The Center is for those wanting to purge their minds from the ravages of unwarranted, pernicious stress, as well as gain strength and flexibility. Our mission is to help those whose life is hampered by unwarranted, chronic stress, to awaken their joys and passions, to help them achieve psychosocial equilibrium, and inspire them to live the life they deserve.
We live in a hectic stress filled world where we are continually worrying about past, present, and future events. Just as fast food and junk food has led to unhealthy physical lifestyles, our day to day stresses are having negative effects on our mental state.
To achieve physical health we can cut out unhealthy food and exercise more. Though to become mentally healthy we need to remove stressors from our life and exercise our minds through meditation.
So let’s look at how to meditate and how one effectively incorporates it into their life to gain mental clarity and strength. The key is to understand that there is no single method to meditating and the goal is to find a method that works for you. So let us explore the world of meditation to find out what it is, why it is important, and what methods may be best for you.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is strength training for the mind. It allows us to focus our attention on the present moment and to block out unnecessary distractions. Through continued meditation, you will find you will be better able to manage stress and enjoy a calmer and more controlled lifestyle.
Meditation allows you to get inside your own mind in order to understand and control your thoughts. This will allow you greater focus to be able to make better choices in life. The key with any form of meditation is to devote yourself to it and practice it continually, even if it is just for a few minutes a day. As you begin to achieve a better sense of awareness and notice the many benefits of meditation, you will welcome it as a part of your daily life.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has many benefits both short term and long term. In addition to improving your mental state, it has the ability to also positively affect you physically as well. Here are just some of the key benefits to meditation.
Meditation allows you to control your breathing and focus on the present. It has the ability to remove clutter from your mind so you can tackle situations more effectively and without apprehension or worry.
Meditation can increase mental muscle and memory. It also often improves your senses such as sight and hearing. Extra control of your emotions allows you to focus on a task at hand without distraction.
Meditation encourages happiness through gaining self-awareness and learning to accept who you are. It also activates the part of your brain that is responsible for positive thoughts. Meditation has the ability to encourage you to live healthier in terms of diet and exercise which will give you a greater sense of pride.
Meditation increases blood flow to your brain, giving you more energy throughout your day. You will begin to procrastinate less and achieve more tasks effectively.
Meditation has the ability to lower your blood pressure and strengthen your immune system. It also allows you to relax, thereby reducing your respiratory rate and heart rate. Reduction of stress equates to less digestive problems, fewer headaches, and less chance of developing depression.
Ways to Meditate
There are many ways to meditate and you must decide what works best for your individual needs. It is recommended you start out lightly, not trying to meditate for long periods at first. This can easily cause frustration and discouragement. It is also better to meditate for smaller durations more regularly than to overwork your mind in long arduous sessions.
One of the best things about meditation is that it can be done almost anywhere. The key, however, is to select a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Once you have selected a suitable location, get comfortable by getting into a relaxing posture under calming lighting conditions.
At first, don’t get too hung up on achieving proper technique. When beginning meditation, it is more important to focus on relaxing and clearing your thoughts. Later you can optimize the following methods to achieve more effective results.
This form of meditation focuses on controlled breathing while allowing thoughts to emerge. You recognize and accept the thoughts but do not judge them. By letting your mind wander while staying focused on the present, you can reduce anxiety and depression.
To achieve the best results, sit with legs crossed, eyes closes, and your back straight.
This involves sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. You then repeat a mantra which is a word or sound that helps you concentrate. This form of meditation is said to help you achieve stillness, stability, and an absolute absence of mental boundaries. The key is to focus your attention away from negativity.
Heart Rhythm Meditation
Heart rhythm meditation is both powerful and easy to practice. It focuses on coordinating your breathing with your heartbeat. It can be performed while sitting with eyes closed or while walking or engaging in other activities. It prepares you for managing stress effectively as opposed to relieving it. It increases your ability to control your emotions so you can avoid being consumed by stress. It has physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
Guided Visualization Meditation
Lie down or seat yourself in a comfortable position with spine straight and legs uncrossed. Begin taking deep breaths until you feel relaxed and then visualize a peaceful scene. To help achieve a better state of relaxation, you can also play soothing music or make use of incense.
Once you feel at peace, you can focus on visualizing positive thoughts such as accomplishing goals. By visualizing relaxing and positive experiences, your body will generate feelings of positivity. It is a great way to relieve stress and work on personal development.
We can all use a little assistance when it comes to dealing with stress and solving problems in life. The dilemma is deciding what form of assistance will be most beneficial to you. Both a life coach or therapist are effective ways to help guide you through your life, but what is a better fit for you?
We aim to look into these two professional help services to bring you their differences so you can decide which is a better use of your time and money. Both therapists and life coaches can aid you in making positive life choices so long as they are highly qualified.
