The Real Truth about STRESS

Beat Stress – International Stress Awareness Day – 7 November 2018

20th International Stress Awareness Day to celebrate helping people to beat stress.
Theme this year – Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress. (1)

This is also the first year for International Stress Awareness Week 5 – 9 November 2018. (2)

The main reasons for stress at work –
Increasing redundancies | relationship conflicts between colleagues | build-up of accidents caused by a worker | problems linked to overall upkeep of organisations’ image (1)

So we have a day to make our world aware of Stress.
However, this year it has turned into a week – is that because Stress has got worse in our lives?
Do we all need to be reminded about what Stress is and how we can ‘beat’ it?

Is ‘beating’ Stress the answer and is it that simple?
How do we ‘beat’ an ill in society called Stress?
Does anyone have the answers and if yes, are they Stress free?

Do we need to ask more Questions instead of seeking Solutions for Stress?

Is there more to learn and understand about what Stress actually is?
Do we really know the harm Stress in our daily life is causing our body?

Depression and work issues are one of the main causes of stress reported to GPs. (1)

WHY are depression and work issues one of the main causes of Stress reported to our doctor?

Could it be possible that what Simple Living Global are presenting, in the Depression blog on this website, gives us questions to ponder on and consider – if there is Another Way?

Have we considered that our lifestyle choices may be why we have work issues in the first place?

Definitions of Stress

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension.
It can come from any event or thought that makes us feel frustrated, angry or nervous.

Stress is our body’s reaction to a challenge or demand.
In short bursts, stress can be ‘positive’, such as when it helps us avoid danger or meet a deadline.

Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or “stressor”.

Anxiety is a stress that continues after the stressor is gone. (3)

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry or unease.
It can be a reaction to stress or it can occur in people who are unable to identify significant stressors in their life. (4)

Stress is a normal feeling. (3)

The Health and Safety Executive define stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them”.

This makes an important distinction between pressure, which can be a positive state if managed correctly and stress, which can be detrimental to health. (5)

Oxford Living Dictionaries

Pressure or tension exerted on a material object.

The degree of stress measured in units of force per unit area.

A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

Something that causes a state of strain or tension.

Biology
Physiological disturbance or damage caused to an organism by adverse circumstances.

Particular emphasis or importance.

Verb with object
Subject to pressure or tension.
Cause mental or emotional strain or tension in.

Informal no object
Become tense or anxious; worry. (6)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

constraining force or influence: such as
a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against or tends to compress or twist another body or body part.

the deformation caused in a body by such a force.

a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

a state resulting from a stress especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium job-related stress.

archaic: intense effort or exertion. (7)

There has been no definition of stress that everyone accepts.

Therefore, it is difficult to measure stress if there is no agreement on what the definition of stress should be. (8)

We have very different ideas with respect to the definition of stress.

The most common is – physical | mental | emotional | strain or tension
Or a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceived that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise.

Stress for most people tends to focus on the negative feelings and emotions it produces.
Almost every definition of stress discusses certain resultant physical, physiological or biochemical responses that are experienced or observed.

A very comprehensive definition of stress that includes these and more is the biopsychosocial model, which has three components –

External – this is made up of elements in the external environment.

Internal – consists of physiological and biochemical factors in the internal environment or body.

Interaction – represents the cognitive processes that result from the interaction between external and internal components. Some of the physical reactions experienced during stress include –

Hypertension | Headaches | Gastrointestinal | Skin complaints

Any definition of stress that does include these dangerous physical responses is incomplete.

A definition of stress that does not refer to the role of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis or stimulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System and Adrenaline secretion in the “fight or flight” response should also be considered to be a deficient definition of stress.

Since stress is such a subjective phenomenon that differs for each of us, there really is no satisfactory definition of stress that all scientists agree on. (8)

Hello – is everyone getting this?

Our world has yet to unite and agree on what stress is.

What we can agree on is that we do not have a One-Unified Truth about this word called stress.

So if we consider the above, it is super clear we do not agree with what the definition of stress is.

As we do not all agree and accept what stress is, we are confirming SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

How on earth are we going to ever agree on what stress is when we don’t have everyone knowing what it actually is?

The fact we have different ideas with respect to the definition itself confirms we are off track.

Does this tell us why our Stress beating, Stress busting, Stress Solutions are not working?

We all know stress is a feeling and it is our body reacting to something.
In other words, our body is communicating SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

If we keep it SIMPLE and join the dots – can Simple Living Global bring a deeper understanding from what has been presented about the word stress?

If we are to be Honest, can any form of stress really be positive if our body changes its natural state in order to meet a deadline?

What if our body is super intelligent and can sense danger well in advance of the actual event, so that we can use our movements to change what could happen?

Anxiety is huge in our world today and so many of us are suffering with this ill and finding ways to cope.

We have a definition above that Anxiety is a stress that continues after the stressor is gone.

So WHY have we got fear, worry or unease in our life that brings rise to Anxiety into our body?

We are told that it can be a reaction to stress – so would it be wise to Question why we have stress in the first place?

More on this much needed topic next year.
Simple Living Global will publish a blog on Anxiety in 2019.

If stress alters our natural state, then can this really be defined as ‘normal’ as stated above?Has the majority of the world got some form of stress and so it becomes the normal?

Back to the definitions above – more questions to consider:

WHY have we got an adverse reaction to excessive pressure?
Is it because our body is not designed to have any force, so it reacts to the harm felt?

If we are going to get Real – can any pressure be a positive state for our body?
If it is, then why do we need to manage it correctly and how are we going to do this?

Could it be possible that any form of stress is detrimental to our health?

Next – the dictionary
We know stress is pressure or tension exerted and that means SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

A demand of some kind causes a state of strain or tension on a mental or emotional level.

The very fact that there is a physiological disturbance or damage needs to be noted here.
So then it would then make sense that because there is a change inside our body, it could be a factor for causing dis-ease.
In other words, our body would no longer be at ease – its natural state.

Next – let us continue joining the dots and keep it simple to make some sense.

We know stress does something to our mind, body or both.
It comes from something outside of us, which results in changes inside us.

Our body does not like these changes and so it communicates back to us with physical signs like:

Our blood pressure goes up
Our head aches with pain
We cannot stomach what is going on
The dis-harmony inside affects our skin

We then get told that any definition of stress if it does not include the above list is incomplete.

What we do know is that each of us has a different response to stress.
What if that response is linked to how we choose to live our life each day?
In other words, our lifestyle choices are behind every movement we make and determines how we will respond or react to life and what it brings every single day?

For those of us who need more knowledge on this subject, continue reading the black.

For those who would like a simple version of what is being said, check out the blue.

For those of us who are ready and would really like to understand more, read the green.

For all of us – it would be wise to take note of anything in red.

Purple – a must read for all of us to consider.

Stress is a Response

Our response to a stimulus
This theory has been based on the work of physicians Hans Selye and Walter Cannon.

Stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand.
Hans Selye, Stress in Health & Disease (1976) (9)

Selye discovered the following changes occurred in animals as a result of exposure to ‘threatening type’ stressors:

The cortex –
outer part to suprarenal glands (also known as adrenal glands) grew larger and more active.

The result is an increased release of fatty substances into the blood stream.

Immunity glands – lymph, pituitary, hypothalamus, thymus and spleen shrank in size.

The result is a decrease in immunity to conditions such as Colds and Flu.

Stomach and digestive tract – will develop ulcers.

The result, severe stomach indigestion, poor eating habits and gastro-intestinal problems.

Following a stimulus, there was an immediate REACTION. (9)

The first stage termed the alarm stage, represents a mobilisation of the body’s defensive forces. In other words, the body is preparing for the “fight or flight” syndrome. This involves a number of hormones and chemical excreted at high levels as well as an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and respiration rate. (8)

Physiological responses show an increase in activity levels.
This immediate (and innate) response, is a programme to resist or respond to danger.

If the stimulus continues then the physiological responses will also continue. (9)

In the second phase known as the stage of resistance, the body becomes adaptive to the challenge and even begins to resist it. The length of this stage of resistance is dependent upon the body’s innate and stored adaptation energy reserves and upon the intensity of the stressor.

Just as any machine wears out, even if it has been properly maintained, so do living organisms that sooner or later become the victim of this constant wear and tear.

The acquired adaptation is lost if the individual is subject to still greater exposure to the stressor. (8)

Continuous (longer-term) exposure to the stimulus leads to signs of Sickness or lowered immunological responses.

These signs include damage to cells, tissues and organs.

Long-term exposure to the stimulus will eventually lead to ‘exhaustion’ and death.
This occurs as a result of ‘adaptive energy’ being exhausted in order to fight the demands of the stimulus.

Each of the above have been described as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) (9)

  1. Stage of Alarm (the stimulus and immediate response)
  2. Stage of Resistance (adaptation as a result of continuous exposure)
  3. Stage of Exhaustion (depletion of physiological stores)

Note – those who are ‘constantly’ feeling under stress will find that their resistance to new stimuli (‘stressors’) will begin to drop off much quicker towards exhaustion.

Employees under a great deal of stress, including those who feel under pressure will ‘hide’ their stress levels via a number of actions. (9)

We have a theory here being presented which we could dismiss simply because it was tested on animals or we could consider what is being said.

It confirms the immediate reaction inside the body that takes place to a threatening type of stressor. First the alarm goes off and the body immediately goes straight into preparing for fight or flight mode.

If the stimulus continues then the body may resist depending on the intensity of the stressor and energy reserves that it has.

We cannot simply hold ourselves in this state, if the stressor carries on and we will get Sick because this is an un-natural way of living. Our immune system will not be strong and if we carry on like this, then exhaustion will be felt because of the physiological depletion.

What is clear is long-term, stress cannot be sustained by our body as it is not designed to cope in this way where we repeatedly put the body under stress.

Stressors

There are two broad categories of stressors.

Physiological (or Physical) Stressors

These are stressors that put strain on our body.
E.g. – very hot/cold temperatures, injury, chronic pain or illness.

Psychological Stressors

These are events, situations, individuals, comments or anything we interpret as negative or threatening.
E.g. not able to find a babysitter for a sick child when you cannot take time off work.

Scientists are now proposing that stressors can be further divided into:

Absolute Stressors

These are stressors that everyone exposed to them would interpret as being stressfull.
They are objective stressors that are universal like Earthquakes, Tsunami or 9 11 events.

Relative Stressors

These stressors only some would interpret as being stressful.
They are subjective stressors that cause different reactions in different people.
E.g. time pressure at work, traffic, paying taxes, exams.

Stress is highly personal, as we have to interpret a situation as stressful.
What stresses one person is different to what stresses others.

Stressors whether Absolute or Relative, cause the release of stress hormones. (10)

So a stressor is something that causes us stress.

How many of us would think that a stressor that could put strain on our body could be something as basic as cold weather outside?

In other words, we are warm inside our body and then when we go outside, we have not put clothes on to hold that internal state, so our body changes. It has a tension, because the warmth needed to continue feeling natural has been changed by something external like the cold weather.

Is this making sense?

Next –

Have we considered that a single comment from someone can be a psychological stressor?How many of us experience these ill feelings and dismiss them in everyday life?
How many of us have been at the receiving end of negative comments online through emails, app messaging, Social Media and everything else we choose to subscribe to?

Are we allowing small stressors to go under the radar everyday and not realise the harm they are causing our body?

Is it the ignored small stuff that adds up and causes us the big stress?

What if we paid attention to the small stressors in daily life – could that help us long-term?

Would our reaction to traffic be different if we were choosing to live our life in the flow zone?

In other words, not getting caught up in what is outside of us because we have made an effort to Commit to Life1 and build a Foundation that truly supports our body, which holds us steady for any traffic jam, exam or unexpected tax bill.

This means our True Health and Well-Being becomes a Priority in life.
And taking FULL Responsibility for the choices we make every single day.
In other words, being accountable for the choices we are making so we end the Blame game.

Could it be possible that when we have the above in place, our stress levels will drop?

Next – we need to bring in a standard of decency and respect in the way we live everyday.
We can no longer go on about this or that causing our stress because we know it is our choices that will make us respond or react, the latter being the harmfull one to our body.

Is this making sense?

Primary Stress Response

The four stages of primary stress are believed to be a physiological response.

Stage 1

Stimuli which are attended to by the brain from the senses such as the nose, eyes, ears etc. If the stimulus is strong enough as in the case of danger, then the body will initiate the primary stress response. It will be immediate and if the stimulus is not attended to in an appropriate manner then the response will domino into a chronic condition.

Danger, means the stimulus should not be restricted to definitions of physical harm. It can also include loss of identity, invasion of space or position as in the workplace. In the confrontational work situation, if this response is left un-checked or allowed to continue then chronic stress will ensue.

