Fighting Stress Part III

Continuing on from last time…

And if you missed Part I, you can go here and read it now

If you missed Part II, you can catch up by going here and read it now

Some stress is good for us but what are symptoms of bad stress? What should we look out for as warning signs that we are reaching a dangerous point?

The warning signs to watch for occur when the stress threshold has been reached. This happens when a persons abilities to cope with the pressures around them exceed their coping skills and negative symptoms set in

Some symptoms your body and mind have had enough stress… (Provided to us by Stress Manager in the UK Michael O’Sullivan and presented to you in no particular order)

  • Comfort eating and obesity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anorexia (treatment of which should be referred to a specialist)
  • Increase in alcohol dependence
  • Increase in nicotine dependence
  • Increase in caffeine consumption
  • First time substance abuse
  • Increase in substance abuse
  • Marked increase in irritability
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Outbursts of suppressed anger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Short term memory problems
  • Loss of sense of humor (Keeping your humor is extremely important for your health and general well being… we will go into why later)
  • Inability to have fun
  • Paranoia
  • Feeling loss of control
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Loss of focus (starting a new task before finishing another etc.)
  • Feel like crying
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Fear that something bad is about to happen contrary to evidence
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Absenteeism
  • Feeling constantly tired and run down
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Panic attack
  • Can’t stop thinking about problems
  • Focusing on the negative
  • Feeling pressured against evidence to the contrary
  • Being uncharacteristically rude or sarcastic
  • Overly sensitive to criticism
  • Physical symptoms
  • Muscle tension
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Non-specific aches and pains
  • Old injuries playing up
  • Palpitations
  • Indigestion
  • Breathing problems when under pressure
  • Teeth grinding
  • Pallor (unusual or extreme paleness, as from fear, ill health, or death; wanness.)
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Loss or change of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Fainting or feeling faint
  • Nervous ticks and twitches
  • Foot tapping
  • Hand wringing
  • Nail biting
  • General nervousness
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Eczema, either onset or worsening of condition
  • Psoriasis, either onset or worsening of condition
  • Increased sweating
  • Cold fingers and toes
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Weight loss
  • Worsening of asthma
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Frequent low level infections
  • Itching
  • Hair suddenly falling out more than usual
  • Pulling out hair on your head
  • Pulling out eyebrow

So you can see, your body will react and give you warning signs that it is being overcome with stress.

Again, some major causes of stress are:

  1. Your interpretation of the situation. The situation is what it is. It’s neither good or bad. It’s meaning is what meaning you give to it.
  2. Being aware of and not having the ability to control a perceived threat.
  3. Feeling the situation is wildly out of your control.

Let’s have a quick look at these three things, and what we can do, and how they may just be different from what is causing stress.

Picture this…

You are walking down a semi-deserted street at night… Suddenly you hear footsteps. The footsteps are coming from behind you.

Your mind suddenly flashes with all sorts of horrible dangers.

You think, “Maybe it’s a mugger.”

OR, Maybe “I’m going to get robbed.”

Or Worse

Or maybe you have been watching too many Crime TV shows, CIS, etc. So you start to think you are going to get murdered.

Why does your mind focus on these things rather than something else?

Self preservation. Your body wants to be safe.

It’s only natural. But the worry you get from hearing those footsteps in the night… That really bothers you.

So you start walking faster, not knowing who or what it is behind you. As you walk faster, you hear the steps going faster too.

You hear the steps catching up to you.

Then you hear it…

A voice in a rather loud tone. “Hey, you dropped your wallet and I’m trying to give it back to you.” You feel for your wallet and sure enough, it’s not there.

So you turn around, and the monster of the dark unknown melts away into a friendly smile on a person who is handing you back your wallet, with the money still in it 🙂 … ALL the money… credit cards too.

Since you were not in control earlier, you jumped into high stress gear.

Now, how could we have avoided the stress? Be prepared… make a plan and go through the scenario in our minds numerous times. That way we are in control of the situation.

If we analyze the situation described above…

First – we’re walking down a semi-deserted street at night. Why do it alone, if we are not prepared to react if something bad is about to happen?

Being prepared, will help alleviate the potential stressful situation.

Second – We start fantasizing about all the monsters coming out of the closet and from under the bed. Our mind starts to think of all the bad things that could happen and builds them up. Why? Because we are not in control of the situation. We do not know what the true situation is. We are simply interpreting the situation without really evaluating it and understanding the facts.

It all turned out to be something good. Not bad. Our stress was caused for nothing.

I’m going to ask you to join me for the rest of the month of April in doing something. Something to alleviate stress we all feel.

Did you know that April in the USA has been designated as “National Humor Month?”

So here is what I propose.

And I’d really like you to join me in this…

Every day, find something funny in a situation that would normally cause you anger, fear, stress, or sadness.

Think about the humor in it, and have a good laugh.

Gallows humor is fine too.

“Hey! I wrote to the government and told them I’m underwater in my house and asked for a bail-out. You know what they sent me?… a bucket.”

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Meditations

“People are prisoners of their own thoughts, but the bars are
invisible, the bars are what we understand or hold to be true.”
— Ben Mack as Howard Campbell
Live Healthy!
Ben