There are also psycho-emotional consequences (psychological-emotional).
"Freezing" or "getting rattled" are just different descriptions of an extreme anxiety state that is the
psychological equivalent to physiological shock.
As we grow older, the stress reaction releases cholesterol into the bloodstream and when not used
up through physical action, it is deposited on the artery walls.
The passages become narrower and the heart has to work harder to push blood along.
Chronic high-stress can turn transient (temporary) high blood pressure (hypertension) into
permanent high blood pressure.
People whose stress manifests this way are likely candidates for heart disease.
As blood pressure rises and muscle tension increases, resting heart rate and serum cholesterol may
rise, all increasing the Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk factor.
Quite often, these people ignore their poor health habits, making them even less efficient, which in
turn, produces even more tension to aggravate the situation.
It is a killer, because th effects of the "stressors" is cumulative, each one stays with us for approx
365 days - thus the levels in creases continually.
NOTE: it is seldom any "large" thing that pushes us over the "edge" so to speak. Rather, it is the
cumulative, additive effect of each small stressor after another, and the balance begins to tip until
just one more small item makes it flop over.
See the graphic at the right for sources/causes of
stress & anxiety in day-to-day life (stressors).
One cause of Stress is "inner pain", and people:
- learn to avoid feeling excitement by holding
their breath or squeezing muscles.
- Tightening against intense pleasure pain;
- emotions: fear, joy, anger, grief, orgasm,
Chronic excessive muscular tension due to
attitudes and holding on to inner pain is a system
of habitual muscular contractions that keep a
person's spontaneous impulses in.
- A holding against feeling, emotion,
- Repression, depression.
- Depressing yourself.
- It absorbs energy: hinders spontaneous
body function: sensation, sensitivity,
creativity, productivity, communication and
Sources/Causes of Stress / Anxiety
There are many: financial problems, family
codependence and denial - and many more
The major ones are FEAR and our attitude. See
Attitude and the workshop page, also.
How Does one manage or cope with stress?
There are as many ways to cope with stress, or to
manage or reduce it, as there are people.
Each person finds their own coping mechanisms
and strategies. Some work well - others not so well.
Anxiety & phobias usually require professional help.
Relaxation for Body & Mind - Stress Buster
I offer a form of Deep Relaxation & Autogenic
Training that effectively goes "below your mind"
- so deep that it leaves you renewed, refreshed and
re-empowered (see Retreats).
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth Cty) Nova Scotia, Canada 2010-19
|Stress: the Silent Killer
Introduction to Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Sources, Causes and Management
STRESS: when it strikes we need to act and do something decisive, just as primitive humans did in ages
past. Stress is the plague of the 20th century because we don't always take prompt, immediate action.
We have been "civilized" to release our aggression, etc, indirectly through the use of body language, or
These help somewhat, but are inadequate because the body's primary preparation and need is for physical
event (e.g, heart pounding, anxiety, or nail biting).
- Stress is often considered to be something that happens to people: an event such as an injury or a
- Others think that stress is what happens to our bodies, minds and behaviours in response to an
to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them. It arises when they worry
- The official Health and Safety definition of stress is: ’Stress is the adverse reaction people have
they can’t cope’.
"stays with us", and their after-effects stay around for at least a year (see Stress Test, below).
- "Stress" is not just one thing, or a single event, that happens to us. Everything we experience
Stress is OVERLOAD.
- To take the Stress Test (contacts me).
For additional information see: the Canadian Mental Health Association website: ENGLISH, FRENCH.
Anxiety disorders are stress responses that are both excessive and inappropriate. Anxiety disorders
interfere with your ability to function normally on a daily basis. They include such things a panic attacks
and phobias, etc See Anxiety-Phobias.
While stress does involve events and our response to them, these are not the most important factors.
It is Our thoughts about the situations in which we find ourselves, are the critical and often are the
main source of stress (but not always). Sources of stress are called "stressors".
Stress is NOT a disorder - it is overload that causes disorders.
The innate alarm response initially attempts to over-ride our "civilized manners". There is often no time
to think of "civilized" reactions because the alarm response is a reflex that operates almost instantane
ously. The body undergoes a number of changes as these responses to stimuli occur. They begin
the moment danger messages are received by the brain:
preparation to confront or escape the threat.
- Regulating centres of the total nervous system give the body information to speed up in
- Since chemical balances affect the mind's emotional moods, the brain responds quickly and
appropriately to maintain the balance.
- The brain will attempt to compensate for deficits in the rest of the system by secreting its own
chemicals in response to the `directions' it receives from the glands.
Physiological Responses: there are a number that occur either simultaneously or in a sequence
(you can learn more about this in the Stress & Stress Management workshop.)
See the following diagram for examples of the physiological effects:
STRESS: if we ask a 100 people what stresses them, each person will give a
different answer: each one will need a different solution.
