The World Health Organisation cites stress as the health epidemic of the 21st century with 75% of doctors’ visits being stress related.
According to Richard Sutton, Health and performance educator (20 March 2019. Karima Brown 702 Talk Show); South Africa has a unique set- if you look at some of the data that has come out…South Africa is the second most stressed nation in the world. We are number two on the misery index. Nothing comes close to the impact of depression on South African society, and within work environments. One of the biggest triggers in depression is actually stress.
On being stress resilient, Sutton looks at stress when you see it in the positive.
Can you enhance your functionality and capacity to withstand the stresses you are confronted with? He explained that the similarities and difference in fear and courage. Sutton says the important variable is perception. If you understand what emotion drives stress, how do we feel when we are stressed? Fundamentally we are scared. If you look at the biology of fear, we have more energy, we release feel good hormones an endorphin and our blood pressure spikes. Fear is one side, the other side is courage, they have the same biological responses… which enhances your potential to perform.
Misinformation often causes us to neglect or mismanage our stress/stressors.
Stress is the same for everybody. Wrong! What is stressful for one person may or may not be stressful for another; each of us responds to stress in an entirely different way.
Stress is always bad for you. Nope. Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how you perceive and manage it.
Stress is everywhere, so you can’t do anything about it. Not so. You can plan your life, so stress does not overwhelm you. Effective planning involves setting priorities and working on simple problems first, then going on to more complex difficulties.
The most popular “gospel” prescribed techniques for reducing stress are the best ones. Again, not so. No universally effective stress reduction techniques exist. Only a comprehensive program tailored to the individual works.
No symptoms, no stress. Absence of symptoms does not mean the absence of stress. In fact, camouflaging symptoms with medication may deprive you of the signals you need for reducing the strain on your physiological and psychological systems.
Only major symptoms of stress require attention. Minor symptoms of stress, such as headaches or stomach acid, are the early warnings that your life is getting out of hand and that you need to do a better job of managing stress.
Stress is the reaction of the mind and body to a stressor. A stressor is any event which is powerful enough to affect the way you normally function and react. A certain amount of stress is normal and keeps the body and mind functioning optimally. It is important to realise that a “stressor” is often created in your mind: Example- you are experiencing a financial set-back. Your mind however creates “pictures” of bankruptcy, fear, rejection, etc …and based on the pictures combined with your emotions; your body reacts (remember your brain can not distinguish between reality and “fiction”). Your feelings about the source of the stress add to how well you handle it and influence whether it results in good or bad stress.
You need stress in your life – however in balanced doses.
There are several techniques how to turn stress into positive energy in your life which we will discuss in future articles. Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing many of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for a full evaluation and the necessary referrals.