading the views of some experts of psychology. I have myself tried most of it and found it quite useful. So here we go fighting against stress. First of all : Recognize it. Yes; sit down and think about it. What kind of stress are you victim of, mental or physical. And that’s easy. In simple terms, if you remain worried or tense, its mental. If you remain fatigued or tired, its physical. This recognition leads you to the conclusion as to whether you have to deal it in physical way or otherwise. Recognize the source. What causes you stress. What makes you fatigued or worried. For this just you will have to look at your daily routine. As you have already identified at the first step as to what kind of stress are you in, you either have to concentrate on your physical or mental activities. If you have identified the source, you have won more than half the battle. And try it out, you will start feeling relaxed merely be knowing what was causing the trouble. Sources of physical stress can be, long working hours, lack of sleeping hours, rushing between jobs, uncomfortable working atmosphere or similar reasons. Sources of mental stress can be, worries, long hours of mental work (li
ke teaching), too much mental concentration for too much time (have you seen some lawyer preparing a case?), being touchy about some daily routine matters, having bad bosses or bad subordinates or even colleagues and some things like that. Find the weakness of enemy (the source of stress), where you can strike it hard. Well; in case of physical stress for being over worked, you will be looking for methods like trying to find time for little breaks during working. Trying to make improvements in your work atmosphere. Or trying to reduce your work by delegating responsibilities or by making things handy or changing the priorities of the things that you do or even doing away with non-essential items. For mental stress, if its long mental job hours, try things similar to the physical ones. But if its that you remain worried for petty matters, try these things, · Relate the issues with the worries. Are the things you are worried about bigger or your worries? Mostly you will find that you worry a lot for very little things. · “Some day I will look back on all this and laugh”. Don’t you look back a the past and think about the things that you were worried about. But know it all seems fun and those matters look little and you laugh or smile about them. Similar will be the fate of matters of today. Tomorrow they will be little things of past. · Try to figure out the worst results. I am tense, why, because I failed to show up at the date. Think what worst will happen? She will be mad on me. MAD? She will not talk me for days. So can this be solved? Can she be brought back to a smile? Look… you started thinking of the solutions then only worrying about the problem. That’s the key. Think about the solutions not about the problem it self. Well what has happened, has happened and can be changed now. You can try bringing back a smile to her face. Remember she liked that pizza or that movie or those flowers, last time. Try it aga
in. · And one of the most effective methods. I will think about it after few minutes. Yes it takes time to adopt this approach. Initially you will find it difficult to get your mind off the problem but with some effort you can develop the habit. And mind you, if you pend the problem for a while and think about it after few minutes or a couple of hours, you will be less tense and will be able to think of positive solutions of it. Try these things, I am hopeful of positive results. Finally here are certain things that can save you from both mental and physical stress (or at least reduce the effects). * Have fun. Do things for the sheer fun of it. Each day, plan to something "just for you". * Laugh. Doctors believe that laughing, even without a reason, reduces tension and stress. If you having some reasons too, nothing like it. * Learn to relax. Think that you are relaxing, stretch and take deep breaths. * Break tasks into segments. * Learn to say "no". Say no to the things that you know you will not be able to manage. It’s a proven method, specially against physical stress. * Take care of your family and friends. Talk to them, write them, send emails and greeting cards. * Think positive. * Drink water. * Eat sensibly. * Get quality sleep. * Schedule your time. * Exercise regularly to reduce stress. Thanks a lot for your patience. I hope it works for you.
Everyone knows what anger is - we have all lashed out from time to time and most of us will have been on the receiving end of someone else's wrath - but when anger gets out of control it can have a serious impact on yours and others lives. From road rage incidents in the local high street to talkshow confrontations refereed by Jerry Springer or Rikki Lake, and angry soap characters like Eastenders' Phil Mitchell, we are surrounded by people losing their tempers these days. I recently read that research has found that temper tantrums cost Britons an estimated £16 billion every year, with each person spending an average of £420 replacing smashed household items, such as crockery and glasses, and repairing damage to the car !! As you can see by those figures, anger can affect us financially but it can also damage our health, ruin peace of mind, cause problems in relationships and cause us to be passed over for promotion at work. It can even cost us our liberty if a violent temper or a furious outbursts results in a prison sentence. Anger can take many forms, from mild irritation to intense fury and rage, and be triggered by both internal and external events, whether being angry at a specific person or event or worrying or brooding about personal problems. I think anger is a vital basic human emotion that we are equipped with for our own protection. Anger the feeling is natural and good and can work to our advantage but agression and violence are not. Anger can be bad because it can affect the body by getting it ready for action. It changes all the different ways in which the body is working and can lead to some people crossing the line towards violence. Its easy to say but hard to instill the fact that we need to express our anger in a healthy way by putting energy into something positive, like running, drawing and painting to name but three instances. Anger can be controlled better as we
