You may know the answer to this straight away. Maybe you’re on the fence? Chronic stress can occur when we’re in an unhappy relationship, struggling with a crazy job, suffering with poor health or have money problems. Chronic stress can really take you over when you have repeated instances of acute stress over time.
Chronic stress can occur when you can’t see an escape from a cause of stress and you stop seeking solutions. Chronic stress can go unnoticed and we can feel as though we’ve just got used to that state of being – as though you’ve acclimatised and become resilient to it.
Does any of this ring a bell with you? If it does, this is a dangerous place to be because we simply don’t recognise how much it is physically damaging us…
BUT you don’t have to get used to it, you can make a change and there are solutions for you so that you can Lead a Better Life! Read on…
Don’t forget, stress is subjective so we are all different and deal with life’s stressors in different ways – don’t compare yourself to others… for example past experiences can affect how you react to day to day stressors which may make you more susceptible to chronic stress. You’re human, it’s ok.
Yes, I’m sorry to say chronic stress causes massive negative physical (and psychological and behavioural) consequences – many of which are directly linked to the release of glucocorticoids (try spelling that in a rush!) such as cortisol.
So I’m going to focus on cortisol for you… you may have heard of this complex stress hormone (many people have) and I’m here to share that, biologically, cortisol is essential for our survival BUT only when levels are appropriate. It’s often highest in the morning to help us get out of bed (I definitely appreciate that!) … so what do I mean by ‘appropriate?’
Well, we have resting cortisol levels – you know, normal levels for normal biological functions like blood pressure control, immune system functioning, metabolism of fats, wake/sleep cycles… I could go on. Needless to say, it’s important.
But when we encounter a stressor we get a reactive level of cortisol burst through our body – again this is fine as long as the body can go back to those resting levels.
Short term effects of cortisol are:
We can manage these short term effects as long as your body can balance back to normal levels shortly after the event. The problem occurs when we have a prolonged level of cortisol which creates excess cortisol and that really affects our physical wellbeing. This imbalance of cortisol is what makes chronic stress dangerous.
Prolonged cortisol release can cause:
Question – do you read the same email at work 10 times before you can actually take it onboard? You know, you just can’t retrieve and consolidate it? Or is your short term memory simply pants and you feel absent minded? That’s likely caused by prolonged cortisol release due to chronic stress…
And needless to say there are a multitude of psychological and behavioural implications such as disrupted sleep, paranoia, shame, depression, introspection, anger, burnout, lack of focus, addiction, altered eating habit… oh dear, what a list.
Let’s take a pause there!
So I’ve bombarded you with all the crappy, horrific stuff (sorry about that) … now for the bit I love. You can change this! Yes, you read it correctly – YOU CAN CHANGE THIS.
If you relate to the section above, or can see it in someone you love, this does not have to be the future. I’ll share with you 3 things you can do right now, today, to make a change.
This is not meant to be patronising or simplistic. It really will help you cope with stress – do you enjoy exercise, spa days, time with friends, baking, volunteering at a donkey sanctuary, making paper mâché Tracey Islands (too niche?)… whatever it is – focus your energy on that, identify it and make time to do it and do it. Don’t prioritise poor lifestyle habits, negative ruminations or staying at work until 9pm over it… look after yourself. Sometimes someone has to tell you that, right?
I’ve just completed these myself in a 7 Day ‘Stop the Stress’ Challenge and you can learn more about each tip and see how I got on via my FB page (www.facebook.com/oakviewhypnotherapy). You could even choose to start your own 7 Day Challenge today and find even better, personalised things in your life along these lines!
Plus a BONUS one…
In case you’d forgotten I’m a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist who specialises in combatting anxiety and stress as well as optimising sleep so that you CAN Lead a Better Life. Decide now is the time to take action, be courageous and try Solution Focused Hypnotherapy; it can help you achieve lasting change by adjusting your thoughts, reactions and habits so that you don’t have to live with chronic stress.
Call me on 07480 045290 or drop me an email [email protected] I’d be delighted to help you Lead a Better Life by banishing chronic stress.