WHAT IS STRESS?
Just being alive creates stress. It is a natural fact of life for everyone. Anything that happens in your life has the potential for being stressful. Those things are called stressors. It is not the event of the stressor that produces the feelings of distress, but how you react to the stressor. In life 10% is what happens to you and 90% is your reaction to it. How we think determines the way we process stress. Our thinking styles govern the behaviours or strategies we use to cope with stressors. In turn, the resulting levels of stress influence our well-being and our physical and emotional states.
Contrary to popular belief, there are two kinds of stress:
DISTRESS is the kind that results in bad feelings. Distress results in strain and wear and tear on the mind and body.
EUSTRESS is the positive type of stress: enhancement, exhilaration and excitement. Eustress leads to growth and satisfaction.
How we think about an event or a stressor will determine whether we experience eustress or distress.
N/B: In life 10% is what happens to you and 90% is your reaction to it.
WHAT CAUSES DISTRESS?
Consider the experiences you have over the past two years. These life events could have been a child leaving home, transferring to a new area, trouble in a relationship, or a change at work or business or redundancy. The greater the number of life events, the greater the potential that you may experience stress. The frequency of these events, however, may not in themselves produce stress. How you think about the events and what you do as a result of that thought is more important. For example, a redundancy or a transfer from one’s state of origin may bring about an abnormal fear of failure (distress), but for someone else it is viewed as an opportunity to achieve something new (eustress). The thought patterns in our heads have a great deal to do with the kind and level of stress we will experience.
Pinpointing Symptoms of Stress: Do this activity to establish the level of your stress (tick Yes or No)
I used to be good at taking decisions but I am now finding it
I used to be good at taking decisions but I am now
finding it rather difficult
I find it difficult to concentrate
I find it difficult to think straight
I keep forgetting things
I keep getting negative or irrational thoughts
I experience palpitation
I have spells of dizziness I get frequent headaches
I have a ringing tone in my ears
My breathing is shallow
My eyes get tired and sore
I perspire a lot
I feel tired most of the time
I keep bursting into tears
I have lost my self-confidence
I suffer mood swings
I feel drained
My self-esteem is low 1 keep getting angry
I feel apprehensive
I feel unhappy
I feel as if something terrible is going to happen
I feel frightened
I feel helpless I feel hopeless
I feel depressed
I feel nervous
I feel anxious
I find it impossible to relax
I choke on my drink often
My time management is poor
I have lost interest in sex I have become obsessive
I talk non-stop
I loose the thread of what I am saying
Habits, Health & Happiness
Interpreting your scores
Check your YES scores.
The higher your number of YES scores, the more you may be putting yourself at risk of stress related illness. If you have answered YES to all the questions, this indicates a very high level of over stimulation; you need to take immediate action to avoid the risk of over stimulation and burn out syndrome. Look carefully at your YES scores and consider what you can do to achieve a more balanced lifestyle.
Check your No scores
NO scores indicate an easy going personality, if your NO scores are high, you are unlikely to be at risk of stress. However, a high NO score could possibly indicate under stimulation or procrastination, so beware.
Consider carefully both your YES and NO scores in order to achieve a more balanced lifestyle. Follow these tips:
- Lighten up, you only live once
- Live, love, let go and be happy
- Accept that everyone makes mistakes including yourself
- Listen to other people’s opinion and views
- Improve yourself esteem by praising other people and yourself too
- Trust other people and delegate
- Slow down, give yourself a break before you break down
- Stop setting yourself rigid and unrealistic goals
- Nurture yourself, take life as it comes
- Learn the value of relaxing and having fun instead of always struggling
- Chill out