- Stress is not a personal weakness you have: most people will suffer from
excessive stress at some time in their lives.
- It is a serious condition - with potentially serious consequences.
- It is also a very individual experience: everybody is affected by it
differently - see also Anxiety and Depression and please check the
Retreats-Workshop page for mangement.
|Dawn Cove Abbey Empowerment Outreach
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A. © 2007-2019
Questions and comments welcomed.
Managing Stress is about determining (analyzing) your source, or sources of stress, (all the things on your
plate", and then choosing, or selecting a strategy that will reduce the effects of stress, or remove the source.
What "stress" is, what it does, specifically, and why it is a "killer". Stress means. Overload: it is a word
borrowed from engineering that refers a measurement of the sum total of forces that will make an object
reach its "breaking point" - so that it can be designed better, or to adapt by setting limits on how it is used.
But we are human and can not be re-engineered or redesigned (readily): but the sum total of things we
have going on in our lives, can easily make us reach our "breaking points".
Stress begins as a Fight, Flight, or Flee reaction to danger (whether real of imagined);
it involves fear.
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL DIMENSION
Today's subtle pressures are registered by the same physical reaction as that of our ancestors who
faced sabre-tooth tigers, grass-fires, or other dangerous situations. This physiological reaction has
been an important key to man's survival throughout history. There are many ways of responding, yet
in whatever manner we have learned to express our stress, our bodies still react in the same way. We
refer to this response as the "fight or flight" or alarm phenomenon, or we can simply call it arousal
when it strikes. We have as much a need to act and do something decisive as our more ancient
The reason stress has become the plague of the twentieth century is that instead of taking prompt
action, we have been "civilized" to show our aggression indirectly through the use of body language,
or verbally. While these help somewhat, they are quite inadequate responses since the body's primary
preparation and need is for physical outlets. When this need is frustrated because we ignore it or
respond inappropriately, the whole mechanism is thwarted and leads to disorder.
The influence of the innate alarm response on our reaction to problems, demands and dangers, initially
attempts to over-ride our "civilized manners". There is often no time to think of "civilized" reactions
because the alarm response is a reflex that operates almost instantaneously, just as the blinking of
eyelids when something approaches them, for example. Our bodies undergo a number of changes as
these responses to stimuli occur. This process begins the moment danger messages are received by
NOTE: it is NOT the brain that determines whether any action is necessary - it only receives the
message from our mind that it has determined that an immediate response to an important
situation is necessary (many people fail to note the distinction between Mind/Brain - they are
When that message is received, the regulating centres of the total nervous system give the body
information to speed up in preparation to confront or escape the threat. Since chemical balances affect
the mind's moods, the brain responds quickly and appropriately to maintain the balance.
If necessary, it will attempt to compensate for deficits in the rest of the system by secreting its own
chemicals in response to the 'directions' it receives from the glands. In response, the mouth dries and
hearing becomes extremely acute. If the reaction is particularly intense, posture will change completely
and the person will become alert, or even rigid. The eyeballs move back a little into their sockets to
improve the range of vision and the pupils dilate, giving the familiar wide-eyed appearance of fright.
Since the bloodstream must deliver huge quantities of oxygen to the muscles,
in the skin.
- the nostrils flare to allow increased amounts of it to flow into the lungs.
- Drops of sweat appear, the skin will change colour and the hair might stand on end due to the
extreme stimulation of hormones from the sympathetic nervous system acting on the hair follicles
head, leaving the hands and feet cold and sweaty.
- Muscles tense to deal with the challenge and blood pulsates through the head to provide more
oxygen for the brain cells to help stimulate the thought processes.
- The respiratory rate increases, blood drains from the extremities and is pooled in the trunk and
Adrenaline and noradrenaline will be "dumped" into the bloodstream. These hormones are produced
by the adrenal glands and each has a different effect on the heart rate, dilation and contraction of blood
vessels and blood pressure. They prepare the body for fight or flight, to facilitate whatever action is
since both running and fighting take energy,
- The output of blood from the heart increases, boosting the pulse rate and blood pressure, and
- an emergency supply of sugar is mobilized quickly and supplied in a form that the muscles can
amounts of blood and energy, and redirects these resources to where they are most needed
- The body considers digestion as an expendable process at this time, since it requires vast
instead. This of course, leads to incomplete digestion, and explains why people suffering from
high-stress often have gastro-intestinal problems.
Cortisone and hydrocortisone (also called cortisol) are also "dumped" into the bloodstream. Cortisol
helps the body cope with stress, and is thus a `friendly' substance in any stressful encounter, whereas
adrenaline can be a 'foe'.