So let’s look at the differences between a life coach and a therapist and see what both have to offer.
Therapy is usually a long-term process where you work with a healthcare professional in order to solve problematic behaviors, mental issues, or emotional problems. A therapist will look into your past to examine what previous events in your life have led to the problems you wish to change. Therapists are regulated and must be licensed. They are required to obtain a certain level of education and training and must continue to prove their qualifications.
Signs You Should Seek a Therapist
If you are physically or mentally unwell and may be a danger to yourself or others, you should seek therapy. If you are suffering from things like substance abuse, problems with relationships, dealing with the loss of a loved one, or have experienced severe trauma, you should acquire help.
A therapist will help you overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety so you can live a more normal life. Because they are trained to deal with these situations, they will be more effective in treating you.
Avoid seeking a life coach if you are unable to take constructive criticism or are overly defensive. You may need to first work with a therapist to see what is causing you to act in this manner. Likewise, if you have deep fears or phobias that are keeping you from obtaining your goals, a therapist may be a better fit to start with as they can help identify the cause of those fears.
Life coaching is a process that may be short term or long term depending on the goals you wish to achieve. A life coach is a non-healthcare professional that looks to help you achieve your goals by helping you identify obstacles and personal traits that may be preventing you from achieving those goals. A life coach, therefore, focuses on the future and designs a path on how to get you to the future you desire. Certifications as a life coach are offered by the Coach Training Alliance.
Signs You Should Seek a Life Coach
If you feel generally healthy and good about yourself but believe you can achieve more with your life, then you should seek out a life coach. A life coach knows how to ask you the right questions and can design an effective path to help you reach your goals.
They will help you find what is blocking your way to your goals and will help reinforce a positive mindset that will allow you to believe in yourself. Common situations where a life coach can help are when you are looking to lose weight, change your career, achieve better performance at a certain activity, or become more financially stable.
If you are not easily embarrassed or ashamed of who you are, a life coach can be a great help in offering constructive criticism that will allow you to change what is needed in order for you to achieve your goal.
Key Differences Between a Therapist and a Life Coach
The main goal of therapy is to heal you and your problems whereas life coaching focuses on optimizing your personal self and performance so that you can achieve your true potential. If you feel broken or dysfunctional, you should seek out a therapist that will help you discover why you feel this way. A life coach, on the other hand, should be sought by someone who wishes to take their life to a higher level.
Therapy is generally more crucial to those in need of it as it aims to solve a problem that could have severe impacts on a person’s life if not treated. Life coaching is for those wanting to improve their life but isn’t necessarily required to maintain a functioning healthy existence.
A therapist will ask you a lot of questions about your history, childhood, and relationships, while a life coach will focus on the present and future. You will find that with a therapist, you will express more of your emotions and feelings. With a life coach, you will tend to focus on thoughts and actions to gain results.
You will find that in therapy, your therapist is largely in control as they are the expert. A life coach will tend to work with you as an equal partner where you can both interact freely with each other to achieve goals.
In many cases, you may find that you will need therapy and life coaching. You may require a therapist to begin with, in order to heal your past, and then a life coach later on, to help you focus on creating a better future. You need to focus on dealing with pain and emotional discomfort with a therapist before you can work on building personal strength and control over your life.
Everyone becomes anxious or worried from time to time, but when these feelings begin to continually affect your day to day life, they can become detrimental to both your mental and physical health. While you cannot avoid these feelings, there are ways to control anxiety and worry so they do not interfere with your daily schedule.
Trying to avoid feeling anxious or worried is futile and will only act to prolong the feelings and make them more chronic. Both anxiety and worry need not be viewed as negative feelings as they can motivate us to take much-needed action. They only become harmful when they consume us. We must, therefore, learn to effectively control these feelings so when they do arise, we have a plan of attack and need not fear them.
So how does one clear those constant pessimistic thoughts that can interfere with daily life? The key is identifying what causes you anxiety or worry, how much is too much, and what ways are there to quickly appease those feelings.
Let us explore the best ways to control your anxiety and worry.
Identifying if Your Worries are Valid
The first step to controlling your worries is to identify if they are legitimate. You must ask yourself if your fears are rational, are you overgeneralizing a situation, or are you exaggerating what could go wrong? Most problems we dwell on are much more detrimental in our minds than they actually are in reality. With each worry that pops up, you must remember to focus on the evidence at hand and not jump to wild conclusions. What are the actual chances that your worry will result in a catastrophic conclusion?
You must treat each worry separately and realize the outcome will not always be the same. You may fail a single test or not meet a deadline this time but that doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Just because you perceive something as worrisome doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
Preparation Instead of Prevention
Many things in life we cannot control, therefore we need to learn how to prepare for situations rather than try to magically prevent things from happening. Many things you cannot avoid like getting sick, paying bills, and death. Dwelling on things such as this only causes stress and prolongs the grief they cause.
