Stress is what we feel when we have to respond to a demand on our energy. Scientifically put, it is what happens inside of our bodies when adrenalin is released from the adrenal glands causing our hearts to beat faster.
If this happens now and again, it is alright but if it happens again and again it is known as Chronic Stress.
This is an area of concern because it can have the following effects:
- It can have a serious effect on health.
- It can raise blood pressure putting a strain on the heart.
- It can suppress the immune system, increasing the likelihood of getting ill.
- It can change the metabolism of the body which might result in weight gain and cause heartburn.
- It can lead to mental health issues.
These are all things that I personally would prefer not to experience, but I must be honest and admit that I have spent a huge part of my life being stressed about one thing or another. Fortunately, apart from becoming run down, and experiencing a brief spell of anxiety following a particularly challenging time in my life I have not developed Chronic Stress. I have been awfully close though, and thanks to my GP who pointed this out I have become very mindful of how I am feeling and how I am being.
Managing stress is a decision, and there are several ways in which we can keep our stress levels in check and chronic stress at bay. One of my favourite tools is using a questionnaire that I was introduced to when I went for my Mental Health First Aid Training Course with MIND. I have found these 7 questions so useful:
- Do I have any evidence to support my feelings about my stressors?
- What can I change?
- What can’t I change?
- What needs my urgent attention?
- Can anyone help me?
- What are some unhelpful coping strategies?
- What are some of my helpful coping strategies?
These questions have given me the power to control my situation where managing stress is concerned, and this is an ongoing process for me. It has made me more open in expressing how I feel and what I am going through to others – those who can help or support me in some way.
For this to be effective though, you first need to identify the cause or root of your stress. It is likely that it can be a combination of several things, but this is something we can ascertain and work out for ourselves. Have a go at taking control – Be aware of what is going on with you!
Stress is a normal part of our lives and always will be. We need some level of stress to motivate and drive us, but we don’t want to be overwhelmed by it, so the next time you feel stressed please have a go at these 7 questions and see if they help.