"Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it."
According to a new survey, released by Bupa, stress is at chronic proportions in Britain with 44 % of the adult population suffering from debilitating stress. Out of these frazzled people, two-fifths (27%) say they regularly feel close to breaking point. This is an epidemic and we should be concerned! Stress damages our health, decreases our quality of life and reduces our productivity.
Here's a simple check of your stress level: try to lower your shoulders. If you can't - if your shoulders are tense - your body is in defense physiology because of chronic stress. Keeping your shoulders raised is just one clue that you are chronically "stressed out." Other stress clues include sensations of a "knot" in your stomach, your heart pounding, feeling tense or nervous most of the time, habitual foot-bouncing, finger-tapping, teeth-grinding, jaw-clenching, or coming "unglued" easily.
Additionally, when you are stressed, the extra tension in your muscles may cause excessive pull on the spinal bones that they attach to and cause them to become misaligned. This is called a subluxation, which further aggravates the problem. These misalignments may irritate the nerves that they are close to and create a vicious cycle of even more stress in your physiology.
When you are under any kind of stress - life threatening or just irritating - your body is goes into defense physiology. This is known as the fight or flight response. Your body is preparing for danger as if it is getting ready to outrun a lion. Organs and glands change gears, your adrenal glands are activated, blood pressure goes up, digestion slows, muscles tense, and your overall physiology prepares to help you survive.
Stress from an emergency is over in a short time. However, stress from anxiety, worry or anger keeps your body in defense physiology 24 hours a day. Every organ, tissue and cell works overtime. Eventually, your body becomes exhausted and your normal healing processes shut down. You become a candidate for chronic fatigue, depression and disease.
Additionally, when your body is in a chronic state of "defense physiology", you are unable to process information correctly.
Your brain is constantly being updated with information. There are approximately 300,000 impulses per second coming into your brain from your five senses. If you are in defense physiology, the information coming up to the brain is altered and therefore your responses and reactions become inappropriate. This negatively affects your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Unless you are in a crisis situation, you should be reasonably relaxed and your mental emotional default should be one of ease, joy and happiness.
Stress shows up in many forms. Below are three types of chronic stressors that bomard you daily:
1) Mental or emotional stress (including job pressure, family problems and deadlines)
2) Chemical stress (processed foods, drugs, chemicals, poisons, pollution, etc.)
3) Physical stress (bad posture, falls, injuries, repetitive movements, sedentary lifestyle, etc.)
If you are suffering from chronic stress here are some suggestions that may help you:
1) Take inventory and Clean Out Your Stress! Review the 3 types of stressors in your life and decide where you can reduce the stress that is bombarding you. Often, awareness in 80% of the solution. Are there some projects that you can drop? Can you extend some unrealistic time-lines?
3) Eat stress-busting foods such as avocados, whole grains, almonds and sunflower seeds.
4) Avoid Stress-promoting foods such as: Coffee, energy drinks, sodas, alcohol, fried foods and foods high in polysaturated fats found in processed foods.
5) Chillax and cleanse your mind with daily meditation!
Think of meditation as your daily "mental-shower" cleaning out toxic and stressful thoughts every day.
A little stress is good as it keeps us challenged and engaged... but as stated by Donal Tubesing:
"Stress is like spice - in the right proportion it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; too much may choke you."
All fotos used with license and permission from FOTOLIA.