If anger makes you unapproachable, stress is killing you! Stress is a major cause of heart attacks and strokes and all manner of illnesses. For such an endemic problem clearly the cause of so much unhappiness, it is surprising how in the workplace what little sympathy there is for those who go off sick with it or scant suitable provision by employers to prevent it in the first place. My business as a stress counsellor is a growth industry! When employers bring me in, my fees pay for themselves many times over as I can save them vast sums in preventing absence from work.
I am also surprised why so few people have any idea why modern life is so stressful when the whole point of it is actually to make us comfortable and happy!
The source of the problem is a failure to appreciate that we are not designed for the Western civilisation we have created. We are not physically designed for success and happiness, but rather to survive. We have evolved to travel long distances to find food, reproduce all year round, and have an extra burst of energy in the face of threat or opportunity. This is nothing like the conditions of the average citizen! The trouble is that in modern times, we are faced with worries and concerns all the time and do not need to spend much energy in order to live. The result is that without the correct mental attitude to problems, we can be permanently in "emergency mode", sending our body haywire.
In "emergency mode", muscles, heart rate, blood pressure and sensitivity are boosted. To do this, the body diverts resources away from other areas, such as the digestive system, the immune system, reproductive system repair and regeneration and so on. This is fine for short periods, but long term the body becomes increasingly less able to maintain itself, resulting in illness and death.
Since going back to living in tribes on the African Savannah is neither viable nor attractive, we need to learn how to override our automatic default responses to situations so we don't keep slipping into "emergency mode" in the face of our worries and concerns. As a stress counsellor, this is what I teach my clients to do, enabling them to stay in their job (if that's what they wish) without ruining their health. People are often surprised how a few simple changes can completely change their lives, but they do have to be disciplined in doing what I tell them!
Here are some simple stress management tips fee of charge!
1. Time for rest is not an optional extra! Learn to say no and mean it! If you don't learn to say no to someone, your doctor will end up saying no to everyone. You need regular time and distance from work and other stressful situations in order to rest, repair and get perspective on your problems. Skimping on "down-time" is quite literally a fatal false economy. Working at full speed all the time decreases efficiency, and the longer between rests, the more inefficient you will get!
2. Learn meditation and controlled breathing. This can be learned very quickly and take up very little time, but can transform not only your health but your entire outlook on life.
3. Frequently re-assess your objectives. It is possible to be carried along by circumstances for a whole lifetime without ever stopping to consider exactly why you're doing what you are doing, and whether it's achieving what you want it to. If your objectives are no longer viable or what you're doing isn't achieving your objectives, make some changes of direction.
4. If you have to choose between prestige, status and happiness, go for the latter every time. I gave up teaching to work the checkouts at ASDA, and as a result of doing so was able to resolve several personal issues and retrain for my current career as a Hypnotherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Stress Counsellor. Not only am I now pursuing a career that I love, I am in the best physical and mental shape of my life!
Member since: 26th April 2012
I am a fully qualified and experienced hypnotherapist, Reiki practitioner and Stress Counsellor, based in Undercliffe, Bradford. I am proud to be a volunteer therapist for Bradford Cancer Support
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