Stage 2

At this stage the hypothalamus gland in the brain activates the master gland of the endocrine system, which is the Pituitary gland. This will release ACTH – adreno cortico trophic hormone which then travels into the bloodstream towards the adrenal glands. The hypothalamus will also activate the Involuntary Nervous System. (9)

The Involuntary Nervous System is also known as the Autonomic Nervous System.

Our heart beats and our intestines digest without our conscious control.
Involuntary actions like these are regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System. (11)

The Involuntary Nervous System prepares the body mechanisms for a reaction – ‘fight or flight’. (9)

Transmission of signals to various parts of the body occurs via the Sympathetic Nervous System, also referred to as the ‘fight or flight system’(11) and this has control over functions such as heartbeat, breathing, digestion and temperature. During ‘fight or flight’ situations, the body’s mechanisms are made ready for immediate energy actions. (9)

Stage 3

The release of ACTH – combined with the Nervous System will cause the following:

Adrenal gland production of Adrenaline.
Note – Adrenaline is another name for Epinephrine.
This is thought to be the main reserve mechanism that comes into action during times of stress.

Noradrenaline is also produced and the functional aim is similar to Adrenaline but conducts such functions in a different manner.

The combined effects of Adrenaline and Noradrenaline are:

Adrenaline will increase the heart rate
Noradrenaline will constrict the blood vessels
Combined together, they will increase blood pressure (9)

What if our stress levels today are contributing to the rise in High Blood Pressure?

Instead of finding more drugs to keep it controlled, would it be wise to consider how we are living that is creating stress in our body.

High Blood Pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
7.5 million people a year die from High Blood Pressure. (12)

Adrenaline is associated with fear and Noradrenaline is believed to be related to anger.

The Sympathetic Nervous System takes over the ‘sub-conscious’ reactions to stress, leading to the next stage. (9)

Stage 4

The body is manually alert and the senses are activated.
Heart rate speeds up and blood pressure rises.
Blood is diverted to the muscles and the muscle fibres tense, ready for action.
Blood clotting ability increases, preparing the body for possible injury.
Breathing rate increases, nostrils and air passages to lungs open wide, to enable more air in.
Muscles of the bowel and bladder openings will contract.
Non-life saving activities of the body cease temporarily.
Liver releases sugar, cholesterol and fatty acids into the blood to supply instant energy to the muscles.
Immunity responses decrease in the short-term to allow large responses by the body.
Sweating increases to help cool the body. (9)

Primary Functions of the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands lie above each kidney and consist of two parts – the outer part known as the adrenal cortex and the inner part – adrenal medulla. (13)

Adrenal cortex hormones are controlled by hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. The cortex produces cortisol. Under normal circumstances, cortisol will enhance the immune system. Excessive levels of cortisol will suppress the immune system.

The main function of cortisol is to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of energy to the muscles and the amino acids are converted to glucose in the liver. This hormone is known as a stress hormone and is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes which include:

  • increasing fatty acids in the blood, from fat cells to be used as fuel for energy production
  • maintaining resistance to stress for example infections, physical trauma, emotional trauma, temperature extremes
  • maintaining mood and emotional stability
  • prevents the loss of sodium in urine and thus helps maintain blood volume and blood pressure

The principal hormones secreted by the Adrenal Cortex are as follows:

Glucocorticoids (cortisone and hydrocortisone) – these hormones influence the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates and utilise fats. They are important in maintaining the level of glucose in the blood so that blood glucose levels are increased at times of stress. (13)

So if our blood glucose levels are increased at times of stress, what happens if we do not deal with the stress?

Are we physiologically living in a state that keeps us alert and at the same time suppresses our immune system because at times of stress, there will be excess cortisol produced?

Does this have a direct link to Diabetes because that is associated with blood glucose levels?

Could it be possible the underlying stress that has not been acknowledged, actually creates more stress and so the body lives in this state of stress producing and doing what it does in these circumstances, while the person is unaware of the toll it has on the body?

Cortisone also delays healing, suppresses inflammation and reduces lymphocytes and eosinophils.

Mineral corticoids (aldosterone) – this hormone acts on the kidney tubules retaining sodium and chloride in the body, excreting excess potassium and maintaining the water and electrolyte balance. (13)

Sex corticoids include testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones control the development of the secondary sex characteristics and the function of the reproductive organs. (4)

The Adrenal Medulla is under the direct influence of the hypothalamus. It will also augment the effect of the Sympathetic Nervous System on the body. In addition to this, the hypothalamus will activate the Involuntary Nervous System.

The principal hormones secreted by the Adrenal Medulla are Adrenaline and Noradrenaline. They are both under the control of the Sympathetic Nervous System and are released at times of stress. The responses of these hormones are fast, due to the fact that they are governed by nervous control. The effects of these stress hormones are similar, although Adrenaline has a primary influence on the Heart, causing an increase in heart rate, whereas Noradrenaline has a greater effect on peripheral vasoconstriction, which raises blood pressure.

Does this tell us that more about what happens in times of stress?

Have we noticed how many people live with nervous tension as their normal?

What happens to us when we have all this going on inside at high speed?

Is it worth it, when we ignore our stress by overriding what we feel with our minds?

Have we considered the long-term effect it has on the body or do we wait for more signs to deal with our overwhelming stress levels that go undetected by us?

Have we noticed how many products are out there to keep us racy and stimulated and this means we move even further away from dealing with our stress?

A summary of the effects of Adrenaline are as follows:

  • dilates the arteries, increasing blood circulation and the heart rate
  • dilates and relaxes the bronchial tubes, increasing oxygen intake and the rate and depth of breathing
  • converts glycogen to glucose from the liver
  • raises the metabolic rate
  • constricts the blood vessels to the skin and intestines, diverting blood from these regions to the muscles and brain to effect action (9)
  • stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System

The effects of Noradrenaline are similar to those of Adrenaline and include:

  • vasoconstriction of small blood vessels leading to an increase in blood pressure
  • increase in the rate and depth of breathing
  • relaxation of the smooth muscle of the intestinal wall (9)
  • raises blood pressure (13)

Cortisone vs Cortisol (Hydrocortisone)

Note – Hydrocortisone is another name for Cortisol

Cortisol and Cortisone are both steroids.
They share a similar core chemical structure which is common to all the cholesterol-like molecules. They comprise of 4 fused carbon rings and therefore have a very rigid structure.

The difference between Cortisol and Cortisone lies in the difference of the functional groups present in the two molecules.

Cortisol

Cortisol is also known as Hydrocortisone.

It is a steroid hormone which is released by the adrenal cortex.

This is a “stress hormone” that gets released in order to show “fight or flight response” at stressful conditions.

Cortisol can increase blood sugar by gluconeogenesis.

It is classified as a glucocorticoid which can stimulate liver glycogen formation.

The systematic name of cortisol is (11β)-11,17,21-trihydroxypregn-4-ene-3,20-dione.

The CRH hormone (corticotrophin-releasing hormone) released by the hypothalamus triggers secretion of ACTH hormone from the anterior pituitary and then ACTH triggers the release of Cortisol.

Cortisone

Cortisone is also another steroidal hormone, a glucocorticoid to be specific which is released by adrenal glands. It also has the ability to act as an anti-inflammatory compound and an antidiuretic hormone.

The systematic name of cortisone is 17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone.

When it comes to glucocorticoid activity, cortisone could be considered as the inactive form of cortisol. Cortisone is activated to become cortisol.

Cortisone, like cortisol has the ability to elevate blood pressure in stressful conditions. (14)

Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is the small structure that lies beneath the thalamus and governs many important homeostatic functions.

It regulates the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system by governing the pituitary gland.

It controls hunger | thirst | temperature regulation | anger | aggression | hormones | sexual behaviour | sleep patterns | consciousness (13)

Maladaptive Reactions to Stress

It is important to realise that the outcome of coping with stress can be adaptive or maladaptive.

Example – office employee finding style and strategies with supervisor a source of stress.

Employee has a choice to adapt to the situation in an adaptive or maladaptive way.

Adaptive response to coping – put a communication problem on staff agenda and seek professional help in coping with it.

Maladaptive response to coping – blow up with the supervisor and resort to drinking Alcohol to numb problems.

Handling stress maladaptively means trying to reduce it in ways that make it worse for the person involved and for others. (9)

What this is spelling out to us is in every situation, we do have a choice in how we react or respond.

What would be wise to Question is whether coping is the answer for the long-term?
In other words, if we rely on coping strategies does it deal with the root underlying cause?

Do we need to dig deeper and ask more questions and find Another Way that supports us to not react to anything and everything that life throws at us?

What if simply making some practical changes like a consistent sleep routine could bring us a deeper sense of our self and how we feel, so our communication changes for the better?

Some of us will be able to relate to the following when it comes to stress in our lives.

Our ‘go to’ medicine in times of need.

The following inappropriate responses to stress illustrate maladaptive responses:

  • Lighting up a Cigarette whenever challenged by a person, event or situation
  • Drinking Alcohol in response to, or in anticipation of a stressful event
  • Drive by speeding or driving aggressively
  • Using food, tea or Coffee to calm down
  • Feel Heart beating when frustrated
  • Frequently using sleeping pills or tranquillisers
  • Become Depressed as indicated by loss of appetite, Sleep or libido. (9)

But what if we questioned why we light up the cigarette or Vape or smoke pot?
Smoking is killing us and we have every bit of evidence telling us so.
Do we really think that vaping is the answer or are we being Fooled again?

Are we all for the legalisation of Marijuana because it suits our lifestyle?

What if we stopped and read the blog on Alcohol on this website to see what it’s all about?
What if our Irresponsible driving does have a ripple effect far greater than we would like to think?
What if the stimulation we seek from our Coffee alters our natural state and the stress builds up?
What if our Heart is clocking every beat that is off rhythm and one day things get serious?
What if our frequent use of sleeping pills guarantees there will be no change whatsoever?
What if we read the Depression blog on this website and answered the questions presented?

Do we overeat because we want to shove down a feeling that is coming up?
Do we overeat as that is how we always behave when it comes to any stress?
Do we use food as a comfort, a close friend that will help us keep the hurt away?
In other words, we seek certain foods that we know will bury what we don’t want to feel.

Alcohol Abuse whilst initially alcohol use may be a social pattern of behaviour, it can be used in excess to cope with the tension and stress in life and make it tolerable. It could be used in response to or in anticipation of a stressful event or in hazardous situations. With continued use it can impact not only the physical body but also affect relationships, work and all other areas of life. There is also the possibility with additional stress of alcohol abuse that there is no longer control and this could now be an alcohol dependence problem. This means that there is a possibility that increased amounts of alcohol are needed to achieve the desired effect. This would in turn add to stress levels and is designed for failure. This is a maladaptive reaction to stress.

Drugs there are three groups of psychoactive substances which are widely used to relieve tension. They are Depressants, Stimulants and Distortions.

Depressants by their very nature are suppressing the symptoms so this will further add to the stressor, as it is being buried and not dealt with. With the side effects of these drugs, like over the counter sleeping pills, this will be an additional reaction to stress and is programmed for failure. The side effects of depressants can lead to loss of appetite and libido, further adding to the stress. (9)

Depressants are psychoactive drugs that slow down the activity of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), which reduces a person’s alertness and also slows down functions such as breathing and heart rate. These can take the form of pharmaceutical drugs as well as illicit substances. Alcohol is also a widely used depressant. (15)

Examples of depressant drugs:

Alcohol | Cannabis | Heroin | Ketamine | Inhalants | GHB | Benzodiazepines (minor tranquilisers)

Hello

How many of us if we were asked know that alcohol is a depressant?

Are all those who champion and endorse cannabis aware it is a depressant?

If depressants by their very nature are suppressing our symptoms and will add to the stressor, why on earth are we not asking Questions?

Why are our governments legalising drugs that clearly are causing harm to the human frame?

Who wins in the long run and do we really benefit as individuals or a world?

Why are most of us happy to not deal with whatever stuff is coming us for us?

On top of that every drug has side effects so this adds to the stress, yet we blindly seem to use them because it gives us something.

Is that substance worth it, if deep down we know nothing is changing other than things are getting worse?

This depressants stuff makes no sense, yet we continue with this way of living.

In small quantities depressants can cause a person to feel more relaxed.
In large quantities they can cause unconsciousness, vomiting and death.
Mixing more than one depressant is dangerous as this can make it harder to think clearly, properly control movement and may stop breathing and cause death.

Caffeine found in Coffee, Chocolate and Energy drinks affects the body’s nervous system and alters our natural state of being. This means the brain is being stimulated and the body is no longer in homeostasis. Using stimulants, which seem normal and acceptable in society has an adverse effect on stress levels. Amphetamines are designed to stimulate the brain and keep the person active and alert, but the very nature of this false stimulation is a set up for failure so the stress is not addressed.

Drugs like Cocaine, Marijuana or LSD simply numb the person so they do not feel any of the stress that is actually happening and this further adds more problems, as the body is coping with the harmfull effects of these serious mind-altering substances which by their nature are programmed for failure to address stress at any level. (9)

We all know drugs are clearly not the answer to our stress levels, yet we somehow get hooked into them to help with our stress and yet they ADD to our stress.