For worries we can solve, preparing a plan to deal with them when they arise will help to prevent us feeling anxious about them. By brainstorming solutions for various situations ahead of time, you will fear them less as you will gain the confidence that you can deal with many things that come your way. Don’t try to stop the rain, bring an umbrella. Don’t lock yourself in a bubble in the fear of getting sick, have medication on hand to quickly cure or soothe ailments if they occur.
Live in the Present
It is important to never dwell on the past nor worry about the future. Wishing we could have prevented or changed something that has occurred will change nothing and won’t help you to reach a solution to fixing the problem. Feeling overly anxious about something that is going to occur or that may occur will only prolong the stress of the situation which may not even happen at all.
By dealing with events as they come, you limit the amount of worry and anxiety you feel. Continually worrying about a situation will not help you solve the problem any more effectively when it arrives and will only prove to make you less capable of dealing with a situation when it does occur. The key is to be aware of a potential problem, prepare for it, and then move on until it is time to actually deal with it if it even occurs at all.
Having positive thoughts are incredibly powerful in combating your fears and anxiety. Remaining positive allows you to realize that you can control your emotions and actions. Even if a fear does come true, putting a positive spin on things will allow the impact to be less detrimental.
We can often cause things to go bad if we believe a negative outcome is imminent. Our negative thoughts block us from coming up with solutions or management strategies to deal with situations when they arise.
Share Your Worries and Anxious Thoughts
Talking about our worries with a trusted family member or professional may allow you to get a fresh perspective. They may be able to affirm your fears and help give you advice that will aid you in dealing with a situation or they may help you realize that your fears are unwarranted and you can move on from them.
Simply sharing your worries with yourself by writing them down can help you focus on exactly what it is that you are anxious about. This will help you develop solutions as opposed to letting your mind wander freely to imagine a problem being much grander than it truly is.
Meditation and Exercise
Both meditation and exercise are extremely effective for lowering anxiety levels. Both take your mind away from your worries and help you focus on keeping your body and mind in a healthy state.
Developing the best solutions to situations requires your body and mind to be in tip-top shape. The longer you stay anxious or stressed, the more chance your body’s health with begin to decline. Exercise and meditation act as medication to prevent the anxiety and stress from reaching unsafe levels and avoids potential chronic anxiety conditions.
Stress is an unavoidable part of our everyday lives that can be brought on by things like work, school, household chores, or just everyday tasks. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it has the potential to motivate us to accomplish what we need to get done. Only when stress becomes too great to effectively manage can it become harmful to the health of your body and mind. So just how does one effectively manage stress?
Just as individuals will have different stressors that affect them, so too will they find different ways to deal with or alleviate that which is causing them stress. You would be surprised by just how many ways there are at effectively managing your stress. The key is finding out what may work for you and putting that into practice so as to avoid the many harmful side effects that long-term stress can inflict upon you.
It is important to note that there is no single magical stress management technique that will work for all stressful situations, rather each different stressful situation may require you to implement a different method. The following stress management techniques have been proven by years of collected research and studies to reduce or eliminate certain types of stress altogether. By implementing these trusted methods in your own life, you will begin to recognize that you no longer have to fear stress in your life as you will know how to deal with whatever comes your way.
Examples of Stress Management
One of the best things you can do to manage stress is to plan for it. By preparing yourself for or avoiding potential stressful situations, you can minimize the shock factor the stress will have. Think of it as studying before a test. By preparing yourself for potential surprises or fears, they will begin to not have as much impact on your life when they do occur as you will be prepared to effectively cope with the situation when it arises.
Nothing provides greater immediate relief from stress than exercise. Beneficial to both your body and mind, getting active allows your mind to quickly detach from stressful situations. Whether you choose to run, practice yoga techniques, ride a bike, or simple go for a walk, exercise releases endorphins which put you in a better mood.
Meditation is one of the most wonderful examples of stress management as it won’t take much of your time and doesn’t require any tools besides your own mind. Although meditation comes in many forms, they all allow you to calmly relax and breathe. When your mind is calm, you can more effectively think through problems and will begin to find many more solutions than when your mind is emotional and overrun with stressful interference.
Organize and Minimize
Creating a daily schedule of what you need to accomplish will bring order to your life. Seeing a path or plan of attack will allow you to mentally check off one task at a time. It is too easy to become overwhelmed by a long list of duties unless you create a game plan. It is also important to not overload yourself by putting unrealistic demands on what you can effectively accomplish. Start out light and work your way up to achieving more tasks as opposed to the other way around.
