A topic that I am sure many of you are thinking ‘don’t even get me started about.’ However my question is do you know the true meaning behind stress. Do you understand where it comes from or why you feel stress? How you ever asked yourself is there a way to just stop all the stress you feel. We all have to deal with a form of stress at some point in our lives. Maybe it is from your job, a family illness, or money troubles. Stress is different for everyone in the world. What stresses you out may not bother your loved ones and vice versa. However your bodies react the same to stressors. That’s because the stress response is your body’s way of dealing with tough or demanding situations.
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger whether it’s real or imagined the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.” The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid a car accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.
The stress response begins in the brain. When someone confronts danger, the eyes or ears (or both) send the information to the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system, which controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of key blood vessels. The autonomic nervous system has two components, the sympathetic nervous system, and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. The parasympathetic nervous system promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the danger has passed. After the amygdala sends a distress signal, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. These glands respond by pumping epinephrine ( adrenaline) into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on a number of physiological changes. The heart beats faster than normal, pushing blood to the muscles, heart, and other vital organs. Pulse rate and blood pressure go up. Small airways in the lungs open wide. This way, the lungs can take in as much oxygen as possible with each breath. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. Meanwhile, epinephrine triggers the release of blood sugar (glucose) and fats from temporary storage sites in the body. These nutrients flood into the bloodstream, supplying energy to all parts of the body.
All of these changes happen so quickly that people aren’t aware of them. In fact, the wiring is so efficient that the amygdala and hypothalamus start this cascade even before the brain’s visual centers have had a chance to fully process what is happening. That’s why people are able to jump out of the path of an oncoming car even before they think about what they are doing.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. One thing to try out is Positive self-talk. Let’s be honest, we all talk to ourselves! Sometimes we talk out loud but usually we do it in our heads. Positive self-talk can help you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to shift negative thoughts to positive ones. Another thing to try is stress-busting activities. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to relieve stress and find your happy place. You may find pleasure in simple things like going for a walk, catching up with a friend, or reading a good book. When stress makes you feel awful, do something that makes you feel good, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes.
But most of all try your best to eliminate the triggers. You deserve the best, no matter what, and a lot of the time you are leaving yourself in situations filled with stress. Stay healthy and stay safe. You are loved by someone and the world needs you here! So don’t go stressing yourself out and just relax before the world forces you back into the open. Just take it easy on yourself. Accept that you can’t do things perfectly no matter how hard you try. You also can’t control everything in your life. So do yourself a favor and stop thinking you can do so much. And don’t forget to keep up your sense of humor. Laughter goes a long way towards making you feel relaxed