Wednesday, 30 June 2010

#8.Stress management

Stress is the silent killer. You often don't know you are suffering from stress related disease. The difference between blood flow and blood clot can be millimetres. It is also something which we think we will deal with when the time comes. Some stress is actually good for us as stress/overload is how the body is able to grow and repair. However, psychological stress is the real problem.

An older client said to me, "I don't understand young people and stress. If they want to experience stress, they should try living on rations." This is a common misconception. Regardless of how ridiculous it seems, if you think the world is about to end because you haven't got your favourite locker at the gym, you can experience a heightened state of stress. Your brain can't differentiate between an actual stressor (being chased by a lion) and a psychological stressor (your interpretation). The mind is powerful enough to make you think that it is really happening. The body then starts a chain reaction of chemical messengers because it thinks there is real danger. The truth is it is all in our head. We all know those people who get worked up over the most ridiculous things.

Perception is reality so to help reduce stress levels, it is all about changing the lens you look at life with. This is only half the battle. Life will send you challenges which can get you all hot and bothered again. If you argue with yourself in the shower or continue an argument you had with a collegue, later on, by yourself, this applies to you! Getting some objectivity on your life can bring you into the present which will dramatically improve stress levels. Most people who experience stress are worried about things that haven't happened yet. Or things that happened in the past. It has been described by some experts as a symptom of the human consciousness. We worry about tomorrow when today hasn't happened yet.

Holidays are great because they take you away from life inside your own head and allow you to switch off. Boxing classes and general exercise are also great as you can take out your frustration in a controlled environment. Spending time with kids can also be a good stress reliever. Kids live life in the present and can bring you down to earth with a bump! Anything which makes you switch off is as important as work.

A friend of a friend dropped down dead in a gym not long ago. Stress related disease has been cited as a cause of death. This should be a reminder that we all need to take our health seriously. The truth is the majority of what we consider 'important' isn't that important. If you catch yourself getting worked up, ask yourself if it is really worth dying for?

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