Getting Appropriate Amount of Sleep
Finding the right amount of sleep is crucial to effectively manage our day to day activities. A lack of sleep will leave you irritable and unable to think through problems effectively whereas too much sleep can leave you feeling unmotivated and depressed. Just as a computer needs to power down regularly to run smoothly, so too does our body and mind via a proper night’s sleep.
Healthy Eating Habits
What you put into your body dictates how well you will be able to deal with stress. By following a healthy balanced diet, your level of alertness, problem-solving skills, and physical abilities will be at their most effective. Avoid quick fixes like caffeine found in coffee or sodas as the crash that follows the short-lived burst of energy will leave you feeling anxious and fatigued. Make sure to consume the recommended daily amount of essential nutrients and vitamins so as to allow your brain and nervous system to work properly and efficiently.
Take a Time Out
Although you should never try to run away from stress, it may be a good idea to take a step back, even if it is just for a moment. By removing yourself temporarily from a stressful situation, it can often allow emotions that are running high to calm down. Taking a break to think by yourself and collect your thoughts can help to avoid making a stressful situation even worse by making rash decisions or saying the wrong thing.
Acquire Outside Help
Sometimes the best way to find a solution to our stress is by talking with a close friend or family member. You should never be afraid to share what is stressing you with someone else, but it is important to select someone that you trust and will show compassion for what you are going through. Many times people who are not part of our stressful situation will be able to provide us with a different perspective or you may arrive at a solution yourself simply by expressing your thoughts and feelings out loud.
We would love to help reduce and heal your symptoms from stress, and equip you with the tools to stop stress from running your life!
It’s totally normal for people to experience stress, and the body is designed to cope with small amounts of it. When stress becomes more chronic, however, its effects on your overall health can become a serious issue.
While stress has the potential to produce negative side effects on your physical body, it can also wreak havoc on your mental state. And if not managed correctly, stress can lead to undesired changes in your daily routine.
Learning to recognize the signs of stress is vital in order to treat it, and stop its harmful effects from progressing. So the following is an overview of the many ways stress can negatively impact you. Should you find you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should consider whether stress may be the cause.
How Stress Affects Your Body
There is a strong direct link between your brain and your stomach, and stress can quickly cause a multitude of digestion problems. Diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, and nausea are just some of the unpleasant symptoms you may face under stress. People with IBS may notice an increase in flare-ups.
Because your immune system and hormone balance may become impaired during times of stress, the largest organ in your body can be negatively affected. Although conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema may not be caused by stress, they can be made worse, and you may find your skin takes longer to heal from wounds and damage.
Aches & Pains
Your body tries to fight stress by releasing hormones while increasing your heart rate. This can cause your body’s muscles to stiffen, leading to muscle cramps and aching joints. You may also notice tension headaches that grow into migraines which may stick around until the stress is dealt with.
The stress on your heart along with decreased motivation to exercise can lead to heart disease or engaging in unhealthy habits which lead to heart problems.
The effects of stress on your sleeping habits along with your body releasing cortisol to fight stress can lead to exhaustion. Our daily exercise may suffer, which in turn causes us to be even more tired.
There have been studies which show people who were stressed were twice as likely to catch a virus or disease. Infections become more of a risk the longer your stress holds on.
How Stress Affects Your Mind
Some types of stress can not only lead to you easily forgetting past events or stored information, but can also make it more difficult to generate new memories. This is because stress impacts the area of your brain where your memories are stored.
Although short-term stress can be beneficial by motivating you to accomplish a goal or meet a deadline, chronic stress can have just the opposite effect. As stress continues to impact your health, you may find your desire for hobbies and general activity engagement will decline. It becomes difficult to enjoy things when you are feeling physically and mentally ill.
Long-term stress can change the chemical makeup of your brain making it harder to control your emotions. As stress begins to impact your eating and sleeping habits, your emotions become even more pronounced and take a mind of their own.
All of the negative side effects that stress causes in your body can lead to a state of depression. Your physical ailments, social detachment, exhaustion, and increased difficulty dealing with emotions are all things that can contribute to a depressed state or may make those prone to depression more susceptible to relapses.
How Stress Affects Your Daily Routine
Stress can cause either a decrease or an increase in appetite. Those who begin eating less may see a sudden unhealthy drop in weight where they can become malnourished and miss out on essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body running smoothly.
Those who eat more while stressed often make poor food choices like binging on comfort food which are high in sugar and fat. This can lead to sudden weight gain and obesity if the stress is not managed.
Some may attempt to deal with their stress by replacing food with alcohol or drugs which can of course cause serious long-term side effects. Stress should never be managed by the use of either unless a drug is prescribed by a professional doctor.
Stress, especially when caused by an overloaded schedule, can cause us to drop exercise from our daily routine to save time. Even if time constraints aren’t a problem, stress can cause aches and pains which make exercise less enjoyable, which makes us less prone to head to the gym.
