|ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES|
ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES
Stress | Effective Communication Skills for Couples | Coping With a Temporary Break Up
Steps to Resolve a Conflict | Preventing Suicide
What is stress? Do we need stress? Do we need to get rid of stress?
We all need stress to function on a day to day basis. Stress helps us get up in the morning and gives us motivation to do chores, go to work, or even go have fun. Too much stress, on the other hand, creates unpleasant tension, and if prolonged and accumulated can lead to serious physiological and psychological consequences.
Our bodies are designed to deal with short bursts of stress. There is a quick release of adrenaline which gives you the boost to deal with the situation at hand. Which stress is unhealthy then? Exactly the same stress that is healthy, but extended over a long period of time. For example, if you pick up your cell phone and hold it up, your body experiences slight stress. The body is designed to deal with that stress so efficiently that you don't even feel it! If, however, you hold that phone up for an hour, you'll feel the accumulated stress through the tension in your arm. If you manage to hold it up for a day, someone will need to call 911 for you! Notice that the stress was exactly the same – holding up your cell phone. But the length of time that stress is applied determines the effect on your body. Knowing that, you can now look at your day and see if you are "holding anything up" for too long. Whether it is problems at work that you bring home or your credit card balance that you bring to a party, put it down for the time that you are not dealing with it. When you are back at work, pick up that stress again and you'll be more productive dealing with it because you've rested (in the example with the cell phone, if you took breaks by putting the phone down, you wouldn't need 911 the next day).
Now think of your heart, your brain, and other organs. When you are stressed, your organs experience tension just like your arm does when it is holding something for too long. Even though your heart or your lungs will not give in by next day since they are designed to take much more prolonged stress compared to your arm, the constant jumps in blood pressure will strain your heart and chronic lack of oxygen from shallow breathing will strain your lungs, brain, and other organs in your body.
If you feel that you are more irritable than usual, that you are relying on coffee/alcohol/cigarettes to get you through the day, or that you cannot simply sit and relax, you might be stressing your body too much.
If you are at a level where you do not enjoy life anymore, have trouble sleeping, have reduced (compared to your usual) sex drive, and notice feelings of worthlessness then you probably exceeded your stress threshold and you need to consider talking to a professional.
Some sources of stress are well described in psychological literature:
|Copyright © 2008 Vitali Rosen|