2 December 2015 Comments Off on Hitting stress & anxiety where it hurts

Hitting stress & anxiety where it hurts

anxStress is a word we hear on an almost daily basis, everyone claims to be ‘stressed out’ at seemingly the slightest thing, but this claim does a huge disservice to stress in its truest form.

When you are genuinely stressed, this can have not only a worrying effect on sleep and appetite, but it can also adversely affect health and wellbeing; in its most severe of forms, stress can exacerbate or cause serious health issues. For instance, if you’re under constant stress then you run the risk of potentially life-threatening illness, such as heart problems.

You can therefore understand why it is important to identify the cause of stress, and adapt to situations as effectively as possible.  Neurofeedback therapy has excellent scientific evidence for its ability to treat anxiety effectively.

It’s useful to understand what causes the physical and emotional symptoms of stress and anxiety, because this can help you realise that when you suffer an acute attack, the symptoms are a normal reaction, a chemical reaction of stress hormones peaking, when adrenaline and cortisol production increases, and your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This goes back to the days of cavemen, when identifying a potentially life-threatening (or perceived life-threatening) situation caused the individual to poise to fight the threat, or run away from it. An anxiety attack can be a worrying and upsetting occurrence, but it’s important to recognise that it will pass, and that it is just your body’s ‘peak’ response to a situation.

Coping mechanisms basically revolve around grabbing back control of a situation, which helps you feel more grounded and less stressed and anxious as a result. Learning to say ‘no’ is something most people find hard, because we seem to be pre-programmed to take on too much work, feeling almost as though we are failing if we refuse to do something. Too much work leads to a feeling of being out of control, which leads to stress and anxiety. People-pleasing is the root of feeling out of control.

Is it work which is stressing you out? Is it a relationship? Is it a friendship? Whatever it is, identifying it helps you to move forwards. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid stressful situations altogether, such as a demanding job, but you can look at ways to help you feel better about it. For instance, try to take the following steps:

  • Be sure to exercise and eat well to maintain your health. Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Take time to relax. Doing yoga, Tai Chi or meditation can be helpful.  Deep breathing is also a very helpful mechanism for when you start to feel that fluttering your chest or you feel panicky.
  • Maintain a positive attitude as much as possible, focus on planning your day and look to the future in a positive way.
  • Express your feelings in an appropriate way as much as possible. Bottling up your emotions will lead to more stress.
  • Take time to meet up with friends and maintain your social networks.

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