An Article by David S Prudhomme and Ruth E Schneider
Stress is often misunderstood. Some people think of stress as “Good” – spurring them to action, or “Bad” – paralyzing them and keeping them from action. In fact, all stress is an undesirable automatic reaction that with awareness can be shifted.
Stress is an automatic “in-born” response to a situation or circumstance that is different from a person’s “hard-wired” personal preferences. It’s a natural undesirable physiological and psychological reaction that adversely affect the mind and body.
Studies are now showing that stress causes or exacerbates 85% of all illness, and that it is the root cause of many problems from relationship issues, to smoking, weight gain, pain, sleeplessness, physical illness, addictions, anxiety and depression. So each individual is born with “predetermined” preferences that dictate their patterns of stress and their unique reactions to stress.
The good news is those natural preferences can be easily and accurately measured. Each personal preference has the potential for causing an “automatic” stress response. Once you understand what causes you stress, you can easily stop the “hard-wired” reaction and choose a different response – one that works for you!
So, where does stress come from? All stress starts with a “thought”; it is usually pining about the past or worrying about the future. The truth is you cannot change the past nor can you control the future. You live in the “present moment”. Every thought you have, every emotion you experience, and every behavior you choose – all happen in the present moment. You cannot control the weather, the economy, your friends, your co-workers, your spouse, or any member of your family. What you can control is YOU.
All stress, regardless of the source, causes an immediate “Fight or Flight” response in the body and the mind. A cascade of physical and mental changes take place. Your adrenaline levels go up, causing your mind to start the “gerbil wheel” of racing thoughts.
Your cortisol levels go up and cortisol is a stress hormone that causes your body to stop burning fat. Your blood pressure goes up, your blood sugar goes up, and your immune system is negatively affected. Your hormones become unbalanced. When your body is producing “stress” hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, it cannot produce adequate amounts of “good” hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin (for the female) and testosterone and dopamine (for the male).
Your metabolism is negatively impacted. Your digestion is slowed and you absorb fewer nutrients.
Your risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer all go up. You are more likely to experience frequent headaches; or be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue.
And, medical conditions are magnified by stress, stressed people report having more pain, and those with chronic illnesses report having more flare-ups or symptoms when they are stressed. All of these physical and mental responses are “hard-wired” into the body and mind; they happen automatically.
In fact, even if you “imagine” something negative happening in the future, your mind and body react as if it is “really” happening. Most of us are taught, at an early age, to “worry” about the worst possible thing that could happen, so that if it does happen we are “ready” for it. In fact that does not work at all. The problem is we are actually causing ourselves stress rather than preparing ourselves to handle the worst case scenario. The fact is that most of the things you worry about never actually happen, but your body and mind already think they did.
Many people have been operating under “stress” for so long they don’t even realize it. The human body and mind are not designed to be stressed all day long! Yet with the current fast-paced culture and lifestyles of most people, that is exactly what is happening.
Chronic stress is now being recognized by the scientific and medical communities as one of the main causes of illness. And some medical professionals now believe that reducing stress may be even more important than stopping smoking to ensure their clients’ health and well-being.
The Three Most Important Things You Can Do – and Do NOW!
First, recognize you are stressed and choose to do something about it. Two, begin a practice of daily deep breathing, taking 10 deep yoga or belly breathes at least 7 times a day, this causes an automatic “relaxation response” in your body and your mind. Three, talk with your doctor and/or stress reduction consultant about programs available that will address your needs. For example, our program, From Stressed to Best™, is being used by individuals, couples/families, small businesses as well as P&G, educators, wellness practitioners and medical professionals.
FROM STRESSED TO BEST™
The Four-Step Program – for Each Personality Type
From Stressed to Best™ provides you with a Four-Step Program, tailored to your distinct Personality Type, which will guide you into understanding HOW to return to your “Best Mode” of operating. You will learn HOW you can go from your “Stress Mode” to your “Best Mode” and improve your effectiveness in every relationship in your life, personally and professionally. Take back control of your life.