There is an old saying that facing a stressful situation can take ten years off your life. Well some recent studies have shown more than a partial truth in this. A detailed 10 year study by Penn State University found that the way you react to stressful situations now, is significantly linked to the health concerns you may face in 10 years’ time. Health concerns such as pain, arthritis and cardiovascular issues have been shown to be far higher in individuals who have had historical bouts of stress. However the important factor here is how you react to stress not the stress itself. Let’s look at this a bit more closely… What is stress? Stress is primarily our body’s reaction to a stimulus situation and is often referred to as the fight or flight response.
Now historically, this response has proven to be a good thing. If a snarling wild dog is running at you, or you are approached by three menacing individuals in a dark alley, you need your body to respond. Your body will respond by increasing the secretion of epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol. Your heart will beat faster, muscles tighten, breathing quickens, blood pressure increases and pupils dilate. All of these reactions are designed to prepare you to stand and fight, or make a hasty retreat. You want your body primed and focussed for optimal explosive action. After the action and the stressful situation is over, your body flushes these hormones out of your body naturally, the pent up energy is released and your body returns to normal baseline levels. The problem is, in today’s society, we are having this stress reaction to events in our life that do not represent fight or flight situations, we typically do not have a direct outlet to flush the system and the perceived stressful situation can go on for hours , days or even longer. This pent up stress reaction leads to pain, disease and illness. Stress can be defined as Acute or Chronic stress. Acute stress can be a result of a single incident whereas Chronic stress relates to prolonged periods of tension from external or internal stressors and can lead to serious health issues.
Major IMPACTS of Stress on the Body
- Increased blood pressure
- Feelings of Nausea
- Stress ulcers
- Reduced immunity
- Impaired developmental growth
- Hyperventilation – Breathing difficulties
- Damage to artery walls, clots and potential stroke.
- IBS – constipation or diarrhoea
- Reduced wound healing
- Increased storage of fat
- Reduced memory function
- Back Pain
What is Anxiety?
When you still feel the effects of stress after the removal of the stressor. Simply defined, Anxiety is worrying about something you either cannot or do not do anything about.
Common extended stressors
- Running late
- Family difficulties
- Deadlines / Targets
- Relationship issues
- Sick Child
- Stuck in traffic
- Bills / Debt
- Study / Exams
Behavioural Symptoms of Stress or Anxiety
- Unusually quiet or excessively loud
- Unable to function
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Prolonged feelings of this nature can lead to Anxiety Disorder. Studies have shown that people suffering from Anxiety Disorder have an increased occurrence of developing chronic respiratory disorders, heart disease and Gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. Other than in survival mode situations, Stress and Anxiety appear not to be directly caused by outside events, but rather by the way a person responds to events and situations in their life. Two individuals faced with the same situation may respond in very Freedomdifferent ways. The first may experience a moment of stress then let the feelings pass right by. The second person takes on the stress, worries about it and dwells on the problem. These are the people who suffer health consequences down the track. If you, or someone you care about, is feeling the effects of Anxiety or Stress, then take the time to seek out assistance. Here at Vital Chi we offer several proven and effective treatments for these conditions, including Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Life and Success Coaching, Kinesiology and MiCBT. Our friendly staff can discuss with you the most suitable option for your circumstances.Realising this, it is not the goal to remove all stressors from your life but rather to learn techniques and skills on how to react differently when they occur. Learning how to control your response to these situations can have a dramatic impact on your feelings and consequently your health.
John Merritt is a clinical hypnotherapist and master practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) To find out how Hypnotherapy can assist you in overcoming anxiety, achieving confidence, happiness and success, call the clinic now on (03) 9894 0014