How on earth does this happen?

Over-eating by its very nature is programmed for failure simply because the body is being given excessive amounts of food to ‘relieve’ tension, but in truth it is putting the body under more stress. This behaviour pattern can come from childhood where a parent offers food as a comfort to relieve tension that the child maybe feeling. This then becomes a conditioned response and the foods used to over eat are generally high in fat and sugar. It can be used to calm us down.

Over-eating will evoke feelings of guilt and this will worsen the situation. The stress emotion remains whilst the stress-producing situation is ignored.

Over-eating means more weight, which is stress on the body and less energy, but more body fat.

This will lower self-esteem, which is an important aspect of the coping mechanism. (9)

Smoking this habit is a maladaptive response of the worst kind to stress. It is an inappropriate response to stress to smoke a cigarette when a person, event or situation challenges us. It is an illusion to think that smoking reduces stress and there is sufficient evidence confirming this fact. A smoker may initially feel a reduction in tension, but in truth the addictive chemicals that smoking releases in the brain means that by its very nature, this is programmed for failure. It is well documented that smoking shortens life, increases addiction ability and creates tension. The lungs are coated with tar and nicotine, which in turn affects the transportation of oxygen and increases the Heart rate. Smoking is a non-productive way of coping with stress and is a health risk to the user. (9)

It is concluded that because prolonged dependence on these inappropriate mechanisms for dealing with stress leads to a lifestyle that increases our risk of premature death and disability, these habits have been referred to as ‘slow-motion suicide’.

These maladaptive responses to stress lessen the quality of life. (9)

HELLO

How does ‘slow-motion suicide’ sound to us?

This is telling us that our lifestyle choices listed above increases the risk of early disability and death.

In other words, we are slowly killing ourselves with our dependence on poisons that were never designed for human consumption. Fact.

Physical and Verbal AbusePersonal distress is often transferred to others as physical and verbal abuse.

It seems that those closest to the person under stress become the victims of his or her inability to cope with the stress.

Wife-beating and child abuse are amongst the most tragic and most destructive reactions we can have to our own stress situation.

When the stress coping response has reached that stage, it now enters the domestic scene and is under the jurisdiction of the civil courts, or under the accepted norms of the society or community where it occurs. (9)

How serious does it get when we abuse others including children because of the stress we feel?

Where does this Irresponsible behaviour start and is it that simple to address and correct?

What if we started to educate everyone so we get an understanding about how to live human life and that means saying NO to any form of abuse – be it verbal, physical or ingesting anything into our body that is harmfull?

What if we had our school education teaching how to truly live human life?
In other words, practical support and knowledge about what could support the body to live on earth and be equipped to deal with daily life, no matter what comes.

Non-Responding Behaviours this is where we make a choice to not do anything about a stressful situation in the hope that it will go away or simply disappear and not exist.
This form of denial could be to seek a temporary relief and we may even think it is constructive.

However, avoiding the underlying stressful emotion does not take it way and so the stress triggers remain, albeit buried further into the body. This means we are more likely to require behaviour that is potentially dangerous and harmful just to keep the unresolved issues away.

Examples of these behaviour actions include:

  • Spending sprees
  • Blaming others
  • Over-working
  • Denial

If habitually used, evasion techniques and behaviour patterns are potentially dangerous. (9)

Do we stop long enough to consider the knock-on effect when we do our spending sprees?

Has the new high street shopping been taken over with the new 24/7 Internet spending?

Are we seeking a form of relief to deal with whatever is going on in our lives at the time?

Do we care about the Irresponsibility that we are seeking and what it is actually doing?

Blaming others or blaming anything for what has happened to us means we confirm it is not our Responsibility. Is this type of behaviour going to add to our stress levels or support it to drop?

It would be a wise move to read our blog on Blame.

Overworking ensures we do not have to think about the stressors that are bugging us as we have a focus – work.

Could we all agree this is simply avoiding what needs to be dealt with?

Denial – where has that got us when we behave in this way?

Our body is a smart cookie and knows what’s what.

Imagine how our heart feels and responds when we go into any form of denial.

Our head has to come up with ways to keep up the Lie we are choosing as let’s get Real – denial is not the Truth so it must be a lie.

Coping

Defining a Coping Process

 Coping can be defined as the constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person.
Walter Schafer, Stress Management for Wellness (1996) (9)

This means our coping response is what we think and do to harden the demands made on us.
A coping response changes as we react and adapt to a situation or to circumstances.
Coping is not what we should, would or could do, but what we do as we react or respond to conditions and demands.

Coping is an ongoing dynamic, interaction process.
Your repeated pattern of coping becomes your coping style.
Walter Schafer, Stress Management for Wellness (1996) (9)

So what is our individual coping style?

How do we behave and do we know it’s not working?

In constructing a coping response, there are three stages of coping with the stressor:

Primary Appraisal
When we are initially confronted by a stressor or a stressful situation composed of various stressors we engage in primary appraisal.
At this stage we decide against the background of self-knowledge about ourself and the situation, whether we are threatened or whether we can cope with the situation.
If the situation is judged as not being threatening, the coping process ceases, but if a threat is perceived, the stress-coping process continues.

Secondary Appraisal
At this stage we assess our resources for coping with the stressors.
The assessment will be influenced by previous experiences in similar situations and by beliefs about ourselves, our environment/circumstances and our personal resources.
Example – if we have been successful in the past in coping with similar situations, do we have the confidence and problem-solving skills to handle the situation?
If physical attributes, such as physical strength or financial resources are required, are these available.

Tertiary Appraisal
Coping with the stressor in whatever manner is the third stage.
The actions that seem appropriate are evaluated and put into action.

Coping Resources
There are resources from which coping strategies can be selected.
A wide variety of personal and environmental coping resources are potentially available to us as we assess our options.

Generally speaking, these coping resources fall into three broad categories: (9)

1. Personal Resources

Physical Resources
Physical pertains to health and stamina, energy levels and physical disabilities, together with aspects such as exercise, relaxation and Sleep, routines and diet.

Mental (cognitive skills)
Problem solving skills, communication skills, time management.

Emotional Resources
Self-concept enhancement, interpersonal relationships, aggressive, assertive or passive behaviour.

Spiritual Resources
Pertain to the faith and belief system of the person, contributing to the resilience factor.

2. Social Resources

Refer to the social support and the community services that can be resorted to.

3. Material Resources

Refer to material or concrete physical resources and especially to financial resources.

Although all these resources are there, often there are both internal and environmental coping constraints that act against these resources being used. (9)

These constraints include:

  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Time
  • Hostility
  • Unexpected Anger
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Lack of Financial Resources
  • Perceived Social Prohibitions
  • Absence of healthcare and facilities
  • Role model and child rearing derived coping responses
  • Social norms emphasising self-sufficiency
  • Unwillingness to seek or accept assistance from others

Some of these constraints can be overcome by choice awareness and acquiring certain skills.
Others, especially lack of health, finances and physical impediments cannot be overcome that easily.

For these reasons, some people have a much harder time than others coping with adversity. (9)

What if we made an effort, a commitment to Focus on our lack of health and see what we can do by making simple lifestyle choices that would support our True Health and Well-Being?

Simple Living Global has dedicated this website to humanity by presenting Another Way to live human life on earth. It brings in Responsibility at the core of every choice we make.

Could it be possible if we apply Responsibility to our lifestyle choices, things would change fast?

Teens and Stress

74% teenagers report more than one symptom of stress

this includes feeling irritable | lying awake at night | headaches

Teenagers coping strategies are:
Revisiting childhood favourites | movies | books | TV shows

Repetitive easy tasks:
Basketball shots | organisation | fiddle with toys (16)

How on earth are the majority of our teenagers getting stressed?

Do we as parents, teachers and custodians of the younger generations have a blind spot?
In other words, we have stress in our own lives, so we cannot clearly see it in another?

Could it be possible that a stressed out parent giving stress advice to a teen is not going to work?

Are we aware when our kids use the coping strategies mentioned above that it maybe because of stress in their lives?

Do we act like they will ‘grow out of it’ or it’s just a ‘phase’ because others are doing the same?

Could this un-natural behaviour be the signs we as adults ignore as not important enough?

Symptoms of Stress

Mental Symptoms of Stress

‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’
Confusion
Disorientation
Forgetfulness
Lack of concentration
Memory lapses
Mental blocks
Mentally dried
Missing the point
‘Panic attacks’
Poor decision making
Reflecting on the past

Emotional Symptoms of Stress

Anxiety
Bad tempered (self and others)
Bouts of Depression
De-motivated
Deterioration in personal hygiene and appearance
Feeling of being ‘misunderstood’
Feelings of loneliness
Feeling ‘unattractive’
Fits of rage
Frustration of self and others
Impatience and Irritability
Panic stricken (sometimes without cause)
Sensitive (to criticism)
Tearful, upset or worried

Behavioural Symptoms of Stress

Undue stress affects the way we behave.
Unusual behaviour is very often a behavioural manifestation of excessive stress.

Angry outbursts
Anxiousness towards competition
Avoidance of work, friends, relations
Carelessness
Changes in appetite – overeating or little eating
Clumsiness
Confused speech
Eating Disorders
Fast and often incoherent speech
Fidgeting
Greater incidents of accidents
Hypochondria
Increased intake of Alcohol or Drugs
Motivated towards challenges
Nail biting
Nervous Laughter
Restlessness
Withdrawal from people or events

Going to extremes – Smoking | gambling | overspending

Exhibiting aggressive driving | having accidents

Late for work | poor personal hygiene | neglecting clothing (9)

What a list of symptoms

How many of us could relate to some of this but have never considered it to be a mental, emotional or behavioural symptom of stress?

How many of us have clocked this in others, but never joined the dots and realised it could be linked to some form of stress?

Work

Increased absenteeism
Less job satisfaction
Lower productivity
Poor relationships with fellow workers
Less commitment to doing the job

Physical Symptoms of Stress

Aches and Pains throughout Body | Apprehension | Breathlessness | Clammy Hands | Diarrhoea | Dizziness | Dry Mouth and Throat | Fainting | Fast Breathing | Fatigue | Feeling Hot | Headaches | Hyperventilation | Indigestion | Infections | Loss of Sex Drive | Missed Heart Beats | Nausea | Nervous Twitching | Palpitations | Sleep Pattern Changes | Sweating | Trembling | Vomiting (9)

Hello Hello

If we have any of the above symptoms because they are physical we tend to notice them.

Have we bothered to stop and say SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, or do we carry on business as usual hoping it will go away or pass with time?

How serious is stress if it is causing such reactions to the human body?
How are we choosing to live that gives rise to such conditions that are harming us?

What are the long-term effects of living with any of these symptoms on a daily basis?

Have we made stress so normal that we don’t pay any attention when our body communicates with these symptoms?

Do we go straight to our Solutions so we can function and get through the day, the week, the month, the year and every year, until something big happens which forces us to Stop?

Other Signs of Stress

Physical Symptoms of Stress include:

Abdominal Cramps | Aching Neck Jaw and Back Muscles | Being Easily Startled | Chest Pains | itching | Pounding Heart | Susceptibility to Minor Illness | Tightness of Chest (17)

What if the pounding heart and the pain and tightness in our chest is a loud message from the body saying SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

What if every single symptom is telling us something about how we are choosing to live?
In other words, our choices are giving us the symptoms and it is not a bad luck thing.

Common Mental Processes:

Diminished sense of meaning in life | Disorganised thoughts | Lack of attention to detail | Lack of control | Loss of perspective | Mind racing or going blank | Need for too much control | Negative evaluation | Negative self-statements | Not being able to ‘switch off’ | Self-esteem and confidence plummeting

Common Behaviours:

Aggressive | Becoming impatient | Compulsive | Managing time poorly | Not taking breaks | Procrastinating on important projects | Taking work home

Feelings experienced:

Guilty | Jealous | Hyper Alert (17)

Dear World

Reading up to this point, are we aware of how serious the effects of stress are?

If we are Honest, how many of us can relate to the common mental processes?

Now that we know about the common behaviours, can we have more understanding about those who for example, take work home or have poor time management?

Have any of us considered that people with stress maybe jealous of others who are making different choices?

In other words, they have a self-fury when they see another not choosing what they are doing.

Stress and Coronary Artery Disease

Stress is associated with increased activity of the Sympathetic Nervous System. (9)

The Sympathetic Nervous System originates in the spinal cord and its main function is to activate the physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response.

This component of the Autonomic Nervous System utilises and activates the release of Noradrenaline in the reaction. (18)

It is known to release free fatty acids into the bloodstream. These free fatty acids can then be converted to cholesterol to be deposited on the insides of blood vessels – especially the large vessels supplying the heart and the coronary arteries.

‘Furring’ up of these arteries causes the oxygen starvation of the heart muscle. This process is speeded up during times of increased blood pressure.

