Everyone experiences stress at some points in their lives but some cope better than others. Stress  is usually associated with negativity but it can be caused by exciting things  such as moving house, getting married, having a baby, leaving school, starting college or university.

Personal stressors are the things, people, circumstances or events which trigger the stress response. We all have a natural inclination to move away from anything that causes pain or upset, much preferring the fun and pleasurable things that life has to offer but in this real world we need to find a balance.

Most people can cope with short periods of  pressure or mild stress, and it can often be relieved by  deep breathing, taking time out to relax, going for a walk,  discussing things  with friends, or having a good night’s sleep. Chronic (long-term, continuous) stress is much harder to deal with, and can be psychologically and emotionally damaging, both for an individual and for friends and family.

In Stone Age times, life was more straightforward – if you saw a dinosaur, you had the choice of “FIGHT or FLIGHT”. Either way, your body would react to the perceived danger by releasing cortisol and adrenaline which prepares the body for emergency action.

This results in the heart pounding faster, muscles tightening, blood pressure rising, breathing becoming faster and shallower, and your senses becoming sharper. Your strength and stamina increase and your reactions are faster – ready to fight or flee from the perceived danger…..

It does not matter if the danger is real or not – your body will respond the same way each time when it senses a threat of some sort. This is known as the stress response and is an extremely useful mechanism to call upon.

Inspite of all the amazing developments in the world since dinosaurs roamed the earth – we still have Stone Age bodies and react in exactly the same way as we did then!

 

dinosaur

The brain is unable to differentiate between reacting to a life threatening situation and an example such as a row with someone and if the acidic stress hormones are not released, or our body stays in a state of high alert – serious health issues can result.

Continuous emotional stress and strain keeps the body ready to fight or flee and this can disrupt every system in your body. The stress response was designed for times of danger – not everyday living. Illness, depression, aches and pains result and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.
Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind

If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace.
Ajahn Chah, Thai Buddhist Monk