For a great many people today, stress seems to be literally taking over their lives. We talk about being stressed, needing to de-stress or to simply go somewhere away from stress.
This is really not an accurate picture of stress. Stress is not external; it is internal. It is created entirely by our own thoughts and is your bodys response to what is seen to be something harmful. This could be something very real, like a horrible boss that is always yelling, or it could be something perceived but not real, like a fear of failing even though you are very good at what you do.
Stressors, those things that trigger our stress, are external. They may be based on our financial situation, changes occurring in life, employment problems, relationship problems or even threats to our place in the world around us.
Stress, in some situations and in some levels can actually be effective in protecting you or even in making you perform better. Stress, at elevated levels, is very damaging. Understanding why some levels of stress are helpful and some are mentally and physically damaging starts with taking a closer look at just what stress really is. By understanding the mechanism of stress, it is easy to see how chronic levels of high stress result in significant complications for anyone.
The Stress Response
The stress response is the body's way to try to deal with a perceived threat or something that is harmful. While this may have originally been a physical threat to our early ancestors, today it may be a threat at work, a threat in a relationship, or even in imagined threat.
When the body senses a threat of any kind, real or imagined, there are hormones released by your body. These are the hormones that speed up some systems and shut others down. They speed up the systems to allow you to fight, flee or to freeze, all responses needed to provide protection for a physical threat.
There are many different hormones released, but the two most important are adrenaline and cortisol. These speed up your heart, tighten muscles, increase blood pressure, speed up breathing, and increase your ability to see, hear and smell. At the same time, some systems, such as your digestive systems and some higher order thinking processes are shut down, diverting all your body resources to the flight, fight or freeze response.
This response is reversed when the stress is perceived to have gone. The body systems return to normal, adrenaline and cortisol production stops, and the systems switched off turn back on again.
When individuals are chronically stressed due to busy schedules, work demands, balancing a home and career, life changes, financial problems, difficulty in making decisions or any number of challenges, the body stays constantly in the fight, flight or freeze phase.
Once you are already under stress, even small irritations or challenges can become major stressors. For example, if you are worried about work or a relationship and then also find yourself in a traffic jam, the traffic issue may suddenly go from a minor issue to a huge problem. You may find yourself with a racing heart, sweaty hands and feelings of extreme anger and irritation that are out of proportion to the issue.
The Effects of Chronic Stress
Being in a constant state of fight or flee is exhausting both physically and mentally. Your body becomes drained, your hormones are not in balance and you are not thinking or acting in a way that is healthy or helpful.
Chronic stress leads to all types of health issues. Without treatment, stress may result in:
Memory and concentration problems
Increased risk of illness
Irritation and anger
Chronic headaches and body aches and pains
Lack of sex drive
Development of addictive behaviours
Stress can be very effectively treated through counselling and psychotherapy. Determining and identifying your triggers, your stressors, and then leaning more effective and healthy ways to cope with them will help you to avoid stress from taking over your life in the future.
Online stress counselling
To those looking for stress counselling in Paris, in the Ξle-de-France region, or anywhere else in France, we offer online stress counselling sessions via Skype or WhatsApp.
Treatment for stress can include therapy or counselling, combined with a range of different holistic treatment options.
In the holistic approach to stress treatment provided by Philippe Jacquet, you will also look at lifestyle changes that can help you to naturally relax and de-stress. This can include eating healthy, regular exercise, massage therapy and the amazing benefits offered through yoga.
Book a session online from France
If you need help to better deal with stress, get in touch by phone (+44 7809 668193) or email. We will get back to you as soon as possible.