Continued exposure to High Blood Pressure puts strain on the arteries, leading to damage and susceptibility to clogging. This causes a vicious circle because clogged arteries require a greater amount of ventricular force from the heart, to pump blood around the body.

A stronger beating heart will become larger and this requires greater amounts of oxygen.

The clogged arteries are incapable of delivering oxygen as required and the chances of a heart attack are greatly increased. (9)

Simple Living Global have presented the stats and the facts on our forensic blog about High Blood Pressure. This is well worth reading and staggering to see how many people in our world have this condition.

For the purpose of this blog, stress affects our blood pressure and there is no getting away from that immutable fact.

Our heart has a job to do and without it we would die.

Our job is to support it and not bring about any upset, tension, stress or strain.

Having stress means our heart feels it instantly, even if our mind chooses to ignore it.

We are simply not designed to operate with stress inside our body, yet most of us carry on with very little regard or concern about our body.

If we read the Heart blog on this website, we would wake up and realise how serious heart health is and how far we are living away from our true natural state because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer.

Physical Activity | Anger | Emotional Upset – Triggers off Acute Myocardial Infarction

The Interheart Study – 2016
Large International Study across 52 countries.

Physical exertion and anger or emotional upset are triggers associated with first acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in all regions of the world, men and women and all age groups.

Physical exertion and emotions cause –
sympathetic activation | catecholamine secretion | systemic vasoconstriction | increase heart rate | High Blood Pressure thereby modifying myocardial oxygen demand, which may precipitate the rupture of an already vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque.

Other potential triggers include –
Viewing stressful sporting events | ecological events like earthquakes

The findings led to recommendations that the link between triggering events and their pathophysiological consequences may be reduced through the use of
Aspirin | B-blockers | Statins | Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

However, we report no effect modification by cardiovascular prevention medication for AMI associated with physical exertion or anger or emotional upset. Therefore, the report highlights difficulties with primary prevention of AMI associated with external triggering events. (19)

Cancer

Both the prevention and treatment of Cancer are suspected of being related to stress. (9)

Let us assume for one moment that stress is related to Cancer.
If we read the Cancer blog on this website and consider the video from scientist Mina Bissell we would understand that everything is inter-connected and cancer cells are directly affected by their environment – that means what is going on around them.

Would it not be a wise move to find out how we can deal with our stress and do what it takes to eliminate stress out of our lives, so we have a greater chance of optimal health and vitality?

Cancer is a combination of several diseases, some caused by ingesting of carcinogens (cancer causing agent), by inhalation of carcinogens (from the environment or cigarette smoking) and as a result of some viruses.

When a viral cancer occurs, the immune system comes into play.
T-lymphocytes will be activated. Their function is to destroy the mutant cells before they multiply and cause damage. This ability is somewhat reduced in times of stress. (9)

What happens when we experience a form of exhaustion and collapse (‘shut down’ of the body systems)

The following was written by the author when studying Corporate and Professional Stress Management. The intention was to use words that cut the complexity of this topic and bring in greater awareness with Simple easy to read language, so the majority of us can understand.

We can experience a form of exhaustion and collapse (‘shut-down’ of the body systems) when the body is under long-term stress. The body releases hormones to deal with what is being presented.
The stressor and long-term release of such hormones will adversely affect the body, which will lead to a form of exhaustion, whereby the body will begin to shut down the systems.

This means the body will ignore the other functions of the body, so that it can concentrate on physical actions.

For example, blood supply will be diverted to muscles, lungs, etc. The body has prepared for action by removing or diverting all ‘un-necessary’ physiological functions, which in the long term has no benefit. This continued release of hormones will disturb the homeostasis (equilibrium) of the body and in turn the mind will be affected, giving rise to many emotional states.

Longer-term release of these hormones can be detrimental to health and clear, logical and cognitive thinking. The ability to have clarity in thought is simply not there, due to the exhaustion and the body is not equipped to deal with the daily stressors.

This then adds to the stress and continues to affect daily hassles, where even our environment can be a stress, such as noise or bright lights.
Major life events would be difficult to deal with as the body is simply shutting down and has no reserves to keep going with the unaddressed issues of what is creating the stress.

Lifestyle choices may begin to change like increase in Caffeine to combat the exhaustion and to keep going, or more Alcohol or Drugs to numb out the pain of what is going on.

Sleep is an internal stressor that would have a profound effect on the exhaustion.

With no sleep rhythm, the body will continue to shut down to preserve energy to simply function.

Lack of sleep can lead to negative self-talk and becoming sensitive, by taking things personally.
Rigid thinking may also be affecting the body’s ability to heal, as there is no logical thinking due to the exhaustion, so again a vicious cycle.

Adequate sleep supports our immune system and brings in a natural balance our body needs.
In other words, the stillness that sleep offers can support to balance the motion in our day.

Withdrawal due to the complete exhaustion and collapse of the body systems could isolate the sufferer further and lead to Depression and create even more stress, as there is little or no communication with others. In work situations this collapse could mean the tension of losing our job and this may add even more stress.

This collapse in the body has a direct effect on other symptoms, which may have a connection.

Cholesterol can obstruct the arteries causing oxygen starvation to the Heart muscle and affect blood pressure. Continued exposure to  High Blood Pressure can lead to serious damage, which may include an enlarged heart, as the heart has to beat stronger and a larger heart requires more oxygen, and this is a vicious cycle.

All of these symptoms will generate various symptoms of emotional and mental stress such as anger, anxiety, fear, worry and Depression.

Adrenal glands release cortisone and if chronically elevated, cortisone will destroy the body’s resistance to infection and the stresses of surgery or illness.

The release of thyroid hormones in the long-term can create shaky nerves, insomnia, intolerance to heat and weight loss, if food intake remains the same. Exhaustion will continue.

The hypothalamus gland will deplete the levels of endorphins released if there is chronic relentless stress. This can lead to aggravation in migraines or backaches and even the pain of arthritis.

The release of sugar into the blood can create excessive demands on the pancreas to produce increased levels of insulin to metabolise it. This demand can aggravate Diabetes.

Heart rate racing, which would mean permanent High Blood Pressure,  and a confirmation that the vascular system is having to cope with the un-natural demand of long-term stress.

The blood thickens and the long-term disadvantages are the possibility of strokes and heart attacks.

The skin becomes itchy and skin rashes are possible because of the side effects of nervous stimulation from long-term stress.

To avoid adding more fluids to the stomach, the saliva dries up so the mouth becomes dry and we get a feeling of a ‘lump’ in the throat.

As the body is in this state of tension there is a decreased supply of blood to the stomach and more acid is secreted. This is because the blood is needed elsewhere in the body and digestion is reduced. The long-term disadvantage of this way of living can create indigestion, ulcers and Heartburn.

In addition to this, as the blood is needed elsewhere, there is a decreased blood supply to sexual organs and over time this can lead to impotence in men and menstrual disorders in Women.

As the body is ready for action, the bowels empty and if this continues there will be a frequent need to pass urine to keep the body constantly ready for the stressor.

All the above physiological changes that take place because of long-term stress affects the mind, giving rise to many negative emotional states. The sufferer could appraise the situation as “this is too demanding’ which is an alarm to the stress response. The chemical messenger in this case Adrenaline is then released to prepare the body to deal with the stress. Noradrenaline is being released where the appraisal of the situation is “I am in control”.

The body will, in effect shut down certain other functions to concentrate and supply the working muscles and systems associated with the need to meet the demands of the stressor.

If we simply join the dots here, this section on exhaustion is speaking volumes.

We could work out why we get infections or 6 Colds a year.
We could work out why we have Heartburn or High Blood Pressure.
We could consider further reading on these topics which are on this website.

What the green reading is confirming is that our body has an Intelligence2 and it knows what to do to support us, but if we keep making choices everyday that harm the natural status inside us then it comes in and starts shutting down systems.

What is interesting to note is how the mind can override by choosing Alcohol, Coffee, overeating, gambling, shopping or whatever drug of choice we have, to numb and ignore what is going on inside us. This of course adds to the stress levels and then we wonder why we get certain symptoms, illnesses or dis-eases in our body.

What if lessons at school were teaching us this type of stuff, in simple language so everyone understands?

What if the class does not move on, even if one person is not sure and that means we have conversations and discussions so no one is left behind?

What if we had a subject called HUMAN LIFE EDUCATION and that included how to live on earth in our natural state of being?

What if we had the presentations and teachings by Simple Living Global on the school agenda and that includes for staff and not just students?

Would this support stress from –
School pressure | Exam pressure | Peer pressure | University pressure | Teaching pressure

What if it is now time for all of us to ask questions as we know SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

NEXT –

Types of Stress

Acute Stress

Fight or Flight | Body prepares to defend itself | Takes 90 minutes for metabolism to return normal when response over (8)

Short-term stress that goes away quickly
It helps us manage dangerous situations
Everyone has acute stress at one time or another
We feel it when we slam on the brakes | have a fight with our partner | ski down a steep slope | do something new or exciting

Our body reacts to stress by releasing hormones.
These hormones make our brain more alert, cause our muscles to tense and increase our pulse.
In the short-term, these reactions are good because they can help us handle the situation causing stress. It is our body’s way of protecting itself. (3)

Chronic Stress

This stress lasts for a longer period of time (3)
This is the stress we ignore or push down (8)

Examples – money problems | unhappy marriage | trouble at work (3)
The cost of daily living: bills | kids | jobs (8)

Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress.
We become so used to chronic stress that we do not realise it is a problem. (3)

Left uncontrolled, this stress affects our health, our body and immune system. (8)

When we have chronic stress, our body stays alert, even though there is no danger
.

Over time, this puts us at risk for health problems, including:

Anxiety
Depression
Diabetes
Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Menstrual problems
Obesity
Skin problems

If there is already a health condition, chronic stress can make it worse. (3)

Hello

How many of us would actually use the word ‘chronic’ to describe our stress levels if we have kids or trouble at work?

How many of us would link stress with skin or menstrual problems?

This tells us that even our definitions are not seen as the same for all.
In other words, stress is an umbrella word and there are many types of stress.

What if nervous tension is a stress to the body?

We all know anxiousness is a stress but have we considered food?

All the additives in our foods that cause us irritation could be a form of stress?

What if we keep moving in a way that does not support our body – would this bring a stress that is physiological?

There are lots of factors that can contribute to our personal stress.

Well before we are stressed out and reach chronic levels, we feel the pressures and tensions of daily life.

If we continue making lifestyle choices that are not in regard to the human frame, then we can expect stress to be a contributing factor for all the ills that await us.

Negative Stress is the harmfull effects of stress on our mental and physical health.

Negative stress is unresolved feelings of anger, frustration, fear and depression. (9)

Not addressing issues at the time that they are felt, the sufferer will have a coping way to ignore, negate or bury the issue and not deal with it.

For example – anger may be unresolved and without any true support this can go un-noticed as the person is able to function enough in life. However, the long-term harm will eventually show itself as a dis-ease in the body. It will also affect our behaviour and in this case, there could be angry outbursts. Other behaviour changes may also become noticeable like nail biting, fidgeting, confused speech or Carelessness.

Unresolved Depression could have a lasting impact on the body.
The unresolved feelings mean we may avoid social contact and withdraw into ourselves, unable to handle the give-and-take of human relationships.

Depression affects the moods and how a person engages in everyday life.
It is a constant feeling of no hope, sadness and a loss of interest in life.

There is no motivation to go about day-to-day activities and sometimes the sufferer may feel that life is not worth living. In other words, they Give Up on life and feel they cannot Commit to life because they have withdrawn from life.

Negative thinking, loss of libido, loss of energy and vitality and difficulty initiating any social activity are signs not always taken by many in society as the potential dangers that they really are.

Depressed people can become trapped in a cycle of social withdrawal, which leads to a lack of positive reinforcement, which then perpetuates the depression.

There are various forms of depression and symptoms can be complex and vary widely between people.

It is an illness that can go undetected, as the person does not always think they are depressed.

Are we aware just how dangerous the ‘unresolved’ feelings are?

Have we considered what is being presented here and how it really does affect us?

Our forensic Depression blog presents the stats and facts and reading what has been presented thus far, we can have more awareness now of why Depression is a global epidemic in our current times and is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

Negative Stress triggers off a variety of illnesses –

Accidental injuries | Cancer | Cardiovascular Disease | Cirrhosis of liver | Digestive problems | Headaches | Insomnia | Major stress conditions | Respiratory disorders | Skin complaints | Suicide | Ulcers

Negative Stress is also excessive, prolonged and unrelieved stress.

This means by not dealing with the stress, it now accumulates and has a profound negative effect on the body.

There has been no attempt to relieve the stress or address it and so it continues to build up. (9)

So this bit above tells us that our body cops it when we choose to not deal with our stress.

Just based on what has been presented thus far, most of us would be able to work out why we have the stress, where it is coming from and what action we need to take.

