Stressful situations can effect all of us in different ways. And the world is in one rather stressful situation right now. So depending on what you are faced with, where you are, what you are watching or experiencing and how you are responding to all of this will depend on your own stress response. I share my thoughts this week on ways that we can try to manage stressful situations especially as I am looking to the scenario unfolding in India.
The stress response originates in the hypothalamus deep inside the brain. The hypothalamus also processes emotions, memories, basic feelings and desires such as hunger, thirst, anger, panic and pain; that is, it processes both physical and emotional sensations. It makes sense that an event which threatens your sense of confidence or security — like losing your job or receiving news that your child is in trouble — can throw your body into the same response as a broken bone or a near-miss accident.
Under pressure the body releases hormones — mainly cortisol and adrenaline — both of which raise blood pressure and can make you feel as though your heart is pounding in your chest. Blood flow to the digestive system is reduced and blood supply to muscles is increased. This can cause nausea and that knotted stomach feeling. Adrenaline also stimulates the release of glucose and essential fatty acids into the bloodstream to refuel muscles and maximise reflexes. As blood pressure increases breathing can become shallow. Once the stressful situation is over the body returns to normal. It is long-term stress that can take a hold and upset the body’s normal rhythms and this makes it especially hard to bounce back.
There are different symptoms of stress such as:
Behavioural ~ eating too much or too little, increasing alcohol intake, fidgeting, fist-clenching, nail-biting, fast-talking.
Emotional ~ depression, listlessness, defensiveness, anger and mood swings, worry, irrationality.
Mental ~ poor concentration, poor memory, confusion, thoughts racing, vivid erratic dreams.
Physical ~ headaches, heart palpitations, cold hands and feet, teeth grinding, indigestion, rapid breathing, muscle tension, weight loss or gain, skin disorders such as dermatitis and eczema.
Stress Busters include:
~ Aromatherapy and using oils such as basil, bergamot, cedarwood, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, lavender, neroli, orange, rosemary and sandalwood.
~ Breathwork and good breathing habits
~ Movement such as yoga and pilates
~ Good sleeping rituals and quality of sleep
~ Visualisation and meditation
~ Get into nature
~ Exercise and eat well
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