get older and begin to come to terms with our feelings, I for one have found this the case, when I was younger I used to get frustrated very easily but now that I'm older and wiser I can quite often control my anger when it arises. But it is very important to vent any angry feelings, bottling it up is likely to lead to stress and depression. The person who bottles it up is more angry later. Fury can have many negative repercussions on our everyday lives. Look at footballer Roy Keane for instance who is renowned for his bad temper. His anger and actions have lead to countless red cards and the loss of his place in the Irish World Cup squad this summer. Some people get into the habit of keeping their anger going, this is extremely bad - it causes stress, physical problems and problems such as depression. Acting on the anger in an aggresive fashion causes the break up of relationships and the loss of jobs. People who seem angrier than others often find themselves caught in a Catch-22 situation where they cannot escape the fury cycle. Very often when people deal with situations in an angry way, bad things happen to them so that tends to make for an angry person. For people who find their anger ruining or controlling their lives, anger management courses are becoming more common in the UK. In the past, supermodel Naomi Campbell has checked herself into anger management therapy, but these programmes are no longer just restricted to celebrities. The number of people using the BAAM (British Association of Anger Management) courses has trebled in two years. The courses try to deconstruct anger so that people can understand what makes them see red and then try to deal with it. Although it is impossible to get rid of, or avoid, the things or people that infuriate us, the goal of anger management is to help people control their reactions. Despite the growing popularity of the anger management
courses, anger is still a taboo subject in this country and people are often reluctant to seek help. People need to know that if they have an issue with anger it is not going to go away. The sooner you get yourself into therapy or see a counsellor the better. People wait sometimes before they are desperate and their live is in tatters before dealing with it, they think and hope they don't have to deal with it. People can channel their anger into a more positive energy but they should be warned against avoiding the original issue. When people express their anger, it must be expressed in a rational way - at the people who caused it - be careful not to take it out on someone who just happens to be in the way. Those who feel they need help managing their anger should speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau or their GP who will both be able to put them in touch with someone who deals in anger management. And next time fury wells, resist the temptation to vent your spleen and try following this little bit of advice - Silence is often the best weapon! The six rules of anger management are: 1. Stop and take a look at the big picture. 2. Remember that it's ok to have a different opinion. 3. Listen to what others are saying. 4. Set up a support network who will listen to your problems. 5. Keep an anger journal to avoid an internal build-up of anger. 6. Don't take anything personally............. This course of action could save you a fortune in unsmashed crockery !! Statistics and rules taken from www.angermanagement.co.uk ================================== WormVision2002
You go into work, you want to do your job - the job they advertised, the job they convinced you was exciting - with development opportunities for that caring, "we treat our employees well" organisation. So what do you get? The first few months - everything is fine. You enjoy the new "challenge". This is the work you always wanted to do. Then it starts to creep up on you. You have demonstrated your ability to do this job so now "can do" becomes "will do". Now you're starting to come into work earlier and earlier, lunch times are quick intervals when you grab a bite purely to ease the hunger pains and certainly not a time of quiet relaxation. 5.00pm becomes 5.15pm and now it's becoming 5.30pm and later. You're getting home tired and strung out and hungry. Almost instant relief is obtained by that glass of red or white wine on an empty stomach. One becomes two, two becomes three. You rehearse what you are going to do tomorrow and what you are going to say to stop those constant demands and the never ending pressure to do more within ever-decreasing timescales and with limited resources. But then before you know it, the alarm clock is ringing again and you're in work early once again before most other people trying to beat the timescale clock. So how do you change things? You've read all the books. You know the suggested solutions but it's a pity you're too weak to carry them through. STOP - Hold on a minute.... "you're too weak to carry them through". Stress in work is caused by bad management. It is not your fault. What is your fault is continuing to play the bad management game. Continuing to allow others to place unrealistic and often unnecessary demands on you while you sit back and suffer silently. Like the drugs campaign - "Just say no". Try it just once. Try saying "I'm sorry I can't do that today". Be prepared for the gui
lt which will follow. Be prepared for the fact that the professional standards which you always set yourself of being able to do everything efficiently and within time will change. Let yourself know that it's ok that you cannot deal with the quantity but be happy knowing that your ability to produce quality has not changed. Let yourself know that this is not your problem. They have given it to you and now they need to take it back. A Manager who does not recognise or refuses to deal with the stress of an employee is either stupid or a Bully. Remember they are paying you because they need you. No-one is doing anyone any favours. Recognise inordinate work-related stress for what it is - management bullying. If your child was being bullied you would know how to deal with that. You are not a child, don't let them make you feel like one. You have rights, you can do it - FIGHT BACK. Give the problem back to them. Just say NO.
