At the risk of over-simplification, stress exists for the purpose of keeping you alive – stress is your “Hazard Awareness System”. When we anticipate a perceived position of threat or danger, we physiologically prepare for a short, sharp burst of energy to facilitate an initial advantage in the actions of either “fight” or “flight”…
Through stress, your mental acuity is heightened, allowing you to make what is literally a life-saving decision. That short, sharp burst of energy, and acuity, may literally be the difference between life and death…
Without stress, you could potentially walk headlong into oncoming motorway traffic without giving it a second thought!
Through the production of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, your physiology is drastically altered. Your body becomes tense – as a spring, coiled for action – not unlike a sprinter at the starters’ blocks. Certain processes – such as digestion – are temporarily shut down, to divert life-saving energy to the muscles required for fight or flight.
The (modern?) problem arises when that short, sharp burst becomes residual – when that tension in the muscles – and other drastic physiological and mental changes – become prolonged… When stress – intended to be temporary in nature – becomes chronic… No longer life-saving, this residual accumulation of stress becomes life-threatening.
Take a moment to reflect below, on the Results of The Mental Health Foundation‘s 2018 study – an online poll undertaken by YouGov, and the largest known study -to date – of stress levels in the United Kingdom…
- In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.
- 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious.
- 37% of adults who reported feeling stressed reported feeling lonely as a result.
- 46% reported that they ate too much, or ate unhealthily, due to stress. (After smoking, obesity is the second biggest controllable cause of cancer.)
- 16% reported that they started smoking, or increased their smoking.
- 29% reported that they started drinking, or increased their drinking.
- Of the people who said they had felt stress at some point in their lives, 16% had self harmed, and 32% said they had had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
- 49% of 18-24 year-olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress.
- 36% of women who felt high levels of stress related this to their comfort with their appearance and body image, compared with 23% of men.
- Younger people have higher stress related to the pressure to succeed. 60% of 18-24 year-olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds cited this, compared with 17% of 45-54’s and 6% of over 55’s).
The harsh reality is clearly that you are not alone – according to additional figures released by The Health and Safety Executive, 12.5 million working days were lost – in the UK alone – to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the year 2016/17. The estimated annual cost of work-related stress, anxiety and depression to the UK economy is £5.2 billion pounds….
You’ve had enough! It’s beginning to take its toll on your health. Your relationships… You’re simply overwhelmed. You’re done with the constant frustration. The paralysing helplessness, loneliness, and the sleepless nights. (47% of people lie awake at night worrying about the events of the day.) The doubts and insecurities. You’ve had enough of your little voice telling you that “you’re not good enough” or that “you just can’t do this…”
You wake each morning – directionless – dreading the rigours of the day ahead? You are drowning in a sea of conformity and mediocrity?
Stress is literally killing you…
Something needs to change! If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. You need a different perspective, or, as Einstein says, “a different level of thinking.”
It’s not about living “stress-free”, it’s about staying alive, and managing your debilitating stress…
“Change is inevitable – personal growth is a choice.” (Bob Proctor.) Do you settle, or do you choose growth? You have a decision to make, and, as Tony Robbins says, “it is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” You can choose to reinforce your excuses, or you can make a decision, and start NOW, to take action towards the life of your dreams – armed with the techniques to manage your stress.
It’s time to show stress who’s boss!
Make a decision. Shape your destiny. Cut through your excuses and design your new life.
Or don’t – the choice is yours…