by Annette Young
Stress infiltrates every aspect of life. It can sneak up on you while you are oblivious to its presence, it can destroy your sense of peace, strip away your ability to think and act with any coherent sense and leave you feeling weak and ineffectual. It destroys focus, chips away at the immune system and it increases your potential to be downright irritable. I’d like to say there’s nothing good about stress but actually, there is. Your stress response – (fight or flight) can save your life. It sharpens up your alertness so that you can respond to perceived dangers and, it can also make you work to your maximum potential (think exam stress) or, be off the starting blocks like lightning (think athletics) so, there are times when stress can work for you.
But, for the majority of us, stress is like an evil entity. It doesn’t matter how good your life, it can still invade without warning and create havoc, emotionally and physically. So, what can you do? The answer is to stand up and fight back. When I say you need to take these daily stressors by the scruff of the neck and shake them, I’m not kidding. Without taking a proactive approach, stress may ebb and flow, but don’t trust it, nor should you turn your back when you think that any situation is easing. It’s only waiting for a moment of weakness and it will pounce. Believe me, stress doesn’t just dissipate on its own, it waits to regain its strength and then it forms into a hideous monster that not only destroys your ability to experience peace and harmony during the day, but it manifests into some obscure creature that steals your sleep from you too. If you thought bedtime horrors were a thing of the past, think again. Stress, in all it’s glory can taunt you and prod you until you awaken with bloodshot eyes, all disorientated and dreading the day.
While I write this, a little tongue-in-cheek, you know that the words are still honest. Stress invades lives and, it can ruin them. When you are stressed, your words are likely to be a little more sharp, you’ll be irritable to anyone who dares approach. When stress doesn’t decrease, this behaviour continues, you’ll offend or upset friends and family, the very people who are likely to be on your side. You won’t sleep, so work will suffer. Your productivity will reduce as will your focus. Your ability to communicate effectively will dramatically become impaired because you are tired and, oh yes, your perception will be off kilter too. You are not alone in this. Many people are weighed down by the pressure of unresolved stressors. But stress also damages you physically too. You may feel nauseous, anxious, tearful or develop headaches, tension in the neck and shoulders or, conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But this is only the tip of a huge iceberg. Unresolved stress can kill. Remember, your mind and body must work together in unison, stress only fragments your balance in life. Equilibrium becomes a thing of the past.
The only way to recover and to embrace a normal and healthy life again is to grab stress by the scruff of the neck and resolve it. Yes, it means facing up to your problems. Don’t shy away, don’t bury your head in the sand, do something about it. You will feel a million times better. But there’s more that you can do too. You can learn powerful, effective stress management tips. You can build the foundations of your life so that you are no longer struggling to survive, but thriving whatever life throws at you. But you must take action, I may be biased but a great starting point for stress management techniques is published below. Well, you have to start somewhere……
Annette Young is a professional stress management, relaxation and addiction therapist and an experienced freelance writer, author and editor. She is passionate about holistic health and well-being.
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