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  • Strategies To Overcome Stress

    Strategies To Overcome Stress

    We are constantly bombarded with media telling us how stressed we are and how it is having bad consequences on our health; the cost to employees is immense due to stress induced sick leave and we are told we need to reduce our stress levels significantly. But where do you start? What is happening to you when stressed and what can be done about it? Is there an answer or should you just put up with how your life is? How can you find out the best strategy for you to overcome the stress you are experiencing?

    Firstly, let’s get an understanding of what stress is. When we feel threatened, scared or under attack, our body responds by pumping hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol through your body. In evolutionary terms, this has been the reason we have survived and not been eaten by the first tiger that came out way. These hormones enable you to have the energy and focus to fight or flee from something threatening. It also creates the focus to hunt successfully. Once these actions have been completed, the body stops pumping these fight or flight hormones and you go back to aware relaxation.

    Depending on your circumstances you can start to perceive aspects of our lives as the tiger – your high pressure job; juggling family and work; your partner; your overflowing lists and appointments; the attempt to fulfill others and your own needs. Life has become so busy, full and frantic, that we are relating to life as it is a big tiger ready to pounce. You might feel a tightness in your chest; have a very short fuse; have a disturbed digestive system; heart palpitations and often exhausted. The effect this can have on you can reduce your immune system, effect sleep, increase alcohol and sugar consumption; put immense pressure on already strained relationships, PMS and make career paths draining. You can be left feeling exhausted and drained of all your left over resources. So what can be done about it?

    There are 3 main choices you can make when it comes to your stress and how you handle it. These are:

    Batten down the hatches and wait for it to pass.

    This is when you recognise you are feeling stressed and life is getting too much. Instead of making significant decisions at this time, or getting in an unnecessary argument, you avoid anything or anyone who might increase your stress. An example of this is taking time off work when your workplace is contributing to how you’re feeling. It gives you time out and a chance to re-energise. But what happens when you go back? The strategy to coping with stress is to the flight option. There is nothing else to assist you

    Change how you look at it.

    This is a good strategy to coping with stress as it changes the way you perceive the stress you are feeling. Stress is a necessity for our survival and gets us focusing on what we need and to enables us to see it through. When you know that the stress you are feeling is there for a reason, you can start to recognise your triggers. When life feels stressful, it is great to reach out to others to connect with them. Connection creates the hormone oxytocin to be released. Oxytocin helps the body to heal from the damage stress can create. So talking with people that we trust can actually heal you! Meditation, Mindfulness and CBT all focus on enabling you to learn these coping strategies so you can gain control over the levels you have.

     Get rid of it

    This is about getting to the core of the stress and releasing whatever this is. Often with the assistance of an expert in this field, it is possible to alter the ways your body responds to your life. Experiencing stress is your body responding perfectly; it is just responding to the wrong thing. So what happens when you stop your body and mind perceiving life as the tiger, but just sees it for what it is – difficult relationship, tough job, too many tasks to do? The stress response just raises to the level to enable you to tackle what is within your capability and you can be calm about that. We all have our own reasons that set off these stress responses, so we all have our own unique journey to release it. So whether your stress has risen from a past traumatic event, from a current ongoing event or if it is an accumulation from a few different things, it is possible to get rid of it.

    These 3 options can all have their place and you might find you are attracted to one over the others. It is important to recognise that all 3 have their uses at different times depending on your circumstances. Stress and anxiety are a huge issue within today’s society. But there is no need for you to be a prisoner and stress your jailer. There are many strategies to coping and overcoming stress.



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