Awake, she crawled out of bed and slowly made her way to the bathroom where she showered and felt the now familiar knot in her stomach as she fumbled with the buttons of her blouse. She tried to eat some toast because she knew she had lost weight but nausea prevented this. Just holding back tears, jaw clenched tightly she walked towards the bus stop. From another space she heard the scream of brakes, a car horn sounding, a person yelling. As though in a dream, she was aware of a man's concerned face as he shouted at her for walking out in front of his car. As sobs tore from Allison's throat, she wondered how she could ever have found herself in this situation. Three years ago Allison was a bright, confident young woman. Optimistic by nature she worked for a growing secure business in a middle management position. Engaged to be married to a man she dearly loved, her only concern was for her mother who was being cared for in a residential home after a severe stroke. Then the chance of promotion arose for her partner, which he accepted and moved to another part of the country. They kept in contact for a while until one day, he phoned to say that he had met someone else. She was devastated. With her mother still very ill, her friends were concerned that she would not cope with the added strain but she pulled through with a renewed interest in her work. She found herself refusing evenings out as work was brought home, she justified it because promotion was a possibility. her mother's health deteriorated and six months later, she died. Once again, she accepted this event with comparative ease and simply delved deeper into her work which by now had become all-consuming, even at weekends. Her friends tried to encourage her to slow down and relax, but Allison would not, or could not listen. They recognised what Allison did not, that she was heading for a breakdown. Unfortunately, unlike many illnesses, stress does not
manifest itself with a cough or a rash that can be quickly assessed and dealt with. Stress sneaks up on us, incubating for months or even years, until, like Allison, we find ourselves in a state of very poor physical and mental health. The good news is that the tell tale signs are evident along the way, if we choose to look for them. We respond to stress physically, emotionally and in the way we behave. It is important to discover how we respond to these signs because unless and until we recognise our symptoms, we will not be able to learn to prevent or minimise them. Given that we do realise we are under stress or stressed out, what can we do about it? There are many techniques in the complementary arena of preventative medicine: Aroma Therapy, Reflexology, Homeopathy, Shiatsu, to name but a few, will relieve symptoms of stress if practised regularly. However, if you discovered a technique that could relieve stress, improve your physical and mental health, improve your self esteem and relationships, is free and only involves sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes a day, would you do it? It's called meditation and before you dismiss it, it does not mean that you sit cross-legged, in coloured robes for hours at a time! Meditation is a collective term for a number of techniques used to still the mind, relax the body and produce a state of inner calmness. In medical terms it is a state of deep relaxation, which allows the blood pressure to drop, breathing to slow down and the body to rest, while the mind stays in a notion of relaxed alertness. Meditation may be an ancient spiritual discipline but anyone can learn it, you don't have to be religious, and it doesn't belong to a cult or group. It does need commitment to taking responsibility for your own health and willingness to practice daily. Getting started is the hardest part so here are a few guidelines. • Make time every day: 15-20 minut
es is effective but initially five minutes twice per day will form a routine. • Find a quiet comfortable place: Take the phone off the hook and sit with your back straight and feet firmly on the floor. Rest your hands lightly on your lap. • Relax and breathe: Just focus on your breath and begin to take long deep breaths. Count slowly to four as you inhale and exhale. If other thoughts intrude (and they will) let them pass and gently go back to your breathing. • Finish off: Open your eyes and gently stretch. Get up slowly to prevent dizziness. • Accept that you may not succeed at first: Commit yourself to six weeks of practising five minutes at a time. It is essential to practice daily for beneficial results. _____________________________________________ Symptoms of stress; • Physical Butterflies in stomach Unable to eat/desire to eat Nausea Fast, irregular heartbeat Dry mouth Sweaty hands Breathlessness Restlessness • Emotional Feeling depressed Lack of interest in life Irritable Anxious Fear of the future Loss of self confidence Crying or weeping Fear or cynicism • Behavioural Over activity / lethargy Difficulty in making decisions Difficulty in concentrating Inefficiency Increased errors in work Excessive smoking/drinking/substance abuse
A very fine man once taught me that there is no reality in life. There is just our realization of how we think things are. It's like the old question of whether a bottle is half empty or half full. We all see things and life differently. What is important to you may be trivial to me - or vice versa. A lot of our feelings about what is happening in our lives are simply how it seems to us. It could appear to be something completely different to an onlooker. If that bottle is red wine, it's half empty to me but would be half full to my boyfriend - who wouldn't want to drink it anyway. My feeling therefore is that stress is something we create in our mind. It's all down to how we view the situation that is causing us the anxiety. Perhaps if we viewed things a bit differently life might not be so bad. Let me give you a simple example ... Alan owes James £500 which has to be repaid in the morning. Alan is in a right old state, he hasn't any money to pay James. He can't sleep, his heart is thumping, his stomach is churning and he is feeling awful. What is he going to do? How on earth can he get any money? James of course is fast asleep. It's no good, Alan picks up the phone and rings James, "I'm sorry but I can't pay you that £500. I haven't got any money." He puts the phone down and feels an immediate sense of relief. The pressure is off, so much so that he falls into a deep, relaxed sleep. Meanwhile James is almost in a state of panic. He's tossing and turning in bed worried about how he will ever get his money. The onus and the problem/stress have been switched from Alan to James. If only we could resolve all stress, even temporarily, as easily as Alan! Stress isn't exactly new. It's been around since the beginnings of man. Even today, we probably all need some stress in our lives to make us tick properly. As with most things it