Or we could simply view this as a bit of reading, pay lip service and continue business as usual and then our body will start communicating to the point where things will start to feel uncomfortable and painful.

WHY do we wait for an accidental injury to take place?

WHY do we pop the pills and hope our headaches just go away?

WHY do we pay big bucks just to get rid of the skin conditions?

WHY do we ignore all the digestive problems we keep having?

WHY have we never bothered to consider how we got the ulcers?

WHY are we not thinking that negative stress is linked to Suicide?

WHY are we living in a way that the negative stress triggers Cancer?

Can we see WHY Cardiovascular Disease is the number one killer in our world?

Is this making sense ?

It is essential to differentiate between the unpleasant or harmful variety of stress termed distress, which often connotes disease and eustress, which often connotes euphoria.

During both eustress and distress, the body undergoes virtually the same non-specific responses to the various positive or negative stimuli acting upon it.
However, eustress causes much less damage than distress.

This demonstrates that how an individual accepts stress, determines whether the person can adapt successfully to change.

Distress
Negative daily life stress
Divorce | Financial Problems | Injury | Negative feelings | Punishment | Work difficulties

Eustress
Positive daily life stress
Baby | Graduation | Marriage | New friends | Promotion | Winning money (8)

Two benefits of positive stress are:

Motivation – some people can find themselves motivated towards challenges.

Anxiousness towards competition – an example are sports men and women find themselves anxious and motivated when they approach a competition. (9)

Signs of Too Much Stress 

Constipation | Diarrhoea | Forgetfulness | Frequent aches and pains | Headaches | Lack of energy | Lack of Focus | Sexual problems | Sleeping too much | Stiff jaw or neck | Tiredness | Trouble sleeping | Upset stomach | Use of Alcohol or Drugs to relax | Weight gain | Weight loss (3)

How many of us ignore signs because it suits us?
In other words, if we stopped and questioned why we have constipation, it might mean Letting Go and reading blogs like Holding On.

What if we paid attention when we feel tired and make different choices like cancelling a night out for early bath and bed – would our stress levels change?

What if we addressed WHY we have trouble sleeping and not find more sleeping aids or ways to distract ourselves before bedtime?

What if we read the master blog on Sleep from this website and applied what was presented – would that see our stress levels drop?

What if consistently making choices to support our sleep knocks out the lack of Focus problem, which the list above says is a sign of too much stress?

What if the common sense blogs on this website are presenting Another Way to deal with our personal stress?

Common Google Searches on Stress

  • Is stress bad for your health
  • Is stress causing hair loss
  • Is stress common
  • Is stress eating real (20)

Let us stop here and ponder on what we are up to on our Google searches.

We want to know because hair loss is important to how we look.

We want to know if stress is the cause of all that eating we do, so we can Blame the stress and not be accountable for why we eat what we Eat.

We want to know if others have got what we got – in other words, if it is common.
Then what? – Do we think it’s not just us, others are suffering so that makes it ok?

OR do we dig deep, pull out the stops and do what it takes to make changes?

WE KNOW stress is bad for our health but we would like Google to search and tell us that is not true, so we can carry on ‘business as usual’.

What if we can always find what we are looking for – in other words, if we seek the vibration of Irresponsibility, then bingo there is plenty out there to confirm that back to us and who better than our friend Google.

If we Google in future The Real Truth about Stress and we genuinely and sincerely want the real raw uncut truth, then chances are we will find Simple Living Global.

Link Between Nutrition and Stress

Sufficient Calories are needed to provide energy for coping with the stresses of life. (9)

If we just stop here and re-read this one line – what is this telling us?

Does this mean that for us to cope with stress in our life, we need the energy from food?Does this mean we need more energy because stress inside us is not a natural thing?
Does this mean there is a direct correlation between what we eat and our level of stress?Does this mean some of us do not have the calories needed during times of stress?
Does this mean the pressures of stress and our coping tools may add to even more stress?

The TATT feeling (tired at all time) is generally the result of skipping meals, going on crash diets or simply under-eating due to the pressure of daily life.
Walter Schafer (1996) (9)

The amount of calories required varies from person to person, according to body size and activity, but it is essential to have a balanced diet that will supply us with sufficient calories. If this is not done, the body is automatically placed in a stressful situation and will engage with the stress response, without being in a conscious stressful situation.

Over-consumption of calories results in us being overweight – when calorie intake exceeds energy output, the result will be weight gain. Being overweight increases the chances of Cancer, Diabetes and Heart problems and these in turn become sources of stress.

Being overweight undermines self-esteem, especially in our appearance conscious culture. This problem is intensified when we repeatedly try to lose weight and this becomes a major stressor in our lives. Excess weight decreases the energy available for daily living and coping, placing even more stress on the person. (9)

Irregular and inconsistent eating habits lead to health problems.

So stress can make us forget to eat or overeat or eat the wrong types of food that our body needs.

This will lead to health problems and there is plenty here being presenting confirming what can happen when we are stressed.

Isn’t all this stressful in itself, let alone the original stress that we started off with?

Pressurised people living with the tensions of daily living place their bodily functioning under extreme physical stress, if they do not eat regularly.

Regular mealtimes should be established so that the body becomes accustomed to the ebbs and flows of blood sugar – rising after the consumption of a meal and then gradually falling after eating. (9)

If we do not respect the rhythms of the body, a strain is placed on the system.

Over the past 20 years, a great deal of research has been done, which indicates that the way in which we minimise stress, maintain good health and live longer is related to the way we live, every day of our lives.

On that note – Simple Living Global will publish a blog with practical real life tips for daily living that will reduce stress levels – taken from their Back to Basics Program.

 If the body does not know when it is going to get the food it needs, this becomes an important source of physical stress. Very often we are totally oblivious to this being a stressor. (9)

How many of us can relate to this?

We forget to eat, are too busy, the kids need sorting out, work demands, taking care of elderly parents and the list goes on…

Have we stopped to think this is a physical stress to the body and actually ADDS to the stress we already have about all the other stuff going on in our life?

If we do not eat regularly, the only way the blood sugar level is raised for energy is by the release of glycogen from the liver.

This process is controlled by Adrenaline, which is released from the adrenal glands.

This results in us getting irritable and argumentative, because with the production of the ‘fight or flight’ chemical in the body, we are getting ready to fight.

How interesting is this – please re-read again.

Have we ever joined the dots and considered the ratty crabby mode we get into because we are irritated about something and then we argue about nonsense – all because it comes from our choices of not eating healthy and regularly, because of some kind of stress that we have?

The other way to stimulate the production of Adrenaline is to take a dose of the drug called Caffeine. We get tired in the late afternoon when the blood sugar levels are low and crave a cup of Coffee.

The caffeine raises the production of Adrenaline, which controls the release of glycogen from the liver. As the blood sugar level rises, energy is released.

HELLO HELLO

Time for a real stop and pause here.
Make a note – Coffee and Caffeine blogs well worth reading on this website.

So we have a legal drug called Coffee or Cigarettes and/or we get our Caffeine from energy drinks, Chocolate, Diet pills and other prescription drugs then bingo, we have a process going on inside us that keeps us going.

In other words, a false way of being.

How many of us know this and what if we taught this in schools from a young age?

Would we be able to raise the new generations without artificial stimulations?

Could this be the future adult population one day – living in a natural way by honouring and respecting the body?

A balanced diet is essential for the maintenance of health.
The body needs water, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins.

Be aware of empty calorie foods that are high in calories, but low in nutrients like cakes, cookies, pastries, biscuits, sweets, chips, crisps, soft drinks, ice-cream etc.

These foodstuffs are full of sugar and fat and satisfy hunger without satisfying bodily needs. (9)

Eating or consuming too much of specific substances increases stress levels, because the body has to cope with an overload. The most damaging are excess fat in diets, especially animal fats, a contributing factor in the high rate of cardiovascular diseases. Equally damaging is the high proportion of saturated fats in our diets.

Excess cholesterol also increases the risk of Heart disease.

High amounts of refined sugar are found in soft drinks, ice cream, Chocolate, cakes etc.

What would happen if we had no sugar in our diet?
Have we ever considered that sugar harms our body?
Would it highlight the real state of energy we are in?
Would we be able to stay awake for long without it?

The blood sugar levels alternate between highs and lows.

With the high ingestion of high-sugar foods, the glucose in the bloodstream rises very quickly but the glucose just as quickly elicits the secretion of insulin, which then brings the energy and emotion down. This results in the up and down of mood swings. There is no harmony or calm in the person, which then translates into a stressor.

High salt consumption increases chances of High Blood Pressure with resultant Hypertension.

Hypersensitive people are more likely to have sharp increases of blood pressure when challenged by stressors that place them at risk.

Excess Alcohol consumption is another obvious stress-nutrition link. (9)

Inadequate vitamins and minerals can contribute to –

Anxiety
Insomnia
Irritability
Loss of energy

Vitamin B is used in the construction of Adrenaline, which helps us adapt to stress.
Adrenaline and Cortisol help us to respond to an emergency by channelling the body’s energy towards the ‘fight or flight’ response, by improving oxygen and glucose supply to the muscles and generating mental and physical energy. (9)

Circulation of Cortisol functions turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response. (5)

During a stress reaction the blood thickens to help wounds to heal.

This is exactly what happens in modern daily life – for example you open a bank statement to find you are overdrawn or you have a near-miss accident in fast moving traffic.

How have we got to the point where a real stress situation like a car crash is happening inside our body with modern daily life stuff?

So can we say that our every day life is like a car crash, because our body is responding like it is?

Imagine the stress our body is under if it has to prepare and live in this way for days, weeks, months and years on end.

Can we join the dots and see why Sleep is such a big issue for many?
Are we really surprised then with the rise in Kidney and Heart disease?
Can we see how the onset of Diabetes may be coming from our lifestyle choices?

Could it be possible that the foods we choose may not give us the vitamins and minerals our body needs?

Could it be possible that taking vitamin supplements may not work, as the body under stress cannot absorb them?

Are these Questions worth considering?

Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Cigarettes have exactly the same effect, as these products contain Caffeine, theobromine and nicotine, which stimulate the release of Adrenaline.

This instant energy surge has a downside.

The body then slows down digestion, repair and maintenance so as to have sufficient energy for dealing with stress. Therefore, prolonged stress is associated with speeding up the ageing process, a number of diseases of the digestive system and with hormone imbalances.

This then increases the risk of upsetting the thyroid balance, which results in a slowing down of the body’s metabolism, resulting in weight gain, upsetting the calcium balance, which results in arthritis and having problems associated with sex hormone imbalances.

There are long-term side effects of prolonged stress because any body system that is over-stimulated will eventually under-function.

Hello

Important to take note of –

To deal with our stress the body cannot do any repairs or maintenance.

Think about a Car that is told to continue working and driving us from A to B, but no maintenance or repair goes on even if we crash it.

If we join the dots can we see how no amount of plastic surgery or latest diet is going to slow down our ageing process because we are speeding up the process with our lifestyle choices that are creating the stress?

Have we ever associated and made the link that our stress may be behind the digestive problems we experience?

Are drugs the answer for the long-term when it comes to our hormone imbalances?

What if we were educated that there is a correlation with the stress levels we live under constantly and why we now have arthritis which comes from a thyroid imbalance?

How many of us are not even sure what the job of the thyroid is?

How many of us have studied the anatomy and physiology of the human body but have never joined the dots with real life stress-full living?

For production of Adrenaline, Vitamins B3 (niacin), B12 and C are needed.

Cortisol, which is also a natural anti-inflammatory substance, cannot be produced without enough B5. Our need for all these nutrients, along with those needed for energy production such as Vitamins B and C, goes up with prolonged stress. (9)

Stress Linked to Reduced Brain Volume and Poorer Memory

A new study published in the journal Neurology finds that people with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol have subtle reductions in brain volume. They also appear to have slight reductions in their performance on memory tests.

The study was carried out by researchers from –

Harvard Medical School | National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute | Boston University School of Medicine | University of California, Davis, Sacramento | UT Health, San Antonio.

Data used from Framingham Heart Study, which has been following participants and their offspring since the 1940s. They focused on participants who were middle-aged and healthy – none had any signs of cognitive decline. The participants’ cortisol levels were measured and correlated with their performance on tests of memory and cognition as well as their brain volume via MRI.

Findings show that people who fell into the highest third of cortisol level had reduced volume in the frontal and occipital lobes of the brain. They also showed changes to the white matter – the tracks of connections between neurons, which might signal poorer connectivity.

People with higher cortisol levels also performed worse on memory tests like copying a shape that was presented to them or being asked to recall a story after a 20 minute break. (21)

USA

More Americans Suffering from Stress, Anxiety and Depression

8.3 million adults suffer from serious psychological distress (16)

Stress and Anxiety-Related Disorders

40 million Americans live with some type of Anxiety disorder.

Stress and Anxiety that occur frequently or seem out of proportion to the stressor may be signs of an Anxiety disorder.