Decreasing your daily exercise will impact your physical and mental health which may create even more stress.
The more stress we are under, the more we tend to retreat into our own world. We tend to disassociate with our friends and family as well as abstain from participating in social gatherings. Stress causes us to become irritable and short tempered, making us not pleasant to be around. You may notice others backing away even if you choose not to withdraw. This can be harmful since we may need people more than ever for support during times of stress.
The effect stress has on our physical reproductive systems such as erectile dysfunction and hormone imbalance can lead to a decreased desire for intimacy. Along with feeling physically unwell for sex, our mind begins to simply lose the craving for it as well.
Your body needs sleep in order to heal and restore its chemical balance. It needs 7-9 hours of it. Without adequate sleep, you put yourself at a higher risk for developing a wide array of health problems.
Weight gain, weakened immunity, and heart disease are just some of the problems which may arise from a prolonged lack of quality sleep. Stress causes your brain to constantly run which can easily lead to insomnia where you may find it hard to get to bed on time and may wake up continually throughout the night. This can lead to brain fog during the day and can even cause dangerous hallucinations.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, something we must all deal with at some point. And although everyone will have different types of stress and individual ways to deal with it, stress generally progresses through the same general stages.
Learning the different stages of stress is important to identify what stage you may be experiencing. By knowing the different stages of stress, and being able to identify what you’re experiencing, you can take the appropriate steps to resolve it before it progresses to an unhealthy stage.
Stress can be helpful at times in the sense it may motivate us to achieve tasks, but if not kept in check, it can lead to a chronic condition that can have detrimental impacts to your overall health.
These Are The 5 Stages Of Stress
The Alarm Stage
The first stage of stress is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response. It is how your body immediately reacts to something that is stressful. Adrenaline quickly pulses throughout your body, increasing your mental focus and reflexes. Your heart rate quickens in order to send increased blood flow and oxygen to your limbs, readying them for whatever response you decide.
The alarm stage prepares your body the best it can in order to deal with or solve the stress you’re facing. Situations that can induce the alarm stage may include things like needing to stop a vehicle suddenly to avoid an accident, or realizing you forgot to perform a task like meeting a deadline or paying a bill.
Although the alarm stage can cause a great deal of changes within your body, it usually has no long-lasting detrimental effects so long as the stress is quickly dealt with. Only when something continues to bring on continual stress can it become more harmful.
The Resistance Stage
During the resistance stage, your body tries to return back to its normal state. Many of the changes that occur to your body during the alarm stage cause inflammation, therefore your body releases anti-inflammatory hormones to try and ease things.
Your body’s reactions during the resistance stage attempts to make the initial shock of stress fade away, which might make it seem like the stressful event has been dealt with effectively. However, this is simply a temporary fix until you fully solve or remove the stressor at fault. If not truly dealt with, the stress can ultimately lead to the exhaustion stage. This will, in turn, create even more stress on your body, where you run the risk of chronic debilitating disease brought on by tissue breakdown.
The Recovery Stage
Hopefully, you can solve the stressful situation and your body can begin to recover, restoring your body’s systems to natural healthy levels. Even if the stressful event has not been fully dealt with, taking a step back to calm down and relax can allow your body to recover so you can effectively deal with the stress at hand without causing lasting harm to your body.
The cellular demand for vitamins and minerals needed during the alarm stage may need to be replaced with the help of supplements. Restoring your body’s normal biology is vital for a successful recovery. Adequate sleep along with taking time out of your busy schedule to unwind will allow for a quicker and more effective recovery.
The Adaptation Stage
If you do not take the necessary steps to recover by either solving your stress or resting, you then enter what is known as the adaptation stage. Instead of dealing with stress, you simply accept it as a part of your everyday life. Your stress becomes chronic which begins to really take a toll on your overall health.
When you are chronically stressed, you may have difficulty sleeping and therefore have decreased energy. You may find that both your eating habits and weight will change and you will have a harder time dealing with your emotions. Your relationships may begin to suffer and you may find you have less motivation even in regards to enjoying your hobbies.
The adaptation stage is definitely not a solution to dealing with stress, and steps must be taken in order to avoid the next stage which is exhaustion.
The Exhaustion Stage
The body can only handle so much, and can only adapt to deal with short-term stress. If stress becomes chronic, your body begins to break down and its nutrients begin to be depleted. Hospitalization may be required at this stage or you may need the assistance of a mental health doctor to deal with depression-like symptoms.
You may be unaware of just how much of an impact stress is having on your body. Your body’s continual battle with stress can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more prone to sickness and you may develop a range of skin problems such as acne or breakouts.
