Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life.
It’s almost impossible to live without stress and most of us won’t want to, positive stress gives life spice and excitement. In small doses stressors can help give us increased energy and alertness, even helping to keep us focused on the problem at hand. “Negative stress however leads to physical symptoms which are harmful to us,” says Dr Judy Jaye, national training manager of The Stress Clinic, a division of the international training company, The Voice Clinic.
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. Positive stress can be extremely useful to us but negative stress become an obstacle and mostly swings way out of control. Beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, contribute to infertility, and speed up the ageing process.
“All our emotional and physical strain is caused by our response to pressure from the outside world, which can cause a great deal of harm in our lives,” explains Dr Jaye.
Constant or chronic stress means that you are under stress all the time be it at work or at home.
Symptoms of stress are:
· Headaches. Constant headaches including severe migraines should indicate that you are stressed.
· Constant nausea and that feeling of having a “knot in your stomach” is a sure sign
of chronic stress
· A stiff neck and constant pain in the shoulders
· A dry mouth indicates that you are stressed
· Appetite loss or gain
· Chest pains, rapid heartbeat
· Frequent colds
· Loss of sex drive
· Constant weariness, waking up feeling exhausted
· Crying for no reason
· Short temper
· Feel as if there is no purpose, numbness of emotions
Dr Jaye says the above symptoms are the body’s way of reflecting stress and anxiety. “Stress lies in the mind,” explains Dr Jaye. William James, a well known psychologist from America stated: “Change your approach to change your results.”According to Dr Jaye this is the most important statement of the 21st century. It is not what happens but how you deal with the situation. “Remember you always have the choice,” says Dr Jaye. You either hold onto the stress or let it go! Says Dr Jaye, “ You are your own cheerleader. Motivate yourself, build up positive energy and become productive. Pull yourself out of a negative into the positive space”.
If you want to change your approach towards stress, the choice lies within yourself. You can do it! “The choice is yours,” says Dr Jaye. She says one should always look for humour in stressful situations. Eleanor Roosevelt said,” Humour tranquilises with no side effects.”
According to Dr Jaye we should strive towards excellence and not perfection. “Perfection cannot be obtained and you will therefore never feel confident, excellence means doing your very best and being happy with the results,” concludes Dr Jaye.