If you’ve ever suffered from a physical or psychological symptom which was associated with the stress in your life, you may wish to understand ways to minimize these symptoms. Control starts with awareness and understanding how your habitual response to stress leads to your own symptoms.
How does it work?
Any of your bodily systems that respond to stress can be controlled. Begin the process for developing control by knowing how your body reacts to stress. The primitive survival mechanism called the “Fight/Flight” response is built into every human. It reacts to fear/danger from all from life threatening situations to the alarm going off in the morning. Every individual has a habitual reaction to stress that’s either learned or surgically implanted.
In a real life or death situation almost all this response will be activate by survival that will help you to fight or flee this threat. Since awareness is half the battle in controlling anxiety, you need to learn to know about how you react to stress.
Remember, you have a special reaction.
- Increased heart rate. This pumps blood round the body to get sugars and oxygen to the cells you will have to use to survive.
- Breathing usually becomes more rapid. To get more oxygen to the body.
- Stress hormones are released. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is released by the adrenal glands. This hormone helps to maintain increased heart rates and will tell the liver to release stored glucose for energy to your system. Other stress hormones do anything else. Noradrenaline is related to anger and will raise blood pressure for most people.
- Blood pressure can go up. Triggered by released hormones.
- Muscles which you would use to fight or flee often become quite tight until discharged by comfort, massage, stretching, or workout.
- Changes in blood flow/circulation. Blood is directed toward the mind and important muscles for survival. Blood is directed away from surface of epidermis in feet and hands (for survival a crude response so that you don’t bleed to death if you get cut running away or fighting for your life.) Blood is directed away from digestive organ and reproductive organ as for survival it will become a low priority to digest food or keep the species alive if you’re threatened. Symptoms that may be associated with this stress response might include: high blood pressure, cold hands and feet, upset stomach, migraine headaches, pre-ulcerous/ulcerous conditions, greater colitis, occasionally constipation, and 70 percent of sexual dysfunction in both women and men can be linked to the stress response.
- All your senses are heightened are survival vigilance. You’re more sensitive to noise (ringing phones or door bells), to light, to smells, even to greater sensitivity to touch. Your neo-cortex (the thinking part of your brain) shuts down and the survival mechanisms at the center and lower more primitive areas of the brain take over, so you respond to things and don’t think things through too. Basic emotions: anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy (nervous laughter) take more than complex, sophisticated higher function emotions.
- You perspire/sweat to cool the body’s increased metabolism.
- Imbalances in hormone levels. Longer term, unresolved stress can influence the immune system that’s normally there to fight off infections and promote healing. Everyone holds their tension in at least one of these systems. You want to identify which systems respond when you get worried and then learn how to release this bodily tension. It requires a while and motivated practice to learn how to let go but the results in improved quality of life and improved productivity are worth the effort.