can be good or bad. There is a theory in psychology called the Yerkes-Dodson Law. This says that anxiety improves our performance until a certain level is reached. Beyond this our performance starts to go downhill as higher and higher levels of anxiety are experienced. If we allow stress and anxiety to dominate us then we may start to feel physical symptons such as: depression, tension, sleeping difficulties, backache, headache. We may take to over indulgence of eating, alcohol, smoking or drugs and it can also mess up relationships. So the answer is simple. We don't have to avoid all stress. We just have to find our individual maximum stress level. Well perhaps simple to write. Now the interesting thing about stress is that generally speaking it has nothing to do with 'now'. Stress is all about the 'future'. It's about what we perceive 'will' happen to us. It's a fear of what we think may come about at a later time or date. We may get the sack if we don't finish the project on time at work or don't sell enough widgets. We may fail those important exams, miss an important meeting if we get stuck in a traffic jam and so on. We worry and get stressed out by things that 'may' possibly happen. The 'what may happens' can start to engulf us as we allow them more credance until sometimes they completely overwhelm us. Most of these sort of fears never actually materialise and yet we can get in such a pickle about them. I don't profess to be a stress expert so my answers to stress management are about what works for me, so here goes ... To me the opposite to stress is relaxation. To help me with this I do yoga and meditation most days. I genuinely feel this has calmed me down considerably and is a good way of balancing out any stress that has built up during the day. I think we all need some quiet time on our own to think, relax and just chill out. I re
alise that this is easier for me than if I had children running around but all things are possible if we want them to be. I'm a believer of not putting off anything that needs to be done. This can apply to some small household job, paying a bill or whatever to any major problem, say with a relationship, health concern or worry over a relative. I see a lot of stress as being about not facing up to something. Get things sorted and there is no problem to cause the stress, let it fester and bigger problems can follow. As in the Alan and James example if I can't do something myself, be it at home or work, I put the onus on someone else to get the job done. This can be anything from getting my boyfriend to pick up the dry cleaning to passing some jobs over to other colleagues at work. We can all only do so much. We don't have to, nor should we, take the whole world on our shoulders. This means we have to learn to be assertive and know when to say 'no' (well to some things). I don't see this as selfish and it doesn't mean that we shouldn't help others. It just means keeping things in proportion and being in control. If stress still rears its ugly head it has to be faced up to and dealt with. Denial won't make it go away, so ... 1) What is causing the stress? 2) In what way is the stress affecting me? 3) What can I do about it? I think there is nearly always something that can be done to correct a stressful situation. It usually takes some positive action. There are, unfortunately, sometimes extreme circumstances that may not be resolved immediately, things totally beyond our control. This is where our quiet relaxation time may help ease the strain - at the end of the day being worried and anxious won't help anyone - easier said than done, I know. Stress management is also a mixture of many other positive things: Looking after our health and havin
g a good self image helps as does seeing the good in people around us. Most important I feel is realising that I am in control of my thoughts and my life. The responsibility with how I feel and react is down to me. I can choose how I want to be. And get rid of all that tension, let it out. If nothing else works have some good sex - well I had to fit it in somewhere in the opinion! If that still doesn't do the trick try ... 1) Watch your breathing and let your stomach muscles relax. 2) Breath deep, hold for a few seconds and then release. Feel your stomach muscles relax further. 3) Focus your attention on your stomach and relax them more and more. Feel your shoulders and neck relax. 4) Tense your body, clench your fists. Now relax all of your body - as you do so visualise a warm sunny day, a beautiful beach with golden sands and palm trees gently blowing in the warm breeze - you get the picture! Whatever, relax. Everything is only how we 'think' it is. So I feel everything is pretty good! Kay.
Do you have another bill to add to your ever growing collection? Maybe you need urgent repairs to your house and can't afford them. Are your exams looming and you are convinced that you will fail? Is there too much month left for the money in the bank? Do you feel as though you will lash out, or scream, if anyone else makes demands on you? If you feel as though you just want to pull the blankets over your head and hide you are probably suffering from stress. This is something we all suffer from in varying degrees. Sometimes it gets too much and we begin to show psychological and even physical symptoms that things aren't as they should be. There is no shame is admitting that you are stressed, or even so stressed that you need help. So, what are the most common signs of stress? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Mood swings, Anxiety, Spots or hives (itchy lumps), Tiredness even after sleeping, Muscle tension creating headache, backache and stomach problems, Lack of concentration, Insomnia, Poor appetite or even binge eating, Difficulty with memory, Depression and a general feeling of very low self esteem. If you have some or most of these symptoms you are probably trying to cope with too much all at once. Once you notice these things happening to you its important to do something about it. If you don't you may end up with high blood pressure, a heart attack, or other serious, irreversible conditions. If your body runs in 'over-drive' for too long something is bound to give. How can you help yourself? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As soon as you start feeling over-tired, over-sensitive, tearful and irritable about life in general you know you have a problem. Stop and think about what aspects of your life are causing all this stress. Decide which areas can be eased. Where do yo
u have a choice too lessen the strain? Ask yourself if you are expecting too much of yourself or driving yourself too hard. Try to help your body regain its balance and ability to cope by eating properly, even if you don't want to, cutting down on alcohol and tobacco (you will probably have increased your consumption of both of these if you take them, inorder to cope with the stress.) Try eating more fruit, vegetables and pasta type meals. Drink fruit juice and get proper sleep. This sounds like really boring advice but, believe me, it helps your body recover and helps stave of infection. You may find that you pick up every germ that's going round if your body is stressed. Do something each day that you enjoy. Choose something that allows you to just shut out your problems and concentrate on yourself. Music and sports are good for this. If someone asks you to do something and you are already stressed, just say no. Don't feel that you have to agree when you already have too much on your plate. Your friends will understand. Well, they might not at first but most will agree that your health and welfare must come first if they are real friends! Who can help you? +++++++++++++++++ Many colleges and universities have special welfare facilities when you can talk to trained counsellors, in confidence, about your problems and associated stress. Tell a friend and get them to help you sort out what is important and what can wait. If you aren't at college or university and feel that you need help contact your GP and ask to be referred. Alternatively, if the issues causing the stress are legal or financial, you may find help at your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. IF YOU NEED HELP WITH STRESS DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK, IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU ARE WEAK OR UNABLE TO COPE!
