It is within you…..
30th April 2022 4 min read
No, it is not supplements. Neither is it lots of sleep, nutritious food, plenty of exercises, yoga, meditation, etc.
These measures certainly do help. But the single most important factor, in my opinion anyway, is first of all, your temperament. How do you react to the everyday stresses of living?
Does it get you anxious easily? Do you flare up at the slightest thing that went wrong? Do you go into a tirade against others without considering the circumstances, reasons, or causes?
What happens when the body gets stressed?
The hypothalamus, the control tower in our brain will send out stress hormones to help us deal with the ‘threat’ at hand. It triggers the fight or flight syndrome that is supposed to protect us and allows a quick reaction.
The hypothalamus demands that the adrenal glands release stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol to help you cope.
As a result, your heart beat faster, your breathing rate increases, and your muscles tighten to ready for action. In the short term, it allows you to have a sharp response and may save your life. For example, when pursued by somebody, you may be surprised that this fight or flight response will see you counter your opponent with more might than you expected or even run faster than you thought you could.
When the threat is over, the systems go back to normal.
However, in the long term, if the stress response keeps firing, in other words, you allow yourself to be triggered by every little event, you will put your health at great risk. The result is chronic stress which impacts your body by affecting many systems;
1 Lung — -Continuous rapid breathing during stress sends more oxygen-rich blood to your body. This makes you short of breath. It will worsen your breathing if you already have asthma or emphysema ( lung disease)
2 Heart — -Heartbeat rises to send more blood to the muscles to strengthen them for action. In the process, the blood vessels constrict raising blood pressure. Chronic stress then results in a possible stroke or heart attack.
3 Digestion — Under stress, the liver produces more blood sugar or glucose to boost your energy. When chronically stressed, the body cannot cope with the extra blood sugar, resulting in type 2 diabetes.
Stress affects the movement of food through the body resulting in diarrhea or constipation.
You may experience vomiting or get heartburn due to acid reflux caused by an increase in stomach acid.
4 Muscles — -Constant tense muscles may result in headaches, shoulder, back, and body aches, and make you less inclined to exercise resulting in a vicious cycle.
5 Reproductive system —In females, the menstrual cycle may be disrupted and menopausal symptoms magnified. In males, constant stress can affect testosterone levels and may interfere with sperm production, and even result in erectile dysfunction.
6 Immunity — Chronic stress can weaken a person’s immunity making him more susceptible to viral infections such as flu and common colds as well as bacterial infections.
Knowing the myriad effects on the body systems, one has to take steps to get to the root cause which triggered this fight or flight response.
How do we not let a situation or event become chronically stressful and nib it in the bud?
Aside from the above steps recommended above to combat stress that has been triggered, the first line of defense is in our approach to the problem itself.
How does one put out the fire? The wrath, the doubts, and the insecurities caused by the person or the incident. Our negative emotional response is the most damaging factor that triggered the stress reaction and if not tempered would become a chronic stress instigator.
1 Staying calm is the first order.
Start by breathing steadily. Staying positive and actively seeking solutions are next. With good temperance, the cloud hovering over your thoughts would clear. There is a solution to most problems.
If there aren’t any solutions, there is no point in getting all frazzled. At least you look cool.
2 Suppress all negative images and likely scenarios as they may not happen, not when you take proactive steps to alleviate the situation.
3 Seek out the resources that may help; people with the ability, the interest to help, and the knowledge. There may be people with similar experiences.
4 Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen. Accept it but take steps to alleviate it. Putting emotions before rationale will result in knee-jerk responses that may be harmful.
Flying off the handle, abusing others or self, and engaging in self-pity are all unproductive responses. Most people would stay away from such outbursts.
5 Be honest. If it is clearly your fault, admit it or it may escalate into a dispute where evidence would be held against you. If it is not your fault, you are in the position to put the situation under your control anyway without undue stress.
6 Look for the good. Every event is like a coin with two sides. While something bad has happened, something good would result from it. One must have a good perspective. Eventually, all incidents pass and becomes water under the bridge.
Every day will bring different forms of challenges and strains. I practise what I believe and can only say that the ability to put out the ‘fire’ before it even ignite is an effective way to develop inner peace.