29 Slices
Medium 9781855753815


Gladeana McMahon Karnac Books ePub

People who suffer with this form of anxiety feel worried all the time about almost everything. Many people describe it as a feeling of being tense, restless, or on edge. GAD sufferers interpret many ordinary situations as threatening in some way. Symptoms include trembling, feeling shaky, headaches, muscle tension or aching, especially around the neck and head, feeling hyped up, restless, getting tired easily, difficulty in sleeping, problems with concentration, irritability, forgetfulness, and many of the symptoms outlined in the stress response.

People who suffer from OCD describe feeling a compulsive urge to take part in ritualized activities: for example, checking locks and gas taps many times before being able to leave the house, washing hands or clothes excessively or engaging in excessive cleaning. These behaviours are often accompanied with repetitive actions like having to check the gas taps in a certain way and for a certain number of times. If something happens to break this routine, the sufferer has to start the ritual all over again.

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Medium 9781855753815


Gladeana McMahon Karnac Books ePub

Help yourself by remembering that you can always take some action to minimize, even if only by a small amount, the stress you experience.

Come to your own aid by:

A anticipating stressful activities and planning for them.

I identifying the ma or sources of stress in your life.

D developing a range of coping strategies that you can use on a regular basis so you become familiar with them and can call upon them when you really need them.

You can choose from the following range of techniques to suit your own preferences and circumstances.

Maintain or establish a strong support network. Come to terms with your feelings and share them with others. Ask for help when you need it and accept it when it is offered. You can always offer help to other people when you are stronger and they need it. For now, its your turn to accept help.

Relaxation can also play an important part in dealing with stress and in managing anxiety. Simple ways in which you can find time for yourself are:

•  Take time to enjoy a bath, light some candles, sprinkle a few drops of lavender aromatherapy oil into the water and play some gentle music while you take time for yourself.

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Medium 9781855754300


Gladeana McMahon Karnac Books ePub

Emotional intelligence is about learning to being emotionally smart. It is not always the person with the highest IQ who does best. Emotionally smart people get the most from managing their own and other people's emotions. If you can learn the skills of emotional smartness it will help you overcome your anger. When you are angry you may find that people do not listen to what you have to say because they are too busy reacting to your anger. They may decide not to consult you because they do not want to antagonize you and deal with the fall-out. They may talk about you behind your back and you may get a reputation as someone who is difficult.

The skills fall into five key areas.

Emotionally smart people are able to identify their own emotions. This means learning to tell other people how you feel. It means taking responsibility for your own emotions by starting sentences with ‘I feel … ’

Emotions can be difficult, and emotionally smart people know when to take care of themselves. For example, when you find things difficult what are the things you do to take care of yourself? Do you have a long hot bath and relax? Do you talk to a friend? Do you get a DVD or video and watch that? There are times when you need to take care of other people's emotions and there are times when you need to motivate yourself and others.

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Medium 9781855755017


McMahon, Gladeana Karnac Books ePub

Stress can be made worse by taking stimulants such as tea, coffee, colas, and chocolate, all of which contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants are best avoided when we are experiencing stress. Because we produce stress hormones when we are feeling stressed, this can affect our blood sugar levels and they may indeed drop dramatically. Therefore, in order to keep those levels balanced, it is important to eat ‘little and often’ during the day. It may also be helpful to avoid refined sugars and other substances which ‘give too much of a high’ too quickly. Slow-release foods such as carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, apples, and bananas) are a much better idea, as they fuel the body in a more even, controlled way.

These days it is impossible to avoid information on healthy eating. However, what we eat also has an effect on our confidence levels and our ability to cope emotionally.

As was outlined in the’Stress busting’ section earlier in this book, our bodies produce stress hormones and release fatty acids and sugars to help us cope with a perceived crisis. When such events take place our bodies natural blood sugar levels are disturbed. Our blood sugars help us to regulate the fuel requirements needed by our bodies. Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia contributes to symptoms of stress.

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Medium 9781855753815


Gladeana McMahon Karnac Books ePub

Too much of a good thing - the stress response

Fear can be a good thing. For example, if I go to cross the road and see a car speeding towards me, I would experience all the physical and emotional sensations of anxiety. However, if I felt the same way waiting for a bus when there was nothing to fear, this would not be a helpful or appropriate response. Fear is a crucial survival mechanism and our bodies are pre-programmed to protect us from dangerous situations.

Biologically, our bodies produce a range of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, that encourage changes in our physical and mental state, helping us either to escape from the situation or face it head-on. This is called the ‘stress response’ and you may have heard it called ‘fight or flight’. The three key players when it comes to stress hormones are adrenaline (associated with flight), nor-adrenaline (associated with fight), and cortisol.

When we experience this type of reaction we often feel muscle tension, increased heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. We may sweat and experience changes in our digestive system such as feelings of “butterflies” in the stomach. Our thinking may become more focused on the task ahead and we may be able to do things that we would not normally be able to. You may have heard stories of people who have undertaken superhuman feats to save a loved one – for example, a child is trapped under a car and a parent is able to lift the car to save the child.

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