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Mental Health: Stress: Dealing with Stress  Previous Next

Dealing with Stress

by: Jeffrey Rose

Unhealthy levels of stress have become an unfortunate part of the modern life most people are living today. A desire to alleviate this stress has led many people to pursue ways to deal with it that are unhealthy. The reader, who is suffering from the effects of stress, may think that many of the successful people around them who are extremely busy and working long hours are somehow more resourceful when faced with the demands of modern life. However, human beings have a natural limit to how much effort and strain they can deal with. I’m sure many of you would be surprised how often many of these, seemingly more capable, people turn out to be dependent on some form of drugs to be able to continue on in life the way they are going. These drugs may be legal pharmaceuticals such as tranquilizers, anti-depression drugs, and also, ones designed to deal with anxiety and insomnia. But,also, many people take illegal drugs, not just for the physiological and mental enjoyment they might provide, but often to escape from otherwise, unbearable stress. People may actually be self-medicating themselves when they smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively and use marijuana. In addition, because the stress they are subject to may leave them enervated and tired, they may also resort to stimulants, such as nicotine and caffeine, or even illegal drugs such as cocaine, to keep their energy up to be able to do all they want to do in their rushed lives.
The stress response as an adaptation that allows one to deal with an emergency situation, is of great value. The flight or fight response to an imminent danger is the original form of physiological response to the stress of a threat to our survival. Hormones are released within the body, such as adrenaline, to help us respond by increasing our heart rate and raising our blood pressure by constricting our blood vessels. This allows us to get more blood to muscles that might be necessary for our survival. The muscles also tense to be ready for action. Other hormones signal for the release of cortisol, which allows more blood sugar to be available for any fight or evasive retreat that is called for. However, to have the body remain in this emergency physiological state for long periods of time is extremely mentally uncomfortable and physiologically unhealthy. Unfortunately, this is exactly what occurs from the experience of stress in our modern life.

Stress can lead to troubled sleep and insomnia, and also interfere with normal sexual function. It can affect concentration and memory. It not only leads to muscle tension throughout the body, but this muscle tension can lead to serious tension headaches.
Among the other negative things that occur, our blood pressure remains heightened and cortisol, unhealthy to the body in sustained amounts, continues to flow into our body. The release of cortisol, a major stress hormone, appears to promote the formation of fat around the abdomen, an area that is considered the most unhealthy place to store fat.
And the psychological nature of stress may be one of the key reasons some people become and stay fat.  Sugar and blood glucose raising foods which act like sugar, such as bread, bagels, pasta and white potatoes, increase the glucose going to the brain, which makes us feel better. But they also generate a lot of insulin which then withdraws the glucose from the blood, and makes us feel down all over again, creating an unhealthy mood cycle that leads to our using these same foods again, and gaining weight. In addition, these foods stimulate the production of serotonin which relieves stress and anxiety by putting our minds in a more relaxed and peaceful state, another reason we crave them when stressed and put on weight.

People can be subject to these stress conditions in ways that they fully realize, or, for some, they can remain unaware of just how much stress they are being subjected to, and continue on as they are doing, until their true condition is finally reflected in some serious health condition. The fact is, even low levels of stress, if they are chronic, can have serious negative effects on one’s life.

Individuals who are self-employed or their own bosses can experience ongoing stress because of the demands they place upon themselves. On the other hand, the typical worker may experience stress for number of reasons. They may be subject to pressure because of the complexity and time constraints of their work. The regular job itself may be structured with deadlines or amounts of work that are very demanding. This may occur sometimes in a company that wishes to be more profitable by reducing their work force, and then unreasonably asks the remaining workers to increase their own load of work, to maintain the same overall level of productivity. Another cause of stress may be that a worker is subject to a poorly skilled boss who is unable to make clear what is expected of him, or relates by bullying and harassing the individual.  A key psychological cause of stress on a job is a feeling that one has little power or influence over one’s working life. Employers should definitely interest themselves in becoming aware of reducing stress in the workplace as stress can seriously reduce a worker’s effectiveness. His concentration and memory may become impaired and he may experience debilitating sleep disruptions with an increase of danger from accidents both in and out of workplace. Overall, his potential for developing health problems increases considerably.

And, of course, in one’s social life, ongoing stress may be caused by a family illness or death, or social strife within a family or other social relations. Personal financial problems can also be a significant source of stress.

Just the demands and strain caused by an overly busy active life in which there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done, except, maybe, by rushing and hurrying through one’s day, without any real moments of taking your time, or just slowing down completely and relaxing, can create serious ongoing stress for the mind and body.
Ongoing stress will sap your energy and debilitate you so that you may resort to taking in more caffeine from different sources, as it is  found not only coffee, but in many popular sodas and even some teas. Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, and may give you a sense of having more energy. In the end, this will prove counterproductive as adrenaline is a stress hormone, and even though you may feel more energy, you will be experiencing even more of the effects of stress such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. Anyone suffering from stress needs to keep caffeine out of their life. Overall caffeine works against the relaxation you are in need of to counter and diminish your psychological and physiological stressed state.

Hypnosis is one modality people can use to relieve their stress. Since our beliefs and attitudes can influence how capable and confident we feel about ourselves, they can influence how stressed we feel when we have to deal with life’s challenges. With hypnosis people can change the underlying attitudes and beliefs in their subconscious mind, and meet life’s challenges in a more resourceful, less stressful way. In addition, hypnosis can be used to help people experience and incorporate stress reducing, relaxing mental and physical states into their everyday lives.  For all these reasons hypnosis is the easiest and quickest way to alleviate stress and live a healthier, relaxing life.

 

Jeffrey Rose, CMH, is New York's leading doctor-referred, Certified Hypnotist , and is presently the director at The Advanced Hypnosis Center, (www.ahcenter.com), in New York City. He has practiced hypnosis for many years, successfully helping people with a wide variety of challenges to make important changes in their life and achieve their goals. Mr. Rose is not only a skilled practitioner of the art of hypnosis, but he is very knowledgeable in a wide variety of health-related fields. He has written many articles for health magazines, including being a staff writer for Recover Magazine, and is currently writing a book on weight .

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