Now is the time to fully make strides to remove whatever it is that is causing you stress. You may need to seek the help of close family members or friends and quite possibly professional treatment. Until the stress is resolved, your body will not be able to recover and may continue to only get worse.
We all face different situations on a daily basis, and it’s how our body reacts to those situations which can dictate stress. Stress comes in many forms and is an unavoidable fact of life for everyone, at least at some point in our lives.
Stress doesn’t discriminate but it is subjective, meaning what causes stress for one individual may not be the case for another. However, with so many different types of stress, it is very rare one can escape them all.
Learning to identify signs of stress and knowing how to manage that stress is extremely important as stress has the power to affect your entire health which may include physical and mental side effects. The key is to recognize and understand what stress may be affecting you so you can create a plan to reduce or eliminate it.
So let’s explore the common types of stress that affect everyday people along with providing ways you can manage the stress you currently have, and how to avoid it in the future.
Types of Stress
Stress caused by the physical demands of a job, travel, or daily chores. Involvement in sports or other physical activities can also lead to physical stress.
This includes anxiety or worrying about events. Meeting deadlines, taking tests, or trying to solve problems falls into this category.
This type of stress is brought on by a feeling of guilt, feeling anger, phobias, sadness, etc. It usually involves things to which you have a more personal connection.
This is one of the types of stress which is caused by a severe injury or illness. Extreme environments or events which severely impact your mental or physical health fall into this category.
Nutritional & Chemical Stress
Stress which is caused by drugs, alcohol, or vitamin deficiencies can cause this type of stress. Similarly, impacts from food allergies or pollutants that cause serious side effects may cause this form of stress.
Acute stress is a short-term reaction to everyday events that are commonly experienced by many. Acute stress may be caused by things like trying to meet a deadline, close calls with danger, sudden realization of a mistake, or an altercation with another person.
Acute stress is fleeting and usually doesn’t lead to any lasting effects, especially once the trigger which caused the acute stress is resolved. Acute stress should not be confused with Acute Stress Disorder which is more serious and is caused from a sudden and unexpected traumatic event such as a death or serious accident. This can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Episodic Acute stress is when acute stress becomes a constant everyday occurrence. This usually occurs in individuals who have a pessimistic outlook on life or are constantly worrying about things.
Signs you may be under episodic acute stress include being short-tempered and constantly tense or anxious. It may be a sign you are trying to accomplish too much or have too much chaos going on. If not resolved, this type of stress can lead to negative impacts on your health such as headaches and IBS-like symptoms.
Chronic stress stems from a situation which may not be easily resolved or greatly impacts your life. This may be a dysfunctional marriage, loss of employment, or unfavorable living conditions. A sign of chronic stress is the feeling there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Professional treatment may be needed to avoid serious risks to your health, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
Identifying and Managing Stress
Signs of Stress
Our bodies respond to stress by releasing hormones which in turn can wreak havoc on our bodies if not kept in check. Some of the symptoms you may notice may include:
– Stomach irritation leading to diarrhea or indigestion
– Feeling anxious
– Reoccurring headaches
– Depression or sense of hopelessness
– Enhanced emotions
– Difficulty sleeping
– Easily irritated
– Overall feeling of being unwell
If you notice any of these signs or a combination of any, you may want to look into whether stress is the culprit. If you notice your health or personality changing dramatically or suddenly, it may be a sign something is causing you to be stressed.
Seeking help via a professional psychologist or sessions with a life coach may allow you to confirm whether you are under stress, realize what may be causing the stress, and help with ways to control or eliminate the stress.
Techniques for Managing Stress
Stress is often brought on by triggers which may include things like work routines or schedules, phobias, association with certain individuals or groups of people, new surroundings, physical ailments, or worrying about past or future events.
Recognizing your individual triggers will allow you to work on ways to minimize the stress that is associated with them.
Setting yourself up with routines when it comes to sleeping patterns, meals, chores, and your general daily schedule can alleviate many triggers of stress and allow you and your body to fall into predictable patterns.
Things That Can Help When You Find Yourself Stressed
– Engaging in activities or hobbies that bring you enjoyment
– Being around supportive family and friends
– Eating healthy and exercising
– Seeking professional meditation or yoga sessions
– Disconnecting from your phone and computer
– Listening to soothing music
– Enjoying the sounds and peacefulness of nature
Things to Avoid When You Find Yourself Stressed
– Avoid taking medication unless prescribed by a professional
– Avoid taking drugs or consuming alcohol to block out the stress
– Avoid loud or hectic environments
– Avoid being around negative people
– Avoid negative thoughts
– Avoid thinking it will just go away on its own
– Avoid feeling like you are alone when it comes to dealing with your stress
Do you experience stress on a regular basis and want to better manage it?
When we talk about stress, its almost always with a negative connotation. Too much stress can be bad for your health, but it turns out the way we think about stress is even more important than how much stress we experience.