I could call myself a “semi housewife” now but this hasn’t always been the case. I stopped working full time a few short months ago as I wanted to spend more time with my husband and my children and due to our financial circumstances I am lucky that I can afford to do this. I still do work part time, but it is on my terms, which is nice as I am now able to fit in what I do around my home life rather than the other way around. I worked as a stress management and group therapist for 13 years. I have watched how medical care has changed and I can only say that I am glad that medicine is at last taking on a more holistic approach , now utilising many alternative treatments . I spent many years studying the effects of stress and anxiety. Over time I have become a firm believer that alternative medicine can be of great benefit to an individual and have used a combination of this and traditional medicine in my work philosophy. I now practise the art of reflexology as my “part time occupation” but that’s another opinion, for this one I will concentrate on stress, anxiety and its management. A BRIEF INTRODUCTION ********************* What did primitive man do when there were no General Practitioners and no Hospitals? To cut a long story short, it is well known that the earth we live on has always provided through plants and herbs cures for all our ailments. Primitive man learned what worked for what illness and utilised this knowledge well. Unfortunately we have sprayed our crops with chemicals, polluted the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. We have developed an impersonal way of treating illnesses and of suppressing symptoms rather than curing the ailment in the first place. Medicine, for many years, became an impersonal thing that was associated with the “modern living “ we now enjoy. Symptoms were managed through chemical s
ynthesis rather than an answer sought as to the reasons behind them in the first place. Luckily things are now starting to change and the medical profession agrees that “holistic” care is now the best approach, Many G.P’s now embrace the idea of alternative therapy. Why is Fluffy rambling I hear you think, well actually I am not. I am trying to set the scene for you. Many physical and emotional ailments today can be put down to a high degree of stress and anxiety. We will come to this later. The medical profession has proved this fact. Unfortunately it is only within the last 15 years or so that stress and anxiety have been taken seriously. This is where I come in. I was one of a few practitioners who specialised in stress and severe anxiety management without the over use of high levels of sedatives. I used other techniques which I will share with you and which you may find of some use within your own particular lifestyles. Some of these techniques were very new at the time I took on my job and as we have progressed through the 90’s and into the millennia, I find that alternative treatments are now much more widely accepted. WHAT IS STRESS AND ANXIETY? ***************************** *Emotions ----------- Stress is an emotion. We have many don’t we, ranging from happy ones to sad, with various things in between such as anger. Anxiety is the result of stress. Holistic medicine teaches us that our body can be considered as being a dynamic energy system that is constantly changing. Imagine a river flowing. It flows through varying degrees of swiftness there may even be waterfalls along the way. A river runs its course though and always reaches its final destination. But what if that river gets blocked? A flood occurs. This diverts the rivers energy into a negative and destructive pathway. This analogy is a little bit like what happens when stress
and anxiety become a problem. We are complex and a balance of physical, mental and spiritual aspects that are directly affected by our social circumstances and environment. Emotions can have an impact on our physical self without us even sometimes being aware. *Physiological effects of stress -------------------------------- I have to point out that a small degree of stress is not bad. We are equipped to deal with intense short-term stress, such as appearing in a play or giving a lecture or a speech. There are situations we have to face when a certain level of stress does actually help us cope with varying situations. How to cope with an awkward work situation or perhaps when you are nearly missing your train home, these are examples of tolerable stresses. It is when the body’s reaction to this stress becomes intolerable and leads to high levels of anxiety that problems occur. Then even tolerable stress becomes intolerable. It is prolonged and constant stress that makes the body more prone to disease and an anxiety induced illness. Stress is basically a primitive reaction and goes back to times when man had to run for his life or stand and fight for it. The actual reaction to stress itself is called “fight or flight”. Various hormones get released into the body these get carried through the blood stream and the body is “speeded up”. Glucose is released into the bloodstream and more blood is sent to the body’s muscles. Your heart pounds and your stomach churns because of the adrenaline in your system. This also causes you to sweat in profusion. Air passages relax more and in that instant the body prepares itself for a fight or to run away. This may be accompanied by an urge to use the toilet more frequently. This is because the body is actually trying to make itself lighter to me more effective at responding to the source of the stress. We’ve all felt
