9 Chapters
Medium 9781855755017

WHAT IS STRESS?

McMahon, Gladeana Karnac Books ePub

Biologically, our bodies produce a range of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, that encourage changes in your physical and mental state, helping you 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 that come into play when it comes to the stress hormones are adrenalin (associated with flight), noradrenalin (associated with fight), and cortisol (a kind of on/off switch).

When you experience this type of reaction, you often feel muscle tension and an increase in heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. You may sweat, and experience changes in your digestive system such as ‘butterflies’ in the stomach. Your thinking can become more focused on the task ahead, and you may be able to do things that you 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 colleague is trapped in a fire under a cabinet that has fallen on him and a friend is able to lift cabinet to free him – something that under normal circumstances would seem impossible as it would be far too heavy to lift.

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APPENDICES

McMahon, Gladeana Karnac Books ePub
Medium 9781855755017

STRESS-FREE EMOTIONS

McMahon, Gladeana Karnac Books ePub

Emotional intelligence is about learning to be 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 to overcome your stress. When you are stressed you may find that people behave differently towards you. They may decide not to consult you because they do not want to add to your burdens, or because when they do you do not listen to what they have to say or just say no because you don’t want another thing to deal with. They may talk about you behind your back, and you may get a reputation as someone who is best to be avoided. 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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WAYS THAT STRESS CAN SHOW ITSELF

McMahon, Gladeana Karnac Books ePub

Post traumatic stress is often experienced following what is termed a traumatic incident. A traumatic incident is one where the person was involved in, or witnessed, an event that involved serious threat of death to a loved one or oneself. PTSD often happens when a person feels intense fear, helplessness, or a sense of horror. For many people, the feelings following a traumatic event pass within the first 4–6 weeks, often without any help. However, for some, the feelings do not pass, and may even get worse. For these people, the sense of fear leads them to avoid people, places, and things that remind them of the event. In addition, people may also experience ‘flashbacks’ of some aspect of the traumatic event. It is not unusual for people with PTSD to suffer from other anxiety conditions and also to experience irritability and anger.

Depression is one of the most severe of the stress-related symptoms and usually only takes effect once an individual has been experiencing stress for a considerable period of time. Most people assume that when someone is depressed they are quiet and sad, but, although this is true, there are many states associated with depression. By the time someone is so low that they may not even be able to get out of bed, they will have gone through a number of emotional stages, and depressed people can often manifest signs of irritability and anger before they become fully depressed.

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BECOMING STRESS FREE

McMahon, Gladeana 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. This whole book is about managing stress. However, the following strategies will start you thinking about what you can begin to do to deal with stressful events, and there are further strategies at the end of this book, in the ‘Stress Busting’ chapter.

Come to your own aid by:

A   anticipating stressful activities and planning for them;

I   identifying the major 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, it is your turn to accept help.

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