In a recent study, 30,000 adults were tracked over eight years. They were asked “how much stress did you experience over the last year (low, medium or high).” They were also asked, “Do you believe that stress is harmful to your health.” At the end of the study, they used public death records to see when participants passed away.
The bad news is that people who felt they had a high amount of stress had a 43% increased risk of dying. However, this was only true for those who believed that stress was bad for their health. Amazingly, those who had high amounts of stress but didn’t see it as harmful to their health had the lowest chance of mortality of the entire study. Even less than those who reported having low stress!
The study concludes that over the eight-year study, 182,000 Americans died not from stress, but the belief that the stress is bad for you. If this hypothesis is correct, the idea that stress is bad for you would be in the top 15 causes of death in the US! That puts it above skin cancer and homicides.
So can changing how you think about stress, make you healthier? Science says yes! When using your mind to change how you feel about stress, you can improve your body’s response to it.
How The Body Responds To Stress And How To Harness It
Many of us know the feeling of stress creeping in. Picture yourself in a crowded room with all eyes on you. Your heart starts to beat faster and your palms and face begin to sweat. Typically our blood vessels constrict, which is why chronic stress can so often be attributed to heart disease. Many of us begin to feel uncomfortable and view these symptoms as something going terribly wrong in the body.
But what if you change your perspective? What if we told you that your heart beating faster is actually helping to get more blood to your brain making you think faster and more intelligently. And the sweaty palms and face are designed to keep your body cool as your about to perform at your highest level? Would that affect the way that you viewed stress?
One Harvard study did just that with a group of participants in a social stress experiment. When participants were told that their stress responses were helpful for their performance, they were not only noticeably less anxious and more confident, their blood vessels stayed open rather than constricting. Scientists said that the openness of these blood vessels of those who thought of stress responses as healthy was closer to those observed in moments of courage or joy. This difference in the constriction of blood vessels could mean the difference between someone who dies prematurely from a heart attack or someone who lives well into old age.
How you think about stress truly matters. Time and time again we have seen that the mind can influence the body in ways that we never even thought possible. The goal of stress science is not to eliminate stress, but to learn how to manage and use it in a healthy way that is empowering.
So the next time you feel stressed, think of it as your body going into overdrive to help you rise to the challenge. If you think in this way, your body will believe you and your stress response will literally become healthier.
Here at the Stress Management & Prevention Center, we use Mind Body Stress Reduction techniques as well as Trauma-Management Yoga, mindfulness yoga and other stress management techniques taught through our private life coaching sessions, to help students to better cope with stress and stress symptoms to live happier and healthier lives. If you’d like to learn more about our public and private classes as well as stress management programs contact us via email, phone or stop by our office in Rancho Mirage, California.
Do you suffer from negative views on stress? Have you changed your mind about the benefits stress can offer you if managed correctly? Let us know if the comments below!
For partners who spend a lot of time together, whether you’ve been together for years or just a few months, stressful situations are bound to arise. The good news is that going through these stressful times together in a healthy way can help you grow as a couple in very powerful and fulfilling ways. Mishandled, they can damage relationships to the point of no return. We’re sharing a few tips to helping your special someone through stressful times as well as how to get through stressful times together.
How To Help A Partner Who Is Stressed
We often hear about how to deal with personal stress, using yoga, meditation, and healthy eating. However, when it comes to supporting a partner who is going through stressful times, there is little guidance offered. So how do you help a partner who is stressed?
Recognize When Your Partner Is Stressed
The first step to helping a partner who is stressed is to identify when stress symptoms. Everyone responds to stress differently. Some people become irritable and angry, others become distant and depressed, and some can become restless and overly excited. It’s important to know your partners stress signs so that you can identify symptoms early on before negative feelings escalate.
Manage Your Feelings First
In order for your partner to lean on you, you first have to be strong and prepared to take their weight. When you partner is stressed, it is very easy for these emotions to be transferred to you and it is very difficult to offer support from a defensive and vulnerable place. If necessary, take a few deep breaths to gain your composure so you can help your partner who is stressed from a place of love and compassion.
Ease Tension And Show Support
If your partner’s emotions are in an unhealthy place, one of the best ways to bring them back is to take their mind off the stressor by breaking their pattern of feeling stressed. There are typically triggers that will cause people to feel stress. You can use similar triggers to help your partner de-stress. Using your partner’s love language, you can contribute to your partner’s stress relief by showing support. Whether that’s giving them an unexpected gift, cooking their favorite meal or maybe even offering a simple soothing touch or gentle massage it’s important to know what your partner responds to best to break their stressful pattern and help them to de-stress.
