It helps us avoid pain, illness and accident. And, a low-stress (or low-distress) lifestyle is certainly the most pleasant. Once a client who was under a great deal of stress at the time said to me, urgently: Look, all these options youve shown me for stress management are getting to be too much. Its like using a technique to put a patch on me here and another to put a patch on me there. I dont need to get better six months from now after Ive learned a whole bunch of new things ” I need to be better now!
The strength of that response varies with the kind and strength of the demand and the circumstances under which the demand is made. For example, a ringing phone is a demand. It gets a different strength of response depending upon when it rings. If you are taking a usual number of calls at the office at times you expect them, the demand is relatively low and your physical reaction is probably minimal. If the phone rings in the middle of the night when youre worried about a seriously ill loved-one in the hospital, the demand and your response are going to be high.
The response is generally called the fight/flight response. It should be called the fight/flight/freeze/faint/fumble response, since those are the usual possible outcomes. But, whatever we call it, heres basically what happens in your body: * Your heart rate goes up. * Your blood pressure goes up. * You begin to perspire to help keep the body cool. * Blood is directed away from hands/feet/digestive system to power large muscles. * Your diaphragm (the muscle that works your lungs like a bellows) locks and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Your pupils dialate to help you see the enemy better. * Your awareness of hearing becomes more focused. * Your digestive system shuts down so the energy expended there can be used where its needed. (Or, alternatively, the system may attempt to void its contents, so youll be lighter and move faster. ) * Your immune and self-repair systems go on standby. After all, the processes of these systems are incompatible with heavy action. Besides, you need the energy to fight or run. If you really need to meet a physical threat, all this is great. It prepares your body to do the job.
Then, after doing the job ” destroying or avoiding the stressor ” your body returns to normal. However, almost all our stressors (stressors are whatever cause stress) today are what psychologists call psychosocial. That is, they come from how we experience our selves, our work and other activities, and our relationships with other people. So, if your boss yells at you, your body is likely to react exactly the same as if you had to deal with a charging rhinoceros. Yet, you cant literally do what your bodys prepared to do: you cant throw your spear at him and run.
That means youre going to carry some tension from the encounter around with you until you find a way to discharge it. Furthermore, you are likely to face many daily psychosocial stressors that cause the fight/flight response. If you dont find satisfying resolutions to your stressors, or if there are too many stressors, or if the response is too intense, eventually youre going to experience symptoms of stress-related illness. Stress symptoms may be physical or psychological. Physical symptoms range from muscle tension and headaches through high blood pressure and gastrointestinal ulcers to heart attacks and cancer.
Psychological symptoms range from chronic anxiety through recurrent depression to complete nervous breakdowns. Physical activity is necessary to stress relief in helping to dissipate the stress reactions ” the flight/fight response. In addition, it helps you to: * Reduce muscular tension of sedentary functions. * Promote relaxation. * Sleep easier and better. * Concentrate better. * Reduce pain. * Raise mood. (Very important in anxiety and depression. ) * Reduce fatigue/restore energy. * Increase stamina, strength and suppleness to help make you stress-fit ” i. e. the fight/flight response is taken with greater ease and shaken with greater ease. Understanding this, you can see that a bit of physical activity might be worthwhile as a system of discharging the tensions of that fight/flight response. What exactly do you mean by physical activity? Exercise is a great idea if you can do, dont mind doing and dont overdo. A regular exercise program helps manage physical stress buildup, makes you feel better over all and probably live a longer and healthier life. But, if you really hate it and resent it, youre not going to follow through with it.
You might as well try something else you find more pleasant. Participating in sports is a more enjoyable way of releasing stress and tension for many people. Regular participation is as good as a regular exercise program. Yoga, in a class or on your own, can also provide the benefits of a regular exercise program. It is, however, far less demanding for beginners, allowing the practitioner to slowly ease into the various stretches and poses. Moreover, you feel good while you are doing it and afterward. Done properly, yoga leaves muscles pleasantly stretched and stimulated.
You want to say that in English? How and what you think determine how you feel (emotionally) and how you behave. If you have awareness of and control over your thinking process, then essentially you have control over everything that happens to you. In regard to the management of stress, this means that you can seize control of your reactions at the time of the flight/fight response and take the time to understand whats happening and what you want to do. (You must remember that the flight/fight response will occur automatically ” its a built-in survival mechanism.
But you can reduce the occasions upon which it occurs in reaction to imaginary threats and you can reduce the intensity of the response to real threats that nevertheless do not affect your life, health or general well-being. ) Furthermore, since your body doesnt know the difference between real events and imaginary ones, you can use your thoughts to directly change whats happening in your body. For example, in self-hypnosis you can imagine your hands and feet becoming warmer and warmer. They will do so and at the same time you will be balancing the flow of blood throughout your body.
What do I do to be a mind master, O Swami? There are a number of methods of gaining the ability to focus and control your mind, but no matter what approach seems to fit for you, they all accomplish the same tasks for stress management: Physical Benefits * Breathing slows and becomes deep and rhythmical. * Heart rate slows and blood pressure drops. * Brain waves slow to relaxed but alert level. * Muscle tension eases. * You become well relaxed. Psychological Benefits * Distressing emotion is inhibited ” remember, you cannot be relaxed and anxious or angry at the same time. * Calm envelopes you. Awareness is heightened and/or focused, depending on the method used. * Thought clarifies or is dispensed with, depending on the method of used. Meditation. Meditation is the method I most recommend to achieve focus and control in your thinking processes. There are many possible ways to meditate including Zen-style, chanting, mantra-repetition, awareness-training and contemplation. I recommend Zen-style. Its simple, quickly-learned, compact and easily portable. Well, O. K. , its simple to explain and you can learn how in less than a minute. But it takes a lifetime to master.
However, you dont have to master the method to get the benefits you need for stress management; you just have to practice every day. Heres how: find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Either close your eyes or allow your gaze to fall unfocused on the floor about three feet in front of you. Breathe normally and count your breaths thus: breathe in, do nothing, breathe out, count 1, repeat until you reach 4, then start over again from 1. Do nothing but breathe and count. Dont think, dont talk, dont look, dont listen. Just breathe and count. Continue for about ten minutes. Visualization.
Instead of not thinking about anything, you think very specifically about one thing by making an imaginary movie in you head. For example, you might imagine yourself sitting on a tropical beach at dawn. You could see the changing colors in the sky as the sun rises, feel the soft warm breeze lift your hair away from your face, hear the plaintive cry of a gull, smell the saltiness of the water, hear the surf hitting the rocks beyond. If you can become proficient at putting yourself in such scenes, you can put yourself in scenes that make you feel anything you want to feel and you can modify any experience. Self-Hypnosis.