We all experience stress in one way or another. It can be physical stress, such as being too hot or too cold or emotional stress. Regardless of what type of stress you are experiencing, you’ve probably noticed that it tends to creep up on you unawares – this is because we all adapt to it and that is why stress management is so important. However, not all stress is harmful – think of welcoming a new life to this world or celebrating milestone events – this is called eustress. Ignoring the triggers and messages that you get from your body when there is negative stress or trauma is harmful.
Symptoms of stress vary from person to person and whilst you may look calm on the outside, internally changes are happening. Picture a duck swimming in a fast flowing river….. looks OK on the surface, but underneath the legs are moving frantically to keep stationary in the chosen spot.
Chronic stress puts you at risk, often resulting in anxiety, heart disease, depression and other long term chronic health problems. Once you become aware of your stress levels, there are some effective tools that you can use to reduce it.
Ignore it and you might find that just like a rubber band will eventually snap if you stretch it too often, your body will manifest something to slow you down.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin
Unresolved stress not only costs you your long term health, but also is one of the biggest costs to the workplace and schools with frequent absenteeism and lowered performance.
Stress doesn’t discriminate…. it effects men, women and children. Below are some of the stress related issues you might be experiencing.
- Weight gain – you’ve been on every diet known to man and exercised daily and still nothing happens?
- Heart disease – increased cortisol levels over a long period of time will cause cardiovascular problems. If you also have diabetes, this increases your risk of heart disease.
- Insomnia – are you tired when you wake up even if you have had a good night’s sleep? Increased cortisol is a factor.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – increased inflammation in the gut as a result of increased stress hormones.
- A lowered immune system – resulting in frequent colds, flu and infections.
- Lack of concentration- continued stress slows the brain’s ability to connect brain cells necessary to form memories and perform higher level brain function.
- Cravings for stimulants, sugar, caffeine, salt or high protein foods
Once you break that cycle of stress – and it CAN be achieved with a few simple exercises over several sessions, you can start to think more clearly and enjoy a better quality of life.
Meg is an expert in Stress Management. Self awareness and self management are two key areas in the reduction of your stress levels and by using a combination of tools you can begin to protect yourself from the effects of long term stress. She has given many presentations to organizations, including Not For Profit organizations and the Victorian Small Business Festival. You will leave each session with useful strategies to get you back in balance, take away tools that you can use straight away or share with family and friends to help them manage their stress.