However, overproduction of cortisone can have a weakening effect on the body's immune system - so
that the ability to fight off the invading organisms which cause infection is reduced. Almost certainly,
the continual stimulation of the adrenal glands that forces them to supply a constant flow of cortisone,
may account for the high vulnerability to minor infections or illnesses during prolonged stress.
After reacting to the alarm, the body attempts to adapt to the new situation by resisting its initial
response, in an effort to return to a balanced state. However, we have a limited amount of adaptive
energy and the body must be given relief from the biochemical changes or a chronic high stress state
Unless the source is removed, or we find other, more effective ways to adapt, the regulatory centres
of the brain will tend to over-react. This would eventually progress to exhaustion, potential breakdown
and ultimately death. It is the way the body responds and signals that a dangerous level is reached, that
"Stress" is very complex, but it is our reaction to stressful events, and not the events themselves which
is important! What counts is our ability to adapt to the circumstances we find ourselves in, and it is at
this point that the opportunity for putting our social learning (our culturally acquired "response
repertoire") into effect arises.
As we grow older, the stress reaction releases cholesterol into the bloodstream, and when not used up
through physical action, it is deposited on the artery walls. The passages become narrower and the
heart has to work harder to push blood along. Chronic high-stress can turn transient (temporary) high
blood pressure (hypertension) into permanent high blood pressure. People who experience a lot of
stress in this way are highly probable candidates for heart disease.
Millions of North Americans have hypertension and most of them are unaware of the seriousness of
their condition. For example, as blood pressure rises and muscle tension increases, resting heart rate
and serum cholesterol may rise, all increasing the Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk factor. Quite
often, these people ignore their poor health habits, making them even less efficient, which in turn,
produces even more tension to aggravate the situation.
Any kind of arousal creates stress, one's first kiss, or falling in love, produce stress reactions, just as the
death of a loved one does. Arousal here refers to anything that will result in changes our bodies must
adjust to. Stress is the consequence of that arousal, or from the pressures of avoiding it. It is a state
of being that is readily evident to those who have developed their self awareness. Without it we would
have nothing to stimulate us into action, or change the course of our lives when things go wrong.
The dilemma for each of us is to establish the appropriate level for efficient functioning. A certain
amount of stress is necessary simply to get out of bed in the morning. In just the right amounts it
makes us feel energetic, and motivates us to be competent and pleased to be involved in life.
Stress operates on a curve called the Human Function Curve. This means that performance alters
depending on the amount of stress or arousal we experience. Up to a certain point, performance
improves as arousal increases, but beyond that, fatigue or excess anxiety creep in. Some people
perform better under the pressure of a deadline. However, when the critical point on the curve is
reached, the first stage of negative conditions is encountered, for any further arousal will lead to a
marked deterioration in performance. It will suffer and decline in direct proportion to the amount of
additional stress, followed by exhaustion, illness and possible breakdown if arousal is not decreased.
The point at which the rising curve starts to tip downward is not predictable, for it depends entirely on
individual factors, but is reached progressively earlier with increasing age.
There is no handy universal standard for reference. Instead, we each have threshold levels which can
easily be determined. The thresholds are the points at which events begin to affect us and vary with
time, the individual, the condition of the person, and the environment. Because of the tremendous
range of individual differences, the potential for being disrupted by stress is enormous. All of us have
problems that are stressful, and most of the time we learn to live with them. The ability to function
effectively only becomes impaired when stress levels change greatly in degree, intensity, or frequency.
The delicate balance between stress and coping, is destroyed when one more "problem" is piled on top
of all the others (the straw that broke the camel's back). The tensions become too great and lead to
breakdown; perhaps because of an infection, an emotional disorder, or because the physical strength
to struggle decreases. Under these conditions the body becomes incapable of producing any more
defence hormones to respond to any additional stress. This inability to cope brings total chaos to
the system and resistance to disease is so reduced that the likelihood of contracting a physical illness
is greatly increased.
Stress can be divided into three phases: shock, mobilization for controlling it, and breakdown.
This is called the General Adaptation Syndrome. The first phase, shock, is the most dramatic. There
are events we consider as "shocking", and others which we don't think of this way (we saw the
physiological effects above).
The body cannot make such distinctions, it simply responds to whatever incoming stimuli the MIND
interprets as dangerous. A sudden, unexpected increase in work load when already rushed for time
represents a shock to the body, just as being robbed or assaulted would. Thus our ability to function
well decreases as shown in the following diagram.
- Producing deadness, numbing whole areas of the body; inhibiting breathing, movement, the flow
- Attitude: Holding onto hurts brings fixation:
- Fixation is stunting growth.
- Creating in a person the experience of being blocked off, in a dream like state of half aliveness:
halts the process of actualizing the Human Potential.
- Stuck: separate from him/herself and the excessive tension, words, sensory limitation all lead to
automatic, conditioned behaviour.
- A lack of joy, honesty, humour, love: being bored to death; deliberate, phoney.