Find Out What They Want
Many people in stressful situations will want to isolate themselves which can actually make them feel more anxious and depressed. Once the initial tension has subsided, simply ask your partner something supportive like “You seem like you could use some support. What can I do to help you right now?” By using a loving, non-judgemental tone your partner will likely open up about how they are feeling and what you can do to help. This not only helps to diffuse stress but also strengthen the relationship as your partner knows you are there for them even in hard times.
Work Towards A Solution
The most important step to showing you truly care is the follow through. It’s crucial not to leave the conversation until you’ve committed to deciding on one action you or your partner can take towards wholly relieving the source of the stress or even better, taking that step together. Problems are a natural part of growing together. As you find solutions to stressful situations together, then you will discover new depths to your relationship.
Using these tips above, you can help support a partner who is experiencing stress. By offering help, you’ll also find that your partner will be more willing to help you when you inevitably experience stress in your life. We hope these tips help you to build a solid relationship with your partner founded on trust and loving support.
Do you have a partner who often deals with stress? Which of these tips do you find most insightful towards helping your partner deal with stress?
It’s a common misconception that stress and anxiety are one in the same. We’re here to tell you that they are quite different terms and therefore there are various methods for coping with each. Here are the differences between stress and anxiety as well as how to deal with both.
Differences Between Stress and Anxiety (& Tips on Handling Them)
Stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Humans have been reacting to stress for thousands of years. It’s part of our survival technique. During stressful situations our adrenal glands release adrenaline, causing our hearts to pound, blood pressure to rise, muscles to tense, and the pupils of our eyes to dilate. This is also known to many as “fight or flight mode.”
Specific stressors can vary widely from minor such as constant irritable sounds or someone playing a practical joke by jumping out of a bush to scare you. On the more severe side, the loss of a loved one or life-threatening situations during war are powerful stressors which can cause lasting emotional damage. Everyone reacts to stress and resulting adrenaline release differently. Feeling frustrated, nervous, angry and even anxious are just a few different ways that people cope with stress.
Anxiety on the other hand, is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Anxiety has less to do with the stressor itself, and more about the feeling the stressor creates when thinking about it.
Typical topics people have anxiety about include feeling trapped in a cycle you can’t escape, worry over negative criticism, predicting perceived failures and dread over upcoming events. Anxiety about these topics all stem from the anticipation of an event with an uncertain outcome.
In summary, stress and anxiety are two different issues. Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or stressor and anxiety is stress that continues after that stressor is gone.
How To Deal With Stress
Remove The Stressor
The best way to deal with stress is to remove the stressor or remove yourself from the stressful environment. It may seem silly and even a bit obvious, but if you find that time and time again you are getting stressed over the same thing, it could be time to take action and remove it. Whether it’s creating a more comfortable work environment or checking the news less, there are usually ways to remove unnecessary stressors if you get creative enough. While this is not always possible, it is the easiest and most efficient way to reduce your stress level.
Noticing your breath can be a great indicator of how we’re feeling, both physically and emotionally. When we get stressed, typically our breaths become more shallow, our bodies clamp up and we become very tense. Using yogic breathing, you can quickly and efficiently come back to a more relaxed and level-headed place. Special breathing techniques allow extra air deeper into your body so that more oxygen can be absorbed into your bloodstream and brain.
Yoga, being a holistic practice, its great for not only working on your physical strength, but also mental muscles. Putting your body into uncomfortable (but not painful) positions helps us to better deal with stressors in our daily lives which may also make us feel uncomfortable. As your practice deepens, we begin to realize that “this too will pass” and to be less attached to negative and stressful thoughts.
How To Deal With Anxiety
Usually, when we think of meditation we picture sitting in a quiet room with our legs folded. However, walking mindfulness meditation can sometimes be even more effective to help clear up cluttered thoughts and calm down your monkey mind so you can refocus and get right back to the task at hand.
There are many ways to do mindfulness meditation, but at its core, the objective is to help you stop worrying about the future or the past, the major causes of anxiety. This technique switches the focus to what’s happening right now, enabling you to be fully engaged in the present moment and less anxious about what may happen in the future. If you choose a seated meditation, we recommend honing your attention on something such as the breath, a mantra, or the flickering light of a candle.
Surprisingly, your diet can affect your anxiety just as much as other outside stressors. Low levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, can cause some people to be more prone to anxiety than if they had healthy doses. This is because your emotions can affect how your physical body feels and vice versa. So a healthy body is less likely to be as heavily impacted by negative situations.
Sometimes, the best remedy is the support of friends, family or a life coach. When we feel anxious, it can help to voice our concerns and fears about the future to someone close to us. Often when this is done, we realize that the perceived negative outcome that is causing the anxiety isn’t as bad as we think.
Do you feel like stress and anxiety are controling your life? Let relieve your thoughts and how you relieve tension in the comments below!