Stress is an important and useful part of life as long as it is managed in a healthy way. Stress is a physical response to threat that is responsible for survival. If we are faced with danger or a threat our body takes immediate action to prepare us to deal with whatever we are facing. This is known as the Fight or Flight response. This is a process by which our body prepares to fight our way out of danger or run away by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, shutting down body responses not necessary for survival and diverting blood to muscles in preparation for the physical action needed to stay alive. This provides a rush of energy and alongside that symptoms such as a quickened heart rate, faster breathing, increased focus which can be useful in many situations such as delivering a presentation, running away from danger, answering questions in a job interview.
However, sometimes we can become overwhelmed by stress or our fight / flight response can be activated in situations when it is not needed. This is when stress can become a problem and we may experience unhelpful symptoms such as racing thoughts, problems with focusing on tasks, feelings of irritability, troubled sleeping and eating. It is important that we find ways to manage stress effectively so that we do not become overwhelmed and live in a constant state of high alert in the Fight or Flight state.
Stretegies that can help:
Exercise, being creative, socialising with positive friends and family, having a healthy work / life balance, laughing every day, regularly taking part in fun hobbies, Mindfulness, healthy eating, share your problems with people you trust.
This list is not exhaustive, and it is important that you find the right strategies for you. Avoid unhealthy coping strategies such as over eating or drinking alcohol to manage your feelings.
If you are struggling with stress why not join my KALMind Course in Birmingham to meet with others in a supportive group and learn Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Positive Psychology strategies? If a group is not for you I offer Counselling in Birmingham that can help you with stress as well as other issues.
Always seek advice from your GP if you are worried that you are not coping with your stress levels.