Future Self Solutions

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Email: info@futureselfsolutions.com


What is Stress?

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of Life that we will all encounter at various times in our lives.

It has been defined as the condition that results when person/environment transactions lead the individual to perceive a discrepancy between the demands of a situation and the resources of their biological, physiological and social systems (Lazurus and Folkman).

You can experience beneficial stress which is described as ‘Eustress’ (good stress). This can motivate, focus energy and help us to achieve our goals. You can also experience out of control stress which is referred to as ‘Distress’, which feels unpleasant, decreases performance and can ultimately lead to mental and physical problems.

Some common types of eustress include working out at the gym, travelling to experience a new part of the world, having a baby and buying a home.

Distress, on the other hand, may include financial stress, unemployment, poor communication in a relationship, health concerns and the death of a loved one.

The important point is that Stress is different for everyone, its how we deal with it that will influence the extent to which it affects our lives. Stress is experienced differently by different people. What might be an anxious provoking experience for one individual, may be exciting for another. It is the individual’s perception of the situation that is important.

The causes of Stress and its affects

Today, more people suffer from Stress than ever before. The pace of life is stressful in itself. We expect to manage the major life changes and crises, such as marriage, parenthood, unemployment, bereavement, overwork or ill health, without the network of support that previous generations relied upon.

For some, Stress may not be related to such specific events, but may have developed in early childhood as an anxiety response to difficult situations. This response may have been carried into adult life as the characteristic way of dealing with difficulties.

Stress affects us in many different ways. Some people develop stress related illnesses, such as asthma, hypertension, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and a host of others. Some suffer from free floating anxiety, panic attacks, muscular tension and hyperventilation. Some people respond with obsessive or compulsive thoughts and behaviours, and many suffer from a variety of phobias, notably agoraphobia and social phobia.

What happens to our bodies when we are Stressed?

Our bodies react to stress in a similar way they react to fear. We experience fear when we have cause to be concerned about our well-being or safety. We experience Stress when we are in situations where we feel under threat but are not actually in any immediate danger. When we feel under threat in this way our bodies respond with the Fight or Flight syndrome. This syndrome, which prepares our bodies to fight or flee, involves a number of physical changes. Our heartbeat increases, our breathing becomes shallow, all our senses work better, we may have a desire to defecate, our muscles tense to fight or flee, our hands and feet become colder and we begin to sweat to cool ourselves, as all these changes make us hot.

This fight or flight syndrome is our instinctive reaction to danger. This response, however, can be set off by many situations that are not really that dangerous or life threatening but our bodies are reacting as if our lives were actually threatened.

The reaction to such a threat is a powerful one. When there is no enemy to fight or run from, the physical feelings created by the fight or flight syndrome have no release and so we begin to build up Stress. This Stress eventually finds an outlet in chronic fatigue, anxiety and a variety of minor physical illnesses.

Stress is the pre-cursor to Anxiety, Depression, Addictions and Psychosis.

Help is at hand

Chronic stress is linked to six leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. It's important to take steps to manage chronic stress to ensure your body is functioning as it should and for your overall health and wellbeing.

As we’ve already mentioned, Stress is here to stay. You can’t get rid of it but with a little bit of help you can learn to control it and restore the balance you need to live a happier and healthier life.

To be able to make changes in stress levels, we must first be able to identify all of the stressors that our bodies may be under, especially the invisible stressors that are taking place in our blind spots. We will work with you to identify these stressors, that are personal to you, and in turn help create positive changes in your life.

Furthermore, we have access to a huge range of tools and techniques that can be tailored to your specific needs and in turn be developed into a personal toolkit that will form part of your new active coping strategy and in turn build your resilience to stress.