I guess we all have times in our lives when we feel uneasy about the situation we are in and perhaps start to feel stressed. Sometimes we can work through the stress level and sometimes it is difficult to handle and we reach an uncomfortable limit.
The stress threshold is the point where any more pressure will become counter-productive. It is the point where more pressure will lead to a fall in productivity and contentment. By itself stress never causes a problem. It is the way we respond to stress which leads to problems.
The response is generally in three stages:
Alarm – In the face of a challenge or a threat, the nervous system is highly stimulated, heart rate increases, muscles become tense, and breathing becomes fast. The body system is now ready to fight or flight.
Resistance – If the cause producing the stress continues the body chemistry adjust to that situation, which is not healthy in the long term. ie., our blood pressures a continually elevated.
Exhaustion – If the challenge continues for a long time, the resources for arousal and resistance are used. They are involuntary physical responses to stress for which built-in mechanisms exists in the human body. Even imagining or thinking about an upcoming situation may trigger these.
What is flight or fight response?
The flight or fight response stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and we begin to feel scared, anxious and basically terrified of what is to come.: Basically you feel pretty bad!
The sympathetic branch of the nervous system supplies the adrenal medulla, sweat glands and blood vessels of skin and skeletal muscles. Control is on or off. It also prepares the body for physical activity (flight, fright and fight).
The effects of the sympathetic branch being stimulated are:
Cilary muscles relax
Arterioles of alimentary canal and skin constricted
Spleen is dilated
Heart beat hastens and strengthens
Bronchiloes dilate / Breathing increases.
Sweat glands increase in activity
Adrenal medulla increases in activity
Peristalsis of the alimentary canal decreases
Digestive glands increase in activity
Brain activity increases
Feeling of light headed and dizzy.
Is this familiar to you? Can you identify times when you have felt these unpleasant involuntary affects of stress?
Good stress (Eustress): Some stresss is OK!
Some stress is good and even found necessary to feel stimulated, to keep away from boredom and depression and to achieve improved performance.
Eustress definition – Stress that is healthy, or gives one a feeling of fulfilment or other positive feelings. Eustress is a process of exploring potential gains. Eustress is a word consisting of two parts. The prefix derives from the Greek eu meaning either “well” or “good”. When attached to the word “stress”, it literally means “good stress”.
Good stress (Eustress) in my life…may include:
Nervous tension before acting in a play
Nervous tension before a sporting event
The last 4 miles of a marathon – desperate to stop
Coaching a team
Feelings of anxiety at the Job interview
Waiting for Important Examination results……
Stress is handled in so many diverse ways and our reactions too are many and varied. Identifying what causes stress in your life is a great start to avoiding the negative health impacts.
Yoga and Stress
Many of our students and Yoga practitioners around the world know that Yoga is a fantastic way to help alleviate the impact of stress on your health. The mindfulness of practicing in the present moment, the many breathing techniques and of course the mindful stretching and Asana (posture) work all assist us remove ourselves from stress. Meditation practices and learning to become more “in the moment” amongst so many specific techniques will really improve your stress levels. We can learn to minimise stress in our lives, with practice.
The motivation for my new class to be held on Friday afternoons at 1pm – 2pm starting next term (Friday 9th October) is to have a devoted session that has the absolute specific goal towards releasing stress. Our live are so busy and we take little time for ourselves to restore and renew, so why not join me for: 1 hour of relaxed gentle postures, breathing techniques and a longer Yoga Nidra ( Relaxing Consiously…. not sleeping).
See you soon…..on the Yoga Mat!!!
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