Those who suffer with this disorder may feel anxious and stressed on a daily basis and for prolonged periods of time. These disorders include the following:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
A common anxiety disorder characterised by uncontrollable worrying
Worrying about bad things happening to them or their loved ones
Other times they may not be able to identify any source of worry

Panic Disorder
Condition that causes panic attacks
Moments of extreme fear – accompanied by pounding Heart | shortness of breath | fear of impending doom (4)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety disorder cause by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

They may also have sleeping problems, such as insomnia and find concentrating difficult. (22)

Social Phobia
Condition that causes intense feelings of anxiety in situations that involve interacting with others.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Condition that causes repetitive thoughts and the compulsion to complete certain ritual actions. (4)

2017 – American Psychological Association

Most Common Sources of Stress

63%    Future of our nation
62%    Money
61%    Work
57%    Political climate
51%    Violence crime (8)

So here we have a statistic from one nation confirming more than half have stress about the future of their country.

Could this all be a general stress, as we are living in a society that is stressfull by nature?

It is us as individuals who have decided how our society should be.

How hateful has our society become?
How much conflict and opposition do we have in society?
What about this freedom of speech where anything goes?

Where is the Human Decency, Moral Compass, Respect and Integrity in our society?

Where is the Responsibility at an individual level, before we cast out any more Blame?

Where is the Accountability on a microcosm level, which then affects the macrocosm – our world?

2014

77% regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress
76% money and work as leading cause of stress
73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress
48% feel their stress increased over past five years
48% lying awake at night due to stress
33% feel they are living with extreme stress

54% stress caused fights with people close to them
48% stress has negative impact on personal and professional life
35% jobs interfering with family or personal time as significant source stress
31% employed adults have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities
26% alienated from friend or family member because of stress

$300 billion annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work

 30% always or often under stress at work

People who cited physical symptoms experienced the following:

51%    Fatigue
44%    Headache
34%    Upset stomach
30%    Muscle tension
23%    Change appetite
17%    Teeth grinding

People who cited psychological symptoms experienced the following:

50%    Irritability or anger
45%    Feeling nervous
45%    Lack of energy
35%    Feeling to cry (8)

What are the statistics today as these are from 2014?

WHY is work and money a stress factor for the majority?
WHY is stress on the increase in our so-called modern world?
WHY have we become masters at fixing things with Solutions?

WHY are we not asking Questions to get to the root cause of any problem?

If we are the most Intelligent1 species on earth, how come we haven’t worked all this out yet?

In other words, why is illness and disease on the rise throughout our world today?

Could it be possible that our policymakers and those in positions of power have stress in their own life and that means they have a blind spot when it comes to advising and telling the world what to do?

A Mother’s Stress Can Affect Baby’s Brain Development

A mother’s stress levels directly impact the brain development of babies in-utero – specifically that her stress can change the neural connectivity of her unborn baby’s brain.

Researchers at Wayne University, Detroit used fetal imaging to examine fetuses between the 30th and 37th week of gestation in women from high-stress urban setting, many of whom reported high levels of anxiety, Depression, worry and stress.

They found that in the mothers who reported high stress, their fetuses showed a reduced efficiency in how their neural functional systems are organised.

This suggests that the brains of these fetuses don’t develop in a simple sequence i.e. vision, motor but in a more complicated system that could compromise the baby’s stress responses. (23)

If we simply consider the title in the above section – are we bringing through new generations that will be born with a nervous tension – the state we feel in our body, when we have stress in our life?

Is there a Responsibility for a woman to be aware and find out what is creating her stress because this could affect the new born baby?

Does it suit our lifestyle to wait for more new research, before we take this stuff seriously and so it continues and we stay unaware until things get more serious?

Our Stress Is Contagious

Study conducted by the University of Calgary found that stress can be contagious.

Published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers examined pairs of sibling mice, one of which was exposed to stress while the other was relaxing in a cage and found that once reunited, the chemical stress signal was transferred to the non-stressed mouse.

“The neurons that control the brain’s response to stress showed changes in unstressed partners that were identical to those we measured in the stressed mice”.
Toni-Lee Sterley – Lead Study Author and Postdoctoral Scholar

What we can begin to think about is whether other people’s experiences or stresses may be changing us in a way that we don’t fully understand.
Jaideep Bains – study co-author and Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology (23)

CANADA 

23% over age 15 report most days ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’.
30% among the 35 – 54 age group.

1 in 4 cite stress as reason for leaving job.

73% all working adults aged 20 – 64 report some level of stress.

Work is the leading cause of stress among the population. (23)

UK

Mental Health Statistics: Stress

2018 Study

4,619 respondents – online poll undertaken by YouGov
Largest known study of stress levels in UK

 74% people felt so stressed | overwhelmed | unable to cope

2018 LARGEST KNOWN STUDY OF STRESS LEVELS IN THE UK (24)

WHY is nothing working, because this statistic tells us the majority feel stressed?

WHY are we all accepting stress as part of everyday life and not asking Questions?

Could it be possible that running our bodies in a false way (on stress alert) means our energy levels are depleted and so we are actually exhausted?

Could it be possible that not doing anything about it means the exhaustion gets buried and we keep going as that’s what everyone does?

Could it be possible that sleeping aids will not sort out our undetected exhaustion, which has now turned into overwhelm?

Could it be possible that we feel overwhelmed in certain areas of our lives because the underlying cause of how it got to this point has never been considered?

Could it be possible that the overwhelm continues until we get to the stage where we feel we simply cannot cope?

Is it at this ‘cannot cope’ stage in our life that we check out, with the millions of distractions our world has to offer us, all the while never addressing our stress?

Are there any Real Role Models out there who do not operate with stress in their daily life and do actually reflect vitality levels that are possible for all of us?

Do these people have any advice or tips they could give us from their real life lived experience that could help us?

Would the world and its brothers benefit from those who are living Another Way that works and the proof is visible – they are slowing down the ageing process?

Behavioural Effects

46%    ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress

29%    started drinking alcohol or increased drinking

16%    started smoking or increased their smoking

Psychological Effects

61%    who felt stressed reported feeling anxious

51%    adults due to stress feeling depressed

Those who felt stress at some point in their life –

37%    adults feeling lonely as a result of stress
32%    suicidal thoughts
16%    self-harmed

Causes of Stress

60%    age 18 – 24 have higher stress levels related to the pressure to succeed.

49%    age 18 – 24 who experienced high levels of stress, felt comparison to others was a source of stress – higher than any other age group.

36% of all adults who reported stress in the previous year cited either their own or a friend/relative’s long-term health condition as a factor. This rose to 44% over age 55.

36%    women high level stress related this to their comfort with appearance and body image.

32%    age 18 – 24 cited housing worries as a key source of stress.

22%    cited debt as a stressor.

12%    of those with high levels of stress, felt need respond to messages instantly was stressor. (24)

The news is telling us now that loneliness is on the rise.

Have we ever thought that adults feel lonely as a result of stress?

The pressure to succeed and the effects of comparison are having a huge effect on our youth?

Have we realised that these people will one day be the older generations?
If Our World Was a Business, knowing this fact – would we invest in it?

The above section confirms we are living in a society that is stressfull by nature.
ADD to that our own personal stress and we have a whole world stressed out.

NHS – Whole Team on Anti-Depressants Because of Stress

I have been doing the job for 15 years and been on anti-depressants since 2001.
I could not do my job without anti-depressants.
Every one of us are on anti-depressants because of
the stress of the job | the busyness | pressure | lack of perceived support
Cancer specialist senior nurse

100% increase in prescriptions for anti-depressants in past decade.

60 million anti-depressant prescriptions made in England each year. (25)

Dear World – this is serious

A whole hospital team taking anti-depressants because of stress at work.

Have we considered the quality that comes through us if we are taking anti-depressants long term?

Who do we Blame and where is this all going to end?

Do we Question WHY are our nurses using medication because of stress?

Are there more factors here that we need to consider outside of the job?

How do the anti-depressants keep a body going in these circumstances?

WHY is a National Health Service not addressing this 911 issue with staff?

What is the real state of a nation where 60 million take anti-depressants?

Could we start by simply saying SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

Police to Meditate to Ease Stress of the Job 

Stress is a serious problem for the police

10,000 police officers took time off sick with stress or anxiety over past year. (26)

Student Exam Stress

Universities must do more to tackle growing number of students turning to ‘smart drugs’ to cope with exam stress leading academics have said.

Smart drugs, known as nootropics are a group of prescription drugs used to improve concentration, memory and mental stamina during periods of study.

Most commonly used are – Modafinil | Ritalin | Adderall
These substances are normally used to treat disorders like ADHD and Narcolepsy

Growth of smart drugs over past five years is well documented, in particular with top institutions.

15.6% students knowingly took Modafinil or another drug without prescription – 2016 survey.
Majority university students believe it is normal to use drugs to enhance academic performance.

230,000 UK students have tried to enhance their cognitive performance with prescription drugs, Alcohol or illegal Drugs at least once.

Some students claimed to have faked ADHD symptoms to be prescribed Ritalin or Adderall.

Non-prescription sale of Noopept, a white powder which the makers claim enhances cognitive ability was banned in the UK under the Psychoactive Substances Act.
However, there are British websites who appear to be actively selling this substance.

Drugs shipped to the UK doubles during exam time according to website selling Modafinil.

Taking Modafinil or some variant for essays and exams because my own work rate has been fairly pathetic without it, so it has been vital for me in completing my dissertation and other big projects at university. I do know people who work very hard anyway but take it for the non-stop work they have to do for degrees like medicine.
Student from Leeds, UK (27)

What if this is not new news because students taking Drugs and Alcohol at universities has been known for a long time?

With the Internet being the bridge to suppliers, it is worth noting that they would not be in business if there was no demand.

So how are our students at university choosing to live and study?

These young people are supposedly the Intelligent1 ones who will go on and get better jobs, yet something here is telling us they are not intelligent.

What is the intelligence that drives someone to take drugs to get through essays and exams because of the pressure?

Do we need to look at the whole – the bigger picture here and stop championing only those who are academic and seemingly have all the answers?

What if common sense and wisdom from those members of the general public who have these qualities is worth listening to?

Are we ready to challenge the current intelligence of today or do we all just accept things as they are, even though we know SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT?

Stress of Perfectionism

Young people are excessively stressed out these days.
Study published in December 2017 in the journal Psychology Bulletin.

33% sharp increase in two types of perfectionism among college students in Canada, UK, USA.

1. self-oriented or having high expectations of self

2. other-oriented where rigorous standards for others

In acute forms, researchers say the stress of perfectionism can lead to –
Eating Disorders | High Blood Pressure | Depression | thoughts of Suicide

“The younger generation feels a lot more stress today than they did in the past
There are worries about being educated and not being able to find a job
Concerns about cost of living and debt causing them to live with parents longer
All this translates to more stress

70% of mental health problems are onset in younger years”
Katy Kamkar – Clinical Psychologist -Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (23)

The advent of technology adds another layer to young people’s stress, experts say.
It makes them more susceptible to cyberbullying and affects their ability to Focus and relax.

“A lot of young people are having difficulty maintaining their attention span because they are always looking to see what is coming through on Social Media.

There is research about how children who are constantly looking at their phones and who are being bombarded with this information are structurally changing their brain.

It is creating a background noise that prevents them from relaxing and being more mindful.
And that in turn, makes them feel stressed.”
Dr. Richard Amaral – Registered Psychologist, Markham, Ontario, Canada (23)

WHY are our younger generations feeling more stressed?

If 70% of mental health problems come from our younger years, would it be a sound investment for our world to educate every young child about stress and what it does to our mind and body?

Could it be possible that our Youth2 of today are growing up with the digital age of technology and this comes with the pressures, perfectionism, comparison and jealousy, the very nature in which it is all designed to do?

For further reading – visit our blog called Perfect Life.

PHILIPPINES

Mental health experts in the Philippines have voiced alarm about the number of young people committing Suicide.

At least 6 individuals commit suicide every day in the predominantly Catholic country of more than 100 million people.

The common trigger for suicides is stress
Dr. Cornelio Banaag Jr
President of the Philippine Mental Health Association (28)

Manila, Philippines is among the top 10 most stressful cities in the world. (29)

INDIA

50% teenagers believe smoking cigarettes cuts stress and makes them appear ‘cool’ among their peers.

52% believe smoking helps increase concentration levels.

Survey with 1900 teenagers from –
Delhi | Mumbai | Bengaluru | Chandigarh | Jaipur | Kolkata | Chennai (30)

AUSTRALIA

75% admitted stresses in their lives adversely effected their physical health.
64% said it effected their mental health.

“Sometimes people are hesitant to acknowledge their mental health is effected by stress.
In fact, people often say that stress effects them physically more than mentally.”
Mehna Alacozy, WayAhead – Mental Health Association, New South Wales, Australia

Financial concerns largest contributor to stress over past few years.
45% of participants saying it was their primary concern.
58% felt pressure to afford basic food and necessities causing undue stress.

