Breathe & Unwind
Life can be stressful!
We pressurise ourselves to meet the external practical demands of our lives, with growing expectations of what we think we need to be happy and fulfilled. At the same time we may be driven by internal demands of how we think we should be, never feeling good enough.
As our human brains have evolved we have developed the capacity for self awareness and reflection. We can mull over past events and anticipate future catastrophes.
With all these demands coming from outside as well as within, we are probably the most over-stimulated generation so far.
Stress of this type can have a devastating impact on our physical body, giving meaning to the phrase, WORRIED SICK. We become WIRED AND TIRED. If we already have an illness and find that we can no longer have the same level of control over events in our lives, our experience of stress can be magnified and further complicate our state of health. Another unhelpful spiral can emerge, as we become stuck in unhelpful thought patterns which affect how we feel physically, as well as impacting on our health.
In this section I hope to outline, in a simple way, the effects of the FIGHT OR FLIGHT system and the physical impact of an overloaded adrenaline and autonomic nervous system. I will include some guidance on relaxation training, and discuss helpful ways to breathe in order to slow down these stress responses, and reduce the physical impact of held tension.
In the Mindfulness section, I would like to share some ideas and resources, to help you find ways of noticing unhelpful thought patterns which may contribute to the fuelling of your stress response in an unhelpful way.
Next: The Physiology of Stress