What is stress ?
stress per se is a concept of the technical term “pressure” and is borrowed neutral to evaluate demands which people perceive.
When we say “stress” it usually means there is a stimulus that we perceive as threatening to our physiological or psychological balance. The natural, evolutionary reasoned response to this distress is fight, flight or freeze (and not to sit and wait, which would have had an adverse effect).
From a physiological perspective, this means that the hypothalamic-pituitary -adrenal (HPA ) axis is activated. There, the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is released, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce ACTH and for its delivery into the bloodstream. Consequently, the adrenal cortex receives the signal for the release of the hormonal mobilization. This is supported by cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine from the sympathetic nervous system. Together, they allow the body to a fight or flight response. We call this “being on adrenaline today” but we don’t do what is was supposed to help us with. So far so good!
The human organism is permanently confronted with stress, but is constantly flooded with stress hormones. This has negative consequences, which manifest themselves as, for example, depression or exhaustion.
Therefore, active stress management and a coping strategy are of central importance to achieve personal peace equilibrium.
How does stress management work?
The feeling of stress and its reduction are closely linked to the nature of the individual evaluation cosmos. This individual cosmos is fed in part from the personality structure of the individual's life situation and personal experiences.
This is why the (re) activation of the individual strength and resilience resources is of central importance for a successful stress management.
Due to an increasingly heteronomous life at high and sustained stress levels, the access to natural personal power and recreation can be easily lost.
To develop effective coping strategies again, it is necessary to recognize the client’s personal “stressors” and gradually dissolve and expose the personal recreational resources again. For this, professional help is often needed but not required.
Here you will find some inspirations to get yourself determined to solve your stress in life
- Start with an unbiased and completely sincere stress diary. So you get aware of the triggers and characteristics of your individual stressors.
- You should critically question your daily schedule. For example, write a list of priorities and determine which tasks can be delegated.
- Learn to say no and to define your personal boundaries.
- Do not fret about things that are not in your personal control (e.g. traffic jam) and practice acceptance. You cannot change them anyway. Use the freed capacity for constructive resources activating thoughts.
- Disconnect consciously work and leisure. You do not need to be always and everywhere reachable (even if that may seem incredible) .
- How active are you? Do integrate physical activity into your life rhythm. Physical activity not only promotes the reduction of excess energy, but also helps your mind to become free and to recover for new highs. If you are interested in scientific evidence on the positive effect of sport on stress management, you can have a look at my list of publications as a neuroscientist.
- Use recognized stress reduction and relaxation techniques. These include, for example, Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training according to Schulz , yoga, massage or hypnosis.
- Ensure adequate quality sleep times. This will not only increase your memory powers and concentration. In the sleep, your body regenerates and processes the stimuli which occurred during the day.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine because these substances put extra stress on your body.
- Think positive and do not take everything too serious. A positive attitude and joy will help you be more balanced.