In my days in the Stress Management Centre in Harley Street it never ceased to amaze me that so many customers didn’t see there daily lives as particularly stressful. Many saw stress concerning an event like death of a loved one, divorce, getting unemployed and so on.
The truth is that the modern world is extremely stressful and although our nervous systems are very well adapted to bouts of anxiety, as exhibited in a fight or flight situation, we’re unable to rid ourselves of the slow build up of anxiety which we carry on board daily. How many people succumb to colds and influenza whilst on vacation or are only starting to feel the benefit of this vacation when its time to go back?
The flu comes because we let our guard down too fast whilst on vacation and because our immune system has been damaged by cortisol, one of the Adrenal’s hormones, another situation being that it takes two weeks to gradually unwind into a more normal situation. In other words if we’re stressed no amount of lying on the shore will relax us.
To prevent a build up of anxiety below are a few simple but powerful strategies which can help you to lose more than you’re taking in.
- Sauna: A marvellous detox on the 1 hand and a fantastic relaxer on the other. The two aren’t exactly unconnected. Once a week would be helpful, two or three times a week would be perfect.
- Massage: Ideally by a specialist, but even your spouse could provide you a value while massage. You giving massage to your spouse or your kids would be equally useful as a relaxant and to them too of course.
- A 20/30 minute gentle walk, rather at a park, countryside or forests but if none are available, around some nice town area, particularly one that has beautiful home, trees, shrubs, flowers etc.. During this walk you can let your mind wander freely or perhaps before you could tell your boss, colleague, spouse what you think of these, and then let your thoughts run free (gently).
- Exercise is a terrific way to unwind and release pent up energy and strain. You will easily be able to find ways of combining several of them in 1 session. That would probably be your primary session of this week, the hot flashes and/or gentle walks could be filler sessions involving those key sessions.
- And finally, promise yourself a weekly treat and ill to it. It may be cinema, a fantastic meal (or both), a night in with your feet up, a glass of red in 1 hand and those chocolates at the other, with off the family hang gliding, white water rafting or abseiling down the surface of the city’s tallest building, who cares, just relax.
One thing should not be underestimated, the energy of anxiety. It may kill and it does make us sick. This bit is too brief to give you chapter and verse on how it hurts us but we’ve got all of the evidence we will need to understand that it does. The Hippocampus is involved in the laying down of new memories Together with the Anterior Cingulate Cortex.
Damaged hippocampus means fewer new memories laid down, destroyed hippocampus means no new memories . This bit is too short to go into much detail but safe to say, stress affects our ability to think, our relationships and of course our job. It’s so important for our students that we learn to relax because they much prefer a happy, relaxed instructor with a sensible lesson program than a stressed, irritable instructor with a world beating lesson program.
Not just do your students deserve to have a happy relaxed you, your loved ones and friends deserve it as well, but above all YOU deserve to BE a happy, relaxed you. Final point, I was used to a recommend a CD called the Study Relaxer for pupils in Harley Street. If you require a fast fix then this is it. Although it’s taken in the pupil angle of sitting examinations, 97 percent of it is related to you as educators.