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What is Stress?

Is it you?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defences kick into a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.” That is the way your body is protecting you, the way of preparing to meet a situation with focus and heightened alertness.

You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress. Our body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger.

Stress becomes negative when we experience continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, we can become overworked, and stress-related tension builds. The body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in stress response through hormones which causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations. This stress response is activated in case of an emergency. However, this response can become chronically activated during prolonged periods of stress. Prolonged activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body – both physical and emotional.

Continues stress can lead to a condition called Distress – a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, a rise in blood pressure, chest pain and sleeping problems

Emotional problems can also result from distress. These problems include depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.

What triggers this stress response (stressors) is different in every person. A broken down car mightn’t be a problem for your but can stress me enormously. The way we react to stressors depends on different factors but mainly on how we learned to cope with arising events

Chronic stress can wear down the body’s natural defences, leading to a variety of physical symptoms, including the following:

  • Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it.”
  • General aches and pains.
  • Grinding teeth, clenched jaw.
  • Headaches.
  • Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
  • Increase in or loss of appetite.
  • Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders.
  • Problems sleeping.
  • Racing heart
  • Cold and sweaty palms.
  • Tiredness, exhaustion.
  • Trembling/shaking.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Upset stomach, diarrhoea.
  • Sexual difficulties.

The good news is that we can relearn our reaction to stressors and thus ease our daily life. In this connection it is important to find your own personal way to relax and eliminate stressors. I am happy to help you to find your way. Please check out the article What’s YOUR way to ease Stress.

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Author: Ute Klingler

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