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Am I Stressed?!

Am I Stressed?

If you have to ask…


Our modern day-to-day lifestyle is so demanding that stress has almost become our normal state of being, our normal state of existence.


Do you think that your life could use a bit (read as, “a lot”) more balance? Are you burning yourself out with no real progress because your mental, emotional, and physical health are suffering? Slowing you down?


Your connections are suffering, your career is suffering, your personal life is on its last few breaths…you are no longer in control…

Stress is the negative feelings and reactions we experience when we feel we are being challenged, or we are facing a threat.

When is it stress?


• Your day-to-day functioning is affected (you are not fully present in your relationships, you are not able to do your best at work, you do not have the time or energy to do anything).

• Your body and its functions are affected (health, energy, memory, concentration etc.).

• Your mental health is taking a beating.

• Your behaviour is affected.

• Your overall quality of life is affected.

by an event like divorce, death, job loss, physical assault.


How does stress affect your body?


o You can develop breathing issues

i.e. shortness of breath due to feeling like your lungs and nose are constricting.

o The risk of a heart attack, hypertension, and stroke are highly increased.

o Development of reproduction and sex drive issues

the chances of having children are lowered, your libido is also lowered.

o You can suffer exhaustion / a mental breakdown.

o You feel tension in certain areas from the constant tensing up when you are stressed

e.g. headaches/migraines which cause tension in the shoulders, neck, and head.

How does stress affect your mental health?

o You are more prone to depression and anxiety.

o You can develop issues with concentration.

o Insomnia (struggling to sleep and have restful sleep).

o Intrusive thoughts.

o You can end up feeling like you are not in control.


How does stress affect behaviour?


o Social withdrawal

i.e. isolating.

o You are more prone to the overuse of drugs, alcohol, tobacco

i.e. self medicating.

o Frequent emotional outbursts.

o Overeating/undereating.


How do we process stress and decide that it is indeed stress?


There is something called the Transaction Theory of stress which is a two-level process. First, there is the


Primary appraisal

We ask:

Is this event stressful or not?

We then ask:

Is it a threat? (can it cause harm/loss?)

Is it a challenge? (is there potential for growth or some sort of gain?)


We then get onto the

Secondary appraisal

We ask:

What are the resources I require to deal with this situation/event?

Do I have the required resources?

What options do I have?


So, in short, stress is when:

1. We rate something as a stressor.

2. We decide it is personal (It will affect me in some way, usually a bad way)

3. There is an imbalance between what we decide is stressful, and the resources we have available to us to deal with the stressful event/situation.


There is also good stress. Healthy stress. This is called Eustress. It is the kind of stress that is good, it is motivating, it is stimulating, and it provides a sense of fulfilment to us due to the growth or benefits that we foresee coming from it.


A great example of eustress is traveling. Getting time off, cutting back on expenses to save more, getting the right bookings, and going to a place where you are unfamiliar with the culture and language can be a little stressful. Looking forward to, planning, and going through that gives you stress that makes you feel excited, nervous, fulfilled, reflective, enlightened and better for the experience.


There are other kinds of stress, acute stress, intermittent stress, and chronic stress.


Acute Stress is stress caused by an immediate threat, like having to write an exam. Your stress lasts until you finish writing the exam. One usually bounces back easily from this kind of stress, especially when it is well managed.


Intermittent Stress alternates between stress periods and calm periods. A good example is a big project that comes up at work that needs all hands on deck for a couple of months. The stress is over when the project is done and maybe a few months go by before another project of that caliber comes up again. The stress will arise again when that time comes.


Chronic Stress is ongoing. Regardless of the situation at hand, the quality of your life and constant state of existence is STRESS. Which means that you are constantly tense and putting strain on your body, your brain, your mental health and behaving in ways which do not serve you in any way. Instead of inching closer, you are inching further and further away from your ideal self, lifestyle, job, business, partner, friends. This can heavily decrease the quality of your life.


The main sources of stress in our modern day lives are:

Frustration, caused by things which make us feel out of control, misunderstood, and out of options.

Conflict, which can arise when we feel threatened, and like what we want is being kept from us.

Pressure, which, often, is felt from the expectations others have of us, as well as from the expectations we have of ourselves.


With all of that in mind, take a breath because here are the best ways to overcome and deal with stress:


Express your feelings

• Find a way to label and speak about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it.

• Journal, this is a good way to track and make sense of your emotions and thoughts.

• Speak to a friend you trust.

Find great activities to channel the energy

• Go for a jog.

• Do some yoga.

• Do something creative like doing a DIY project, painting, drawing, dancing.

Exercise

• Join the gym.

• Find free videos online to do at home.

• Take walks after work / after dinner.

Eat healthy

• Make healthier meal choices.

• Cut down on sugar and junk.

• Up your intake of fruits, vegetables, and water.


Therapy / coaching

  • Talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Coaching are also great ways to navigate through things, gain tools and take back control.


If your answer to the first question is a resounding, "Yes, Coach Nomie!", or from reading this you realised you are, in fact, stressed. I am sure you are already mentally planning and looking forward to trying a few, and perhaps eventually all, of the above suggestions.


Coach Nomie, Take Control x

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