Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Living With Stress

What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s reaction to an event or circumstance that our bodies perceive as a challenge. Our nervous system responds to this threat by releasing stress hormones including adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones get the body ready for action. Our bodies were designed to survive. Stress kicks off the fight or flight response. When this occurs our bodies change – our heart beats faster, our breath quickens as our muscles tighten, our blood pressure and our respiration rate increase, our digestion slows and there is an increase of glucose secretion from the liver to prepare us to react to the upcoming challenge.

When the threat or challenge is over, then our bodies hit a clear point where the stress cycle concludes with relaxation. You begin to take long slow breaths as all the tension drains from your body. The heart rate returns to normal, blood pressure returns to normal, muscles relax and your body settles back into its normal state. This is the relaxation response. It is the critical point in maintaining a healthy state within your body.

Is Stress Normal?

A little bit of stress is very normal and is even beneficial in getting us moving throughout the day. For example when we need to get to work on time or have a deadline for a project or even the stress of feeding your hunger. A little bit of stress keeps us motivated, on task and excited even for a challenge. This is good, productive stress. But it is very important for us to acknowledge when the stress we are dealing with is too much. It is also important to note that stress is subjective. What one person sees as a stress another person will not be challenged at all.

How to Recognize when Stress Is Destructive?

Stress can sneak up on us. Sometimes it might be that we have been stressed for so long that it is starting to feel normal.  We all experience stress differently but some of the signs you can look for are:
·         Becoming unproductive, fatigued and exhausted.
·         Start to be short tempered and irrational.
·         Headaches, allergies, rashes or ulcers may occur.
·         Getting depressed depressed and withdraw, or anxious with a million thought running through our mind.
·         Constant worrying, feeling l isolated and moody.
 These are some of the warning signs. When you start to manifest the stress into physical conditions then it’s time to take responsibility and work out a better plan to take care of yourself.

What are some causes of stress in our modern day?
Not every stress is seen as a negative but can put a big strain on you. For example, getting married, buying a home and moving, a new baby, new job e.t.c…
Other stressors can include financial issues, relationship troubles, fear, poor health, self-criticism, being too busy or may be the inability to accept change.

Why is Too Much Stress a Problem?

Remember at the beginning we talked about the flight or fight response and then at the end of the threat the relaxation response kicks in? Well when we are stressed and we are constantly stressed, that means are bodies are constantly is a state of tension, high blood pressure, fast heart beats, and shallow breathing. When under chronic stress and our bodies have not been given the chance to return to a normal healthy state, and if left untreated illness and disease will occur.  This can be anything from heart disease, pains of any kind, blood pressure problems, immunity problems, skin conditions, and sleep disorders to name a few.

Taking Responsibility for Stress in Your Life.

When in a very stressful situation one might feel that life is beyond their control. And you may be right. Some situations we cannot control but we do have control over how we respond to what life throws at us. We can control our thoughts, feelings and emotions. We can choose to take charge of what we can control. If we can change the stressful situation, than do it. If we can’t (not won’t), then control what you can.

Learn strategies to relax. Some examples include:
1.       Meditation. Focused attention on the now. Giving your body the chance to wind down, recover and begin to heal itself.
2.       Deep focused breathing. This is a natural state of restfulness. When concentrating on your breathing you are giving your body permission to relax. The oxygen is taken deep into your cells and the muscles will relax.
3.       Physical Exercise – this promotes the circulation of hormones, helps us use excess cortisol( too much cortisol weakens our immune system), and increases the serotonin levels, improves the cardiovascular system and our psychological health.
4.       White Light –Visualising the white light coming into your body on the in breath and exhaling the stress as a dark colour on the outbreath. Relax and continue doing this until you feel calm, rest and relaxed.
5.       Checking in with your body throughout the day – See that you muscles are relaxed, especially your neck, shoulders, face and jaw.

Crystals to Support Stress
·         Aragonite – Helpful during periods of stress and anger as it provides ease of centering oneself.
·         Azurite – gives comfort by calming anxiety associated with disease.
·         Chlorocalcite – is a calming agent and can be used to produce an inner reflection concerning that which can potentially cause stress in one’s life.
·         Gold – Helps with the over burden of responsibility, combats feelings of depression and inferiority and calms excitation and stages of anger
·         Howlite – Can be used to eliminate stress or rage
·         Kunzite – Can help with stress related diseases. Eliminates  energy blockages which encourage the dysfunction within the body
·         Labradorite – reduces anxiety and stress
·         Lepidolite – used for stress reduction and stress
·         related disorders
·         Fire Opal – Allows one to remain centered during times of decision making and stress
·         Rose Quartz -  Used to open the heart center allowing for the dissolution of stress and tension
·         Sunstone- used to dissipate fearfulness to alleviate stress and to increase vitality
·         Thunder Egg – The energy is one of joy and peace and is especially helpful in times of great stress
·         Turquoise – used to help treat skin conditions related to stress.

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