What is Anxiety & Stress
Anxiety is a state of fear, which may be thought of as the overreaction of the mind in the ineffectual attempt to overcome a difficult environment.
People who suffer from stress are prone to create a physical reaction of one or more ailments, fears or anxieties in an effort to defend themselves against an almost impossible situation.
Lengthy or prolonged states of anxiety and stress can also present with symptoms of fatigue and resentment towards others. The types of dis-ease vary but are all attempts at provoking an emotional reaction from someone, which is often at an unconscious level.
Because the state of anxiety and stress is marked by excessive introspection, sufferers constantly think about themselves and attempt to draw others into their world that they feel they have no control of.
Frustration & Demands
Modern life is full of frustrations and demands. For many of us, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life.
When stress becomes overwhelming it can damage your health, mood, relationships and quality of life. Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.
When we feel threatened, our nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens and the senses become sharper.
Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated, for example, when you worry excessively about something that may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.
External, Internal & Mental Causes Of Stress
Common external causes of stress include major life changes, relationship difficulties, financial problems and being too busy with family, children and society.
Common internal causes of stress include chronic worry, pessimism, negative self-tall, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, rigid thinking and lack of flexibility.
Common mental symptoms of stress include constant irritability with people, feeling unable to cope, lack of interest in life, constant or recurrent fear of disease, feelings of being a failure, feelings of being bad or feelings of self-hatred, difficulty in making decisions, loss of interest in other people and life, suppressed rage or anger because of the inability to show your true feelings, difficulty letting go and laughing, feelings of being the target of other people’s animosity, feeling neglected and dread of the future.
Do you relate to any of these symptoms? When last did you take time out for yourself?
Signs of Mental Stress
Finding it difficult to concentrate is also connected with this racing mind, if thoughts are flooding through then it becomes very difficult to focus on one thing at a time.
Concentration is like a laser beam, it pulls a lot of mental power together to apply it to one situation or challenge, this is why regular breaks are a good idea where you get some fresh air and breath deeply to clear your head.
Forgetfulness is something we all feel momentarily, however if you are constantly finding yourself forgetting things and this causes disruption in your life, then there is probably a mental lever where you are not connected to the present moment.
It is important to learn techniques to ground on in the present moment and then one will notice tings and remember the.
Getting over-fussy happens when the mind is so overloaded that a person latches onto particular things and goes over and over them again, showing signs of extreme impatience with others. This list is not exhaustive but gives an idea of some of the most common signs of mental stress.
Our emotions or feelings are another aspect of the overall picture of stress. Emotions are literally ‘energy in motion’; they are powerful and can strongly influence our lives. Negative emotions tend to cause emotional stress which can affect us very deeply to the point where life becomes almost frozen and we experience emotional pain or even numbness.
Emotional stress patterns are that they tend to arise out of interactions with other people and often have their sources in childhood. If you were constantly told you were useless and your talents were never acknowledged as a child, this may have significant effects on how one feels about yourself as an adult.
These thought patterns can be changed and by building one’s own sense of self-worth, one can choose to see yourself differently.
Emotional stress also induces symptoms of depression, phobias, panic attacks and feelings of abandonment or isolation, which can lead to very withdrawn behavior, affecting your relationships with other people.
What causes excessive stress depends, at least in part, on one’s perception on it. What may be stressful to you may not deter someone else.
Factors that influence our stress tolerance include our support network, our exercise levels, our diet, our sense of control, our attitude and outlook and our ability to deal with our emotions.
There are times that we all feel mental and emotional stress; it’s a fact of being alive in this place and time. Our feelings and thoughts allow us to interpret and react to the world around us in every moment of existence.
They are vital and valuable tools that can help build our perception of how the world is.
The emphasis we are looking for is balance!
If feelings and thoughts get out of harmony then the picture we see of the world becomes distorted and that in turn creates more disharmony, more distortion and so on.
Managing mental and emotional stress is very much a question of identifying key thoughts and feelings, noticing the kinds of effect they have and choosing to work with them differently.
What stress ‘triggers’ do you have?
While unchecked stress is undeniably damaging, we have more control than we might think.
There are many healthy ways to cope with stress and it symptoms and find out what feels good for us. Two things are apparent when you start using stress relieving exercises and techniques to combat stress and relax the body.
One is that you take time, which means that the pace of your day immediately slows down. You should take between 10 and 30 minutes a day to using just one or two techniques.
Knowing that you are ‘taking time out’ in a constructive way to help yourself is a huge psychological boost. Finding ways to relax allows change to happen within the nervous system where the brain emits a different set of chemicals that counteract the stress response by allowing blood back to the organs as well as to the digestive system.
This reaction also allows the body to rebalance itself and encourages renewal at cellular level. The breathing slows down, blood pressure and the body rests.
If we stay in heightened stress patterns too long, the body never gets the chance to relax properly and restore its energy levels.
Many of the exercises and techniques to choose from to help one experience a sense of deeper relaxation and calm involve breathing techniques. Combined with stretches and movements, controlled breathing is one of the most effect ways to diffuse and ease physical stress.
Turning Stress Around
If ones stress is related to circumstances beyond your control and you feel you have no power to influence it, if you can turn that situation around and realize that you can still make some choices, then you can start to reclaim your personal power in the situation.
Putting it simply “if you can’t change the situation, change yourself!”
This is actually taking a more spiritual perspective along the lines of traditions like Buddhism, where the way the world seems on the outside is less important than how one is on the inside.
If you can get in touch with a place of peace and ‘centre’ within yourself, this is one of the most potent tools for dealing with any external situation, no matter how difficult it may seem.
What happens is that from the place of ‘centre’ the situation may actually start to look different and the way you react to it will change.
Meditation, Candle Focus, Mantra Focus, Visualizations and Yoga are just some ways of managing stress and can actually open up new levels of awareness and empowerment. Your level of internal balance can directly affect your external experience – for the better.
Stress & Your Personal Space
Last but not least stress levels affect your ‘personal space’ in many ways and if you look closely you will begin to see the clues.
When you are stressed, for whatever reason, it affects the choices you make and the things you decide to do – or not to do. This immediately has an effect on your surroundings.
Creating as clear an area as possible for living, being, breathing and meditating can reflect a feeling of peace and openness and a simple bowl of flowers or a lit candle transmits a feeling of tranquility and balance.
This is what happens when personal space is worked on with using intent, so clearing the outside aspect (what you see and live in) creates room for the inner aspect (your inner feelings) to develop and grow.
In terms of managing stress, coping with change is probably the most important skill to learn. The more you practice it, the more you improve and then life events do not have such a stressful impact.
Allowing change and giving yourself permission to take care of yourself and doing something just for you that really contributes to your relaxation, health and well-being is a good place to start.