that at sometime haven’t we and it is a natural reaction to stress. Some people get “stuck” in this reaction and the body will always for them prepare to flee. This is an abnormal stress reaction. One that can produce a disabling effect until properly managed. Resulting conditions ---------------------- Below I have listed some of the commonest physiological conditions resulting from stress: Heart problems Angina High blood pressure Strokes Stomach ulcers Digestive problems Headaches Back and neck pain There is a theory that cancer can be induced by high levels of stress *Psychological effects of stress --------------------------------- The mind is a powerful thing. We still know next to nothing about the concepts of the neural network and the role of the brain. We still have much to learn in this area. The power of thought whilst being a good thing ,in its negativity can be very destructive. Negativity can create an incredible amount of tension within the body giving disease the chance to present itself. Worry can have a disturbing effect on the body and psyche as can guilt. Our minds can play tricks on us and when under considerable stress it creates the ability for thoughts to get heightened into paranoid ideas. I expect all of us at some time or another have felt this. “He’s looking at me”, “she hates me”. Know the feeling? It is a typical stress induced reaction. Or how about a friend that says something to you that you deem to be unkind. You may be hurt by this remark, perhaps you don’t show this but underneath you feel upset and possibly angry. A few hours after you may have a thumping headache. Your mind has allowed your body control over your physical self as a direct response to the stress you felt at that time. You channelled your emotions to be well hidden and as a direct respon
se to this you suffer a headache. This is where the stress and emotion is then allowed to display itself as a negative energy. Eventually stress in its psychological form can lead to acute panic attacks. Resulting conditions ---------------------------- Here are some of the commonest. You will notice how some of the ones I have listed also appear in the physiological resulting conditions: Insomnia Depression Anxiety Acute psychiatric disorders Mood swings Headaches Allergies Asthma Fainting Stomach disorders Stomach ulcers Forgetfulness and lack of concentration Psychosomatic complaints Severe fatigue Panic attacks ----------------- At the worst degree our bodies can become stuck in the physical mechanism by which a “fight or flight” reaction occurs. Some individuals reaction to even small amounts of stress is to instinctively flee. Their subconscious has decided for some reason that whatever sort of stressful situation they are placed under their whole reaction will be to flee. There maybe no reason for this or a deep-seated reaction to a situation that could have had a tremendous effect on that person some time before hand or as a child. Panic attacks are incredibly difficult to cope with. Imagine your own reactions to a normal stressful situation then times this by 100. Imagine yourself sweating heavily, your heart feels like it is going to explode, your whole body is painful and then you start to hyperventilate. This could even lead to a loss of consciousness. Some people deal with these symptoms every day of their lives. An unpleasant thought isn’t it? You would be surprised today at just how many people suffer from panic attacks (usually in secret) as it is only now that the general public are allowing becoming more aware of this type of affliction. Not so very long ago a person may have been told to “
;pull themselves together” or have been placed in a mental institution. This type of stress reaction can take years to get managed effectively and usually it is with the help of a professional therapist. **NOTE** Panic attacks are complex stress reactions. I could not justify here all the reasoning behind them it is a subject that deserves to be written as an opinion on its own .I have read on dooyoo many accounts of fellow dooyooers who have suffered from them and I suggest that if you want to know about them you read some of those very good opinions. Much more understanding and empathy now exists within the medical profession and a whole new set of alternatives are being offered to the general public for effective stress management, particularly since it has been observed as to how closely stress has a physical impact on the body. It is now deemed more sensible to treat the “stress” rather than wait for the accompanying disorder to develop. STRESS MANAGEMENT ******************** Lets deal with this in two stages. Lets first look at those who know that they are feeling “stressed out” but are still in control of their reactions. Those who just need ideas to help them relax more. Then lets look at the help available to those people who have a stress and anxiety level, which is so high that it is starting to effect their lifestyle to a high degree. 1...**I know I need to relax more --What could I do? ------------------------------------------ I have already touched on stress and why it occurs. You will start to notice when you feel out of your depth with a problem. Maybe you are getting a lot of headaches, back pain or has your blood pressure gone up. All early indications that things are not ok and that you ARE tenser than you should be. Perhaps you have suffered bereavement, are worried about your financial positio
n, your job is awful, you are undergoing exams or you feel unloved. These are but a few reasons, but what should you do? You could ignore it and hope it goes away, it might yes, but what if it doesn’t and your physical health starts to deteriorate or even your mental health. That would effect you more wouldn’t it? Lets look at ways in which it would be possible to have a significant effect on helping you cope with the stress levels you are enduring at that specific time and ways in which this will help at a later date to help you stay in control and manage your stress effectively. **NOTE** All the therapies I am including in my opinion are again well deserved of their own dooyoo opinions too. It would make my opinion too long by writing about each one in specific detail. Many of these have been written about already and I suggest you have a look at some that appear on the dooyoo site. You will gain a wealth of knowledge. There is a site on the Internet that will also provide you with all the information you will need as regards alternative health care and stress management whether your problem is severe or mild. It also lists all the ways in which you can access different therapies and therapists within your area. It will also give you an idea of the costs of various therapies. The web site can be found at: www.stress.org.uk ** Touch therapies ------------------- Much research has been done over the past 20 years as to how touch in itself manifests healing. It is proven that touch reduces stress and anxiety. Our body is a dynamic system that has its own flow of energy. Touch is said to re align this energy back to a positive flow and so reduce stress. Have you ever known anyone that as soon as they walk into a room they instantly have an impact on you that makes you feel happier? This is the same principle as the principle of touc