How are this nation dealing with their stress –

86% watch TV and movies

81% spend time with loved ones

Other coping mechanisms are:
Focusing on the positives | listening to music | reading | eating | adjusting expectations

51% do not seek help for stress (31)

GLOBAL

Apart from work related stress, global finding revealed that stress can also arise from financial insecurity. (32)

The top 10 most stressful cities are

Baghdad, Iraq | Kabul, Afghanistan | Lagos, Nigeria | Dakar, Senegal | Cairo, Egypt | Tehran, Iran | Dhaka, Bangladesh | Karachi, Pakistan | New Delhi, India | Manila, Philippines

The study analysed 500 locations worldwide based on these factors:

Pollution | traffic levels | public transport | percentage of green spaces | financial status of citizens including debt levels | physical and Mental Health | hours of sunlight per year (29)

Stress Management

Cambridge Dictionary

 A method of limiting stress and its effects by learning ways of behaving and thinking that reduce it. (33)

Thriving Under Pressure

Thriving under pressure is a challenge that can occur in many circumstances and today at any age. The only thing we are sure of in life is change. It is often the changing environment that results in stressful situations, which the ordinary man on the street has to cope with. These stressful situations are often out of our control.

Stress management therefore implies more than relaxing or escaping in order to avoid pressure. It means being all that we can, reaching our full potential, not only surviving but thriving, even under the most difficult circumstances.

Why some people thrive under pressure and stress while others cannot manage

Certain people can thrive under pressure and stress while others cannot manage. Thriving under pressure is a challenge and it can occur in many circumstances. Our world is becoming more competitive and less predictable with technology evolving faster than our bodies can keep up with it all. Being equipped mentally and physically to thrive under pressure and stress requires a body that has vitality. This would mean that the life force energy, so to speak is at optimum level. (9)

A person who is taking care of themselves makes choices that support their body, for example:

  • Building a strong Sleep rhythm
  • Eating foods that nourish and support their body
  • Avoiding stimulants like Caffeine
  • Not using Alcohol to alter their natural state
  • Cutting out sugar so there is no exhaustion
  • Regular exercise
  • Daily Stop moments to breathe and reflect
  • Expressing how they feel and not holding back
  • Being Gentle and caring towards self

All the above means the body is deeply cared for and this means that the care can be supportive in all relationships with family, friends and work colleagues. With this in place as a Foundation, the body is equipped to deal with what is ahead of it, in terms of chronic pressure or stress. Allowing time and space to support the body first and foremost means any difficult challenge is going to be felt and seen as a positive opportunity to learn and evolve. If the body is not suffering from exhaustion and is living at the optimum level of true health and well-being, then self-confidence is going to be there.

The daily commitment to self-care means there will be a Commitment to Life in general and this means that stressfull situations that others cannot manage, would not be an issue, as the willingness to get on with the task and give it our best is easier, as our body has the resources to deal with it.

Self-worth and self-confidence come naturally when the body is not feeling exhausted and the mind has clarity. This means that reactions to any event are be seen as something that is possible to deal with and there is no threat or thought that we cannot manage with the pressure or stress that is being presented.

Those of us who cannot manage, are perhaps not addressing the stressors and are not making choices to take care and support our bodies with the “conditioning” that Schafer and Gard (1986) describe, referring to regular exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and sleeping habits. (9)

Without the fundamental core support that our bodies need, if the above are not in place, then we will find it difficult and challenging to thrive under pressure and stress.

Not managing then comes from the state of our being and what choices we are making consistently to either support our body or not.

So if we have a stressor and we are not coping, is it possible that we need to look at how we are living and make some lifestyle changes, review our coping strategies and make new choices that could support us to thrive under stress and pressure?

How many of us are aware that whatever it is that we choose to repeat, becomes our Foundation?

So if we have stress in our lives on a daily basis, it confirms that we have a foundation of stress. This means we will seek more of the same as this is what we want, because it is familiar.

Could it be possible our world is set up in a way that stress feels normal to have?

Could it be possible we have ideals, beliefs, expectations and pictures in our head of a life we want, that is far removed from the reality we actually live?

Could it be possible we feel trapped in our body because we don’t like the choices we make every single day, but seek nothing true that will make real and lasting changes?

Would it be true to say we like to Blame anything and everyone for giving us the stress, but not once take any Responsibility that our choices have created everything that is happening to us?

At no point do we ask WHY on earth would we want a foundation of stress every day because it makes no sense.

We all know stress drains us to the point of exhaustion and it leaves us in a state of anxiousness and nervous tension. It affects our Sleep, our eating habits, makes us edgy and irritable and the list goes on and on…

Then we go to find a Solution so that we can continue to function and get through the day, the week, the month and the years ahead.

We seek out the latest stress-busting book, app or whatever we hear about to fill up our minds to deal with this stress business.

What if1 nothing will stop us until the incident | accident | illness | dis-ease happens and our body says “listen up mate, enough of your wayward behaviour, it is affecting me, so I am putting a stop to it now.”

What if2 we are so driven to move in this ill way of being that stress becomes the dominate force that runs our lives?

In other words, we continue on the wrong track because it’s familiar and we feel it forces us to continue, even though it is very harmfull.

What if we create the stress because without it we would have to feel the real and true state of our body and we just won’t go there?

What if stress is our choice of medicine because it keeps us ticking?

In other words, we need stress in our lives and we seek it because it fuels us up to keep going, even though it is an un-natural way of living.

That means we use stress like a drug but it is not something we would associate as an addictive substance.

After reading this – who on earth would actually want stress as part of their foundation for life?

It makes no sense, yet the reality tells us we do want stress.

What if stress means something different for each and every individual and what that means is in our body?

In other words, there is not one formula or one set of symptoms when it comes to stress, as we all have individual bodies responding and reacting in different ways.

The goal of stress management is not to eliminate the stress response but to determine and control individual optimal stress levels. This means where stress will work for a person and not work against them.

 Two stages of effective management of stress are:

a. Awareness – this is where we need to identify the stressors and stress reactions. We must be aware that the stress is present and what attributes in our character may be the cause of stress and the need to know the ways that the stress can be managed. This awareness means we need to know what is happening around us, to us and within us.

b. Control and manage the stress levels and the stressors. This is the stage where change is required to be able to do this and the motivator for change is self-acceptance. (9)

This means accepting where we are at because of our choices and the result of all our life’s experiences. Whilst change is always possible in any given moment, it is important to know that it does not happen instantly.

Learning to accept our self, no matter where we are at in life, without the need to be critical or Judgmental is the first step towards bringing about real change in our lives.

The key is to acknowledge that the Responsibility for change begins with us and regardless of what the stressors are, there is no Blame on any other person or thing, knowing that we can make the difference by making new choices.

This stage can be deeply self-empowering.

What would happen if we were taught this at school at elementary level?
In other words, learning about awareness and understanding how we can foster and grow even more awareness by our choices and make changes by our every move.

Five techniques that are effective in an individual’s stress management plan are:

Relaxation Techniques
Creating moments of Stop and making this part of our daily routine is very effective in reducing stress, as it simply means the body is not in motion all of the time, but being offered the space to do nothing and just take some deep breaths. (9)

Learning a meditation like the Universal Medicine Gentle Breath Meditation https://www.universalmedicine.co.uk/services/free-audio-library/gentle-breath-meditation, which allows us to breathe correctly and begins to still our body inside, is again another useful technique that can quieten the mind and bring about some clarity.

The benefits of a relaxation technique are:

  1. Heart rate slows down and breathing is calmer and efficient
  2. Reduction in muscle tension
  3. Stress response is minimised as the body no longer needs to produce stress hormones
  4. Blood pressure goes down
  5. The hypothalamus of the brain causes the pituitary gland and the Involuntary Nervous System to bring about changes; brain waves become slower and deeper
  6. Breathing slows or becomes shallower as less oxygen is needed
  7. Sweating decreases markedly (9)

Health, Diet and Sleep Strategies
Paying attention to our diet will inevitably lead to the lowering of stress levels, if stimulants like Caffeine and Alcohol are not used or foods that are high in fat and sugar content. Eating times can be adjusted to allow for more quality during sleep time and having a winding down routine before bedtime can also be supportive. The wind down time could include writing down what is causing the stress, listing any reactions or feelings and what changes can be made to support us.

General health can be improved if the sleep time is early and regular.
There is a greater possibility to make lasting changes when we get a simple understanding.

On that note, Simple Living Global has presented more on Sleep with the blog called 9 o’clock hoover because the time we actually go to sleep is super important, yet very few adhere to this.

Lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress because people are exhausted from inadequate rest and sleep. This exhaustion, which may be due to physical stress or prolonged emotional stress leads to restlessness and an inability to have quality sleep to regenerate the body. There are many studies to confirm that when we are tired and exhausted, we are not able to cope either physically, mentally or on an emotional level and this makes us irritable and depressed.

Sleep is essential for our health and well-being and normal functioning. Sleep deprivation studies confirm that with lack of sleep, people become more incompetent, hallucinate and exhibit bizarre behaviour. There is also evidence, which states that the body repairs and growth takes place during sleep time. During sleep, the metabolic rate is lower and the brainwave activity considerably slows down. (9)

This all confirms that the body needs adequate sleep which offers a time of stillness, so that the waking time is more productive and has a quality that supports stress resistance.

The following three guidelines may be useful for us when going to sleep:

  • Establish a wind down routine for going to bed. This will condition the body and mind and support the quality of sleep
  • Avoid any stimulants like Caffeine, Alcohol, sugar and Cigarettes prior to going to bed Using herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile induces restful sleep
  • Movement supports a deeper sleep and there are studies to confirm that regular exercise can help our sleep

Role of Exercise

Our body benefits from general exercise and even a daily walk makes a difference. Movement in the body supports it and can be a way to move tension and bring in the natural mood enhancers, which are released by the brain during exercise.

There are many studies showing that gentle exercising can support stress levels. The key here is commitment and consistency and then the benefits can be felt. Going for a walk and reflecting on what is going on during our day and how we honestly feel, can be of great benefit in supporting us to manage stress.

Health Bosses Propose ‘Walking Meetings’ to Reduce Office Stress

Public Health England Chief Executive called for employers to introduce ‘walking meetings’ to reduce stress, back and neck pain in the workforce. (34)

Will this Solution work and is this the real answer?

Are those who come up with ideas walking the talk?

In other words, are they absolutely living what they want others to do?

Could true inspiration come from those who walk the talk?

In other words, when we have another reflect something that could bring about real change, they are not just giving us a theory, an idea or a belief – they are living something that works and we can, on some level feel that vibration.

Improving physical health and reducing sick days across the UK workforce is a bonus.

15% reduce risk of early death – taking one brisk 10 minute walk
40% lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes
35% Cardiovascular Disease
30% Dementia
20% some Cancers (34)

The following are three benefits of exercise on the body:

  • Using exercise to strengthen the cardiovascular system
  • Regular, sustained exercise reduces High Blood Pressure and contributes to keeping it at normal levels
  • Consistent regular exercise reduces the levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood and helps decrease the risk of heart attack and strokes (9)

Time Management
There is a direct correlation with stress and time and many of us who say we are stressed also feel like we do not have the time and it is a self-perpetuating cycle. By applying an early bedtime sleep routine where possible and daily walking together with some common sense diet changes, the body will not be feeling anxious and racy and so there will be less tension about getting things complete within a time frame. If the body is rested, the ability to cope with whatever is ahead will feel less stressful and planning ahead will be easier. Effective time management is when the body is not rushed and feeling like it has to catch up. Managing time is easier when the stressors and how we feel about them are nominated and a strategy is in place to deal with them.

Support and Help from Others
It is important to know that asking for help or allowing support from others is not a sign of failure or an inability to cope. We all have different qualities, strengths and different ways of viewing and coping with life and receiving help allows us to maybe see another way, provided we remain open. We can get professional help from those who are trained or specialise in the area we need and this could be of great benefit and bring in another dimension, that we may not have considered ourselves. Support and help from others can be a very effective technique in an individual’s stress management plan.

Stress at the Workplace

What is a Healthy Job?

A healthy job is likely to be one where the pressures on employees are appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work and to the support they received from people who matter to them.

Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a positive state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
World Health Organization 1986 (35)

A healthy work environment is one in which staff have made health and health promotion a Priority and part of their working lives.

It also includes –
Continuous assessment of risks to health | the provision of appropriate information | training on health issues | the availability of health promoting organisational support and structures

What is Work-Related Stress?

Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope. (35)

WHY are we simply not able to respond to the work demands and pressures?

Could it be possible that our lifestyle choices have led to an overwhelm that we can feel well before we get to work and then the pressures of work just adds to that?

Could we learn something here about WHY we have stress in the workplace?

