6 November 2022 International Stress Awareness Day
Stress has become part of our normal daily lives, so much so, that as I am writing this I am wondering if we can actually function without it or so we believe. Are we functioning or is it a flawed belief? Nonetheless, a certain amount of stress is needed for survival. It is being aware of the level of stress daily that will determine whether we are functioning or malfunctioning.
INTRODUCTION TO STRESS:
- Stress is the body’s normal response to any demand, an outgrowth of the “fight or flight” response. Everyone experiences stress but reacts differently to it.
- Under stress, the body releases hormones, adrenaline and hydrocortisone, which help turn off some functions, including our immune system, and turn on short-term energy reserves. After the stress is gone, the body returns to normal.
- Positive stressors – stress can provide for necessary survival mechanisms, as well as provide extra momentum and boost productivity. Examples including preparing a lecture for a class, searching for a new home, or planning for a holiday.
- Negative stress can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Too often we don’t turn off our stress mechanism that takes its toll on physical and mental health.
- The Limbic System otherwise known as the reptilian brain is at the centre of our stress reaction.
SEVERAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT STRESS LEVELS:
- Individual perception of stressors. How we look at stressors determines their intensity, duration, and our responses.
- Personal and family resources. Personal qualities like patience, perseverance, and optimism can affect the way one deals with stress.
- Support network. Family, friends, counsellors and others can help you not only release stress but also cope with it well.
TEN SIMPLE COPING STRATEGIES:
- Recognize and increase your awareness of your reactions to stress.
- Learn to deepen and slow down your breath, relax your body and your mind.
- Practice 5 minutes every hour by simply deep breathing (breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and let go for 4 seconds).
- Recognize your stressors and triggers.
- Decide what you can and cannot control or change; accept what you cannot change, change what you can.
- Practice mindfulness – keep your attention in the present moment, with full awareness and acceptance and without judgment. (Mindfulness activity)
- Implement positive, rational self-talk.
- Take time where you can reduce interruptions, reflect, stretch, and simply BE.
- Talk with friends, family, counsellors/psychologists to help you let go of held-in thoughts and feelings, get perspective, and feel connected to others.
- Food and sleep are essential for your survival. Don’t let them slip out of your control. Don’t skip meals or sacrifice sleep.
Work related strategies:
- Set realistic self-expectations. Know your strengths, limits, and boundaries
- Examine job demands. Are they reasonable? Are they prioritized?
- Clarify role and duties.
- Schedule. Set goals, prioritize tasks, maintain a schedule, and take breaks!
Start managing your stress today, before edging on burnout. Get in touch with me for an online counselling session. Let’s together create an environment where you can connect with yourself again, an environment that fosters and encourages authenticity. An environment where you can follow your gut and get to know what it looks like.
After doing an intake I might be able to help you with a few sessions using BWRT (Brainworking Recursive Therapy) read more about BWRT on another blog on my website: https://thewellsamaria.co.za/what-is-brainworking-recursive-therapy-or-bwrt/, or we will use another technique depending on your unique needs.
Contact Me & Book your online session!