h. Many people have the ability to seem to promote wellness just by their presence alone. It is their ”energy” that touches you. Sometimes a person can touch you on the arm reassuringly and you immediately feel less anxious than before. Have you ever touched someone to reassure them? I am sure you have it is a natural reaction. Touch therapy utilises the capacity to change the body’s energy flow and so promotes good health and a reduction in the level of stress that the body had built up. There are many such therapies available today. *Reflexology ------------------ For those of you that haven’t tried this I would highly recommend this treatment as being advantageous to stress reduction. That is not all it is used for. It can be used as an alternative treatment for many diseases and disorders. Basically it is foot massage. The reflexologist will concentrate on various “zones” on the soles of your feet, your toes, upper foot and ankles. Afterwards you will feel like you are walking on air. The reflexologist uses no gadgets, just their hands to manipulate the feet. * Pets -------- Did you know in some hospitals now there are actually groups that bring pets onto the wards for the patients to stroke? It has been proven that for some reason this helps stress, which promotes well being which in turn improves the body’s physical condition. I always feel less stressed when my cat is curled up on my lap purring away happily. * Massage and aromatherapy massage ---------------------------------- The therapist massages the body concentrating on areas of specific tension, so allowing its gradual release and so allowing the body to feel less stressed, more able then to go back to the chores of daily living. Physically the heartbeat is lowered allowing less pressure on the heart to perform and so allowing the body to feel
more relaxed. Aromatherapy is massage with the addition of essential oils. Each oil corresponds to a certain condition and its treatment. If you haven’t tried massage I suggest that you do it is an absolutely wonderful way to relax. If you have a partner then I suggest you try massaging each other in the evenings before going to bed as it will promote a good nights sleep (oh that one could get me into all sorts of trouble, it can be a highly sensual thing to do too and I should point out that sexual activity helps reduce stress levels too) *Yawning and sighing --------------------- Now this I can say is a very good tip. If you ever find yourself in a situation that is very stressful and are finding it difficult to cope with make yourself yawn .Yes that’s right I did say yawn! Yawning has the effect of enabling the body to reduce its level of stress. There is a reason behind this as yawning stimulates various zones with in the head and neck region which then play a role in telling the mind that the body is getting ready to relax. Try it, it works. Sighing has a similar effect, but stimulates stress reduction through breathing, which sends messages to the brain, which then sends messages to the body that it needs to relax. *Stimulation through smell sight and sound ------------------------------------------- Smell ----- There are some aromas that are instantly wonderful at making you feel relaxed. Lavender always makes me feel that way; funny enough so does the smell of baked bread. Supermarkets use various aromas these days to encourage subliminal buying. The smell of baked bread always makes me buy another loaf! Lots of shops these days concentrate on aromatherapy. Various oils are sold that can stimulate you or relax you. A good shop or health food store will provide you with this information as will any good aroma therapist.
Sight ------- Ever looked into a fire and seen the flames flicker in the hearth. It makes you feel relaxed if you look long enough. The mind relaxes and the chemical balance within the body is changed enough to reduce stress. Candles work along the same principle. Look at one for long enough and your mind will start to wander and relax. Good therapy within itself. These days you can get candles that also incorporate aromas so the smell also helps this process of relaxation too. Sound ------ Listening to music can help relaxation. A really good piece of music to by is that of a rainstorm. It is surprisingly wonderfully relaxing, just make sure before you listen to it that you have had a wee or believe you me you will want one! *Exercise and diet --------------------- Exercise has the ability to alter the body’s reaction to stress too. Hormones are also released into the bloodstream, which are very similar to those, which are released during periods of stress. These hormones have the ability to encourage the internal organs to give optimum performance. A bit like adding oil to the car engine. Without oil you add to the engines level of stress. It has been proven that a 15-minute walk or more each day has the ability to promote the body’s health and also reduce the effects of stress by bringing different hormones within the body into play. Everyone knows that a good diet is essential to productive health. Eat a well balanced diet and your stress level will be more evenly balanced too. * Meditation --------------- By allowing anxiety to be in charge you have effectively allowed your body to take charge of you rather than you take charge of it. Meditation is a way in which you can effectively reverse this role so you can regain control. There are many different types of meditation here are a few common examples: Yoga. Guided imagery. Pr
