We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much –we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressure placed upon us. Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. Some stress get you going and they are good for you – without any stress at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless. However, when the stresses undermine both our mental and physical health they are bad. In this text we shall be focusing on stress that is bad for you.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE:
The way you respond to a challenge may also be a type of stress. Part of your response to a challenge is physiological and affects your physical state. When faced with a challenge or a threat, your body activates recourses to protect you- to either get away as fast as you can, or fight. If you are upstairs at home and an earthquake starts, the faster you can get yourself and your family out the more likely you are all to survive. If you need to save somebody’s life during that earthquake, by lifting a heavy weigt that has fallen on them, you will need components in your body to be activated to give you that extra strength – that extra push.
Our fight – or –flight response is our body’s sympathetic nervous system reacting to a stressful event. Our body produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline, which trigger a higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness – all these factors help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation.
Non-essential body functions slow down, such as our digestive and immune system when we are in fight or flight response mode. All resources can then be concentrated on rapid breathing. Blood flow, alertness and muscle use.
When we are stresses the following happens:
- Blood pressure rises
- Breathing becomes more rapid
- Digestive system slows down
- Heart rate (pulse) rises
- Immune system goes down
- Muscles become tense
- We do not sleep (heightened state of alertness)
Most of us have varying interpretations of what stress is about and what matters.
Some if us focus on what happens to us, such as breaking a bone or getting a promotion, while others think more about the event itself. What really matters are our thoughts about the situation in which we find ourselves.
We are continuously sizing up situations that confront us in life. We assess each situation, deciding whether something is a threat, how we can deal with it and what resources we can use. If we conclude that the required resources needed. effectively deal with the situation are beyond what we have available, we say the situation is stressful – and we react with a classical stress response. On the other hand, if we decide our available resources and skill are more than enough to deal with a situation, it is not seen as stressful to us.
The key to managing stress is being aware of your choices and making the right ones.
You cannot control all the events that bring stress to your life, but you can choose healthy ways to respond to them. You can learn to connect with your inner strength and to care for yourself in ways that prevent stress and that neutralize the negative effects of stress that could not be avoided.
Managing stress well consists in recognizing at any moment and in any situation that you do have a choice. You can respond to adversity like a reptile (snapping, running, or freezing), or you can respond creatively and humanely in a way that works for yourself and those around you. Using the intelligence of your heart and humor can ensure that you will respond in the latter manner. Stress management is the art of learning to manage your inner world. The results help make a better world.
STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGY : ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
Eat a healthy diet:- Well- nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
Reduce caffeine and sugar:- The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs:- Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
Get enough sleep:- Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally
—Source Various Medical Journals / Publications
Capt Abhishek Arora,
Master Mariner AFNI
+ 91 7733055669