Could it be possible that the office politics, bullying and jealousy in the workplace adds to our existing stress levels?

Could it be possible that we see no purpose in our jobs because we have Given Up on life as things are stress-full?

Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances, but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues as well as little control over work processes.

There is often confusion between pressure or challenge and stress and sometimes it is used to excuse bad management practice.

Pressure at the workplace is unavoidable due to the demands of the contemporary work environment.

Pressure perceived as acceptable by an individual may even keep workers alert, motivated, able to work and learn, depending on the available resources and personal characteristics. However, when that pressure becomes excessive or otherwise unmanageable, it leads to stress. Stress can damage an employees’ health and the business performance.

Work-related stress can be caused by
Poor work organisation – the way we design jobs and work systems | the way we manage them | Poor management | unsatisfactory working conditions | lack of support from colleagues and supervisors

Research findings show that the most stressful type of work is that which values excessive demands and pressures that are not matched to workers’ knowledge and abilities, where there is little opportunity to exercise any choice or control and where there is little support from others. (35)

So this tells us that we value excessive demands and pressures in the workplace.
How crazy is that and why are we subscribing to this way of working?

How many of us are living a life that is ‘security based’?
In other words, we accept what is expected of us, even if it amounts to abuse in our body, because we need the job security to have the life we want.

How many of us see no way out and look for ways to distract ourselves from the very ill we feel about the whole work life in-balance?

Employees are less likely to experience work-related stress when

  • Demands and pressures of work are matched to their knowledge and abilities
  • Control can be exercised over their work and the way they do it
  • Support is received from supervisors and colleagues
  • Participation in decisions that concern their jobs is provided (35)

The perceived repercussions of experiencing consistent high stress levels in the work situation are a decline in work performance, productivity and it is also a contributory factor to individual and family crises. Mood-altering substances are used daily by employers and employees to escape their stressful environments.

Substance abuse workers, including those who inappropriately use Alcohol are stated as being absent sixteen times more often that their co-workers.

If moderate alcohol consumption in the work environment increases, it is envisaged that the proportion of heavy drinking will be responsible for an increase in sickness absence, which might be quite significant in a large work force.

 It is evidence such as this which is motivating employers to increasingly move from a “sickness” based approach aimed at chronic heavy drinkers to a range of policies and programmes aimed at the “whole health” of the workforce. (9)

We all know it goes on and there seems to be a strong correlation between high earners and high demands and pressures that go with the job.

How productive are we really in Truth, if we have high stress levels and use substances to keep going at work?

Why are systems in our workplace not designed to have consistent high quality standards that employees need to adhere to?

In other words, why are organisations not valuing the True Health and Well-Being of all staff equally and doing what it takes to educate and bring about real change so the business can evolve naturally without tension, pressure and demands?

12 years of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq have created a generation of veterans more prone to mental illness.

Army medical staff say the number of troops suffering problems such as PTSD will increase in the coming years. Studies are unclear about the scale of this issue.

Treatment is made more difficult because symptoms can emerge years after people have left the Armed Forces and tried to settle back into civilian life.

£114 million cost to taxpayer among veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life with Alcoholism, Drugs and Mental Health problems.

2012 – more veterans killed themselves than died in combat operations in Afghanistan.
BBC Panorama Investigation (36)

Forces ‘Battling with Alcohol Abuse’

Britain’s armed forces are locked in a battle against alcohol abuse.

Ministry of Defence released figures to show 1,215 military personnel sought medical help for drinking problems in the last year:
321 linked to Navy
731 Army
163 RAF

2017 study
1 in 50 service personnel were at ‘high risk’ from alcohol-associated illnesses.
Metro – 22 October 2018

What are Stress-Related Hazards at Work?

Stress related hazards at work can be divided into the following 2 categories

Work Contents includes –

Job Content – monotony | under-stimulation | meaningless of tasks | lack of variety

Work Load and Work Pace – too much or too little to do | work under time pressure

Working Hours – strict or inflexible | long and unsocial | unpredictable | badly designed shift systems

Participation and Control – lack of participation in decision-making | lack of control over work processes | pace | hours | methods | the work environment

Work Context includes –

Career Development and Status and Pay – job insecurities | lack of promotion opportunities | under or over promotion | work of ‘low social value’ | piece rate payment schemes | unclear or unfair performance evaluation systems | being over or under skilled for a job

Role in the Organisation – unclear role | conflicting roles

Interpersonal Relationships – inadequate inconsiderate or unsupportive supervision | poor relationships with colleagues | bullying harassment and violence | isolated or solitary work

Organisational Culture – poor communication | poor leadership | lack of behavioural rule | lack of clarity about organisational objectives | structures and strategies

Work Life Balance – conflicting demands of work and home | lack of support for domestic problems at work | lack of support for work problems at home | lack of organisational rules and policies to support work-life balance (35)

UK

Work-Related Stress, Depression or Anxiety 

526,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety

12.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety

STRESS, Depression or Anxiety by Cause averaged 2009/10 – 2011/12

  • 44% workload
  • 21% other
  • 14% lack of support
  • 13% violence, bullying or threats
  • 8% changes at work

Higher than average rates of stress, depression or anxiety in –
Education | Public Administration and Defence | Human Health | Social Work Activities (37)

5.2 billion – annual cost of work related stress, anxiety and depression in Britain (38)

Stress is estimated to account for 80% of all visits to GPs (9)

This staggering statistic is telling us loud and clear SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

With ALL the intelligence in the world today, why have we not sorted this out yet?

GPs cannot cope and are simply under too much pressure to give the time, care and quality needed for patients because more and more of us are getting Sick.

If the annual cost to one small country is £5.2 billion – would it be a wise move to address stress and get to the root cause of why we have it, what brings it on and how we nail it – in other words knock it out and lock in a Foundation that does not allow stress to hang around inside our body.

Could we start education for all, including very young children and advise them how stress affects the body and support them to value True Health and Well-Being?

Sick Notes for Stress and Anxiety

14% rise in fit notes (new name for sick notes) for anxiety and stress-related conditions between 2015-16 and 2016-17 (39)

Stress – Major Issue for Europe’s Workers

Stress is currently the second most frequently reported health problem among European workers
according to the findings by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

60% of all lost working days can be attributed to work-related stress and psychosocial risks.

9 year study
28% workers reported exposure to psychosocial risks that affected their mental wellbeing.

Psychosocial risk factors in the workplace include –
Psychological support | clear leadership | recognition and reward | management of workloads | respect

If any of these are lacking, it can have a major impact on the Mental Health of workers.

The business place also suffers as a result of –
Poorer work quality | increased absenteeism | increased accident and injury rates

Absences that arise as a result of psychosocial risks tend to run longer than absences caused by other factors. (40)

Research has shown work-related stress may contribute to increased rates of early retirement, particularly white-collar workers.

The estimates of the cost to businesses run into billions.
The goal of any employer should be to ensure that workplace activities are not unduly adding to the issues facing any employee or group of employees. It makes clear business sense.
Patricia Murray – Occupational Therapist, Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (40)

The Health and Safety Authority insisted that even with limited resources, psychosocial risks can be assessed and managed in small organisations in a cost-effective manner. Any costs involved outweigh the costs of dealing with the consequences of stress and psychosocial risks.

It pointed out that if a good psychosocial work environment is created, workers and managers are better able to deal with any difficult situations that may arise. Psychological expertise is usually only required in exceptional circumstances.

The Health and Safety Authority recommendations to employers:

  • No employee workload should be so high that they constantly have to work overtime
  • No employee should be at the receiving end of harassment or degrading behaviour from colleagues or managers. Everyone in the workplace should treat others with respect and courtesy, even if they do not get along.
  • No employee should have to work in an environment which is unsafe and in which they have a reason to be worried about accidents
  • Everyone should know what their core job is
  • Employees should be appropriately trained so they can do their jobs properly
  • There should be a fair system of reward in place across the business (40)

A question to those who are employed –

Are our employers really and truly operating with these recommendations from the Health and Safety Authority?

Would it be wise for our scholars to do a research study to confirm how much of this is actually applied at all levels and consistently reviewed for the benefit of all?

After musculoskeletal disorders, work-related stress is the most frequently reported work-related health problem.

50% of all employees consider stress to be endemic in their place of work.

50 – 60% of all lost working days can be attributed to work-related stress.

Stress-related absences tend to be longer than those arising from other causes.

28% European employees reported exposure to psychosocial risks that affected their mental well-being over a 9 year period.

€240,000,000,000 per year total costs of Mental Health disorders both work and non-work related.

€136 billion due to lost productivity including sick leave and absenteeism.

42% white collar workers in Austria take early retirement – psychosocial disorders main reason. (41)

2013 poll conducted by EU – OSHA
most common causes of work-related stress cited were:

72% job reorganization or job insecurity
66% working long hours or excessive workload
59% being bullied or harassed at work
57% lack of support to fulfill role from colleagues or superiors
52% lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities
46% limited opportunity to manage own work patterns (42)

What if our exhaustion that goes un-noticed is behind absenteeism rising?
In other words, we are not Committed to Life2 because we can feel on some level that how we are choosing to live is not the Truth.

Deep down we know that, but we cannot be bothered living what we know is true.
So then we withdraw from life and that means being absent from work and the responsibilities that come with the job.

Could it be possible this Giving-Up-Ness does not allow for a true connection to our purpose and being absent at work confirms that?

Could it be possible that we Hold On to our buried hurts and this then means we start to mis-trust others whilst at the same time withdraw from life?

Could it be possible that our lack of commitment to life has something to do with the Depression that we feel?

Could it be possible that the pictures in our head of how we imagine life should be, is no-where near what we have right now and so the gap causes the depression?

FRANCE 

25% workers in a state of “hyperstress”.

52% employees experiencing high level anxiety.

Main cause of high level stress is work.

2 major causes of stress were –
Having to deal with a lot of complex information and lack of time.

Key reasons why workers are so stressed –
Lack of autonomy | uncertainty about the future of jobs | feeling useless | being obliged to adapt constantly

Having to be in contact with rude people or having people at work who enjoy making others suffer also contributed to levels of “hyperstress”.

3 million close to burnout – 2014 survey of workers concluded.

23.5% farmers most prone to excessive work
19.6% business owners and managers

‘The all-consuming nature of people’s jobs has left them feeling exhausted, emotionally empty and sometimes physically in pain.’

Hyperstress 

Hyperstress is defined as psychological strain people often feel when they perceive themselves as being overwhelmed by work.

When a person feels pushed beyond the limits of what they can handle, whether it is caused by an excessively high workload, unreasonable deadlines or working too long and too hard.

This can lead to a short temper, as well as induced or increased anxiety and/or depression, which can lead to problems in a person’s personal life. (43)

Stress and Burnout

Stress and burnout have become an increasing and often-discussed phenomenon over the last decade.

Burnout syndrome still lacks a proper and concise definition.

Exact figures and prevalence on a nationwide scale are rare and surveys on occupational stress/burnout depend heavily on methodology and the surveyed demographic.

Common symptoms of burnout include:

Feeling drained of physical and emotional energy | a feeling of achieving less | feeling of not getting what we want out of work (44)

USA

$190,000,000,000
Annual Healthcare Costs due to Workplace Stress (45)

30% workers report high levels of stress at work.

40% workers say jobs are very stressful.

26% say “often burned out or stressed” by their work. (46)

Most stressful jobs include –

Enlisted military personnel | firefighter | airline pilot (44)

Stress during the workday can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices at dinnertime but there could be a buffer to this harmful pattern.

A good night’s sleep can serve as a protecting factor between job stress and unhealthy eating in the evening.

Michigan State University study published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology is one of the first to investigate how psychological experiences at work shape eating behaviours.

We found that employees who have stressful workday tend to bring their negative feelings from the workplace to the dinner table as manifested in eating more than usual and opting for more Junk Food instead of healthy food.

However, another key finding showed how Sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work. When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experience stress the next day.”
Chu-Hsiang Daisy Chang – MSU Associate Professor of Psychology and Study Co-Author (47)

The research involved two studies in China.

One study with information-technology employees who regularly experience high workload and felt there was never enough time in the workday.

The second study involved call-centre workers who often got stressed from having to deal with rude and demanding customers.

“Both cases – workday stress was linked to employees’ negative mood while on the job, which in turn was linked to unhealthy eating in the evening.

Eating is sometimes used as an activity to relieve and regulate one’s negative mood because individuals instinctually avoid aversive feelings and approach desire feelings.
Unhealthy eating can also be a consequence of diminished self-control.
When feeling stressed out by work, individuals usually experience inadequacy in exerting effective control over their cognitions and behaviours to be aligned with personal goals and social norms.”
Yihao Liu – co author Assistant Professor, University of Illinois (47)

“A good night’s sleep can make workers replenished and feel vigorous again, which may make them better able to deal with stress at work the next day and less vulnerable to unhealthy eating.”
Chu-Hsiang Daisy Chang – MSU Associate