ogressive relaxation. Many community centres offer you the chance to take classes in meditation. It is an ideal way of being able to effectively manage your reaction to stress. The mind is trained to focus on one particular thing whilst other things are excluded. This improves the capacity to be able to concentrate in your daily life and the over all ability to cope with life’s general problems and as a result decreasing the likelihood of physical illness. http://www.stmarys.org/health/drelax/imagry.asp will offer you various guided imagery techniques and instructions. 2...**I cannot cope I feel stressed and anxious all the time ---------------------------------------- For whatever reason stress and anxiety can manifest itself into a bigger problem. You may not be able to sleep, feel depressed, experience many physical symptoms of anxiety and don’t know where to turn for help. This type of stress can have a large and significant impact on your life as a whole and prevent you doing a lot of things that you previously had been. You may avoid your friends and wander how you are ever going to get a solution to the way you are feeling. So what do you do? *See your G.P ----------------- Nowadays stress and the problems it manifests is a recognisable illness in itself. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Various events can lead to copious amounts of stress....death, divorce, money worries, addiction to prescribed drugs the list goes on doesn’t it. Your G.P will be equipped to help you and deal with this problem. The first step will be to refer you to a stress therapist. *The stress therapist -------------------------- Consultation with a stress therapist through the N.H.S is free. A word of advice here, you need to get on with your therapist. If you do not build up rapport they will not be able to help you effecti
vely. If this is the case go back to see your G.P who can refer you to see somebody else. Step1 ------ The first stage in seeing a stress therapist will involve taking down your medical details. All aspects of your life will be covered from your medical history, your family history, and your social life even what your religious beliefs are. This is part of caring for an individual as a whole i.e. “holistic care“. A plan of stress reduction will then be implemented. Medication ----------- Unfortunately during the 1950’s and 1960’s right up until the present day sedatives have been dished out willy nilly to the unsuspecting general public. They do have their uses in the SHORT-term control of anxiety but the long-term disadvantages are severe. A majority of tranquillisers are addictive and guess what, the side effects of these category of drugs are EXACTLY the symptoms for which they were prescribed for in the first place, the main ones being anxiety and depression and insomnia! So not only did you suffer from anxiety in the first place the condition is made worse by the medication. I do agree they are useful in certain situations as a short-term measure and G.P’s are now sensible as to their prescribing of them. Unfortunately that does not help the countless number of individuals who are now addicted to them. It is an achievement to give them up and one well worth it. My advice is if you have a dependency on this type of drug to work with your G.P in finding out a method that will suit you for their withdrawal and then to find a way of stress management. Your G.P will know of therapists that specialise in this field that can help. One type of therapist is a stress management therapist. Talking/ counselling --------------------- All therapists are aware of the value of therapeutic talk. When stress gets to a level that is intol
erable one of the methods utilized by a therapist is talking. You could also call this counselling. An individual is encouraged to look at their problems, examine them, talk about the reasons for them and helped to provide possible solutions. Sometimes a person may not even be aware as to why they feel so stressed and anxious or suppress their feelings about their worries bottling them up until an anxiety reaction occurs. Counselling can be individual or in a group with others who suffer from the same thing. Bio Feedback -------------- A therapist will use a biofeedback machine during their sessions. An electrode is fastened to the fingers (this isn’t painful, it is implanted into a Velcro fastening) which picks up changes in heart rate and muscle constriction. The machine can help you by enabling you to concentrate on your stress level and actively reduce it during the relaxation techniques that your therapist will go through. It is an ideal tool to show just how much your body does react to stress and how you can empower yourself to reduce these levels by relaxing. Relaxation techniques ----------------------- Three types of relaxation techniques are available. a. Progressive relaxation (whereby all the muscles of the body are tensed and relaxed in a certain order) b. Relaxation and breathing techniques (whereby breathing is done in a controlled way over a certain amount of breaths being inhaled and exhaled over a set amount of seconds) Some people experience hyperventilation or rapid breaths when very anxious .This form of relaxation helps you take charge of your breathing and so reduce your anxiety extremely quickly. An effective technique when practised and used on a day to day basis. c. Guided Imagery (whereby you are led through relaxation via your therapist within a sort of story telling technique) Any good therapist will give their clients tapes of
all these techniques so that they can practise them at home on a daily basis. For details of these steps if you want to try them yourself this is a useful web address for you: http//trustweb.20m.com/relaxation.htm Alternative therapies ------------------------ Many therapists utilize alternative therapy nowadays. A lot of alternative practitioners also donate free time to helping stress therapists and a lot of therapists themselves are qualified in one or more alternative techniques. Most will use a combination of the techniques I have already mentioned such as reflexology, aromatherapy, yoga and so on. Step 2 ------- It doesn’t happen overnight. Stress maintenance can take months and sometimes years to work effectively. It takes commitment to setting out a plan for yourself to promote relaxation techniques and re educate your mind and body that there are other alternatives available other than the “fight or flight” response. It is worth the hard work though to improve your physical and mental well being and put you back on the right track for maintaining healthy relationships with others and with the world itself. Once these techniques are mastered you will find that they are very effective and prevent the downhill spiral of feeling unable to cope ever happening again. **NOTE** I should stress that dealing with panic attacks is slightly more an intense anxiety management. It would take another opinion to go into the therapists role in dealing with this specific problem. The web sites I have included should be of some help here but if you are a sufferer of panic attacks it s very important you seek advice from your G.P and they can they get you referred to somebody that will be able to help. I hope this opinion has helped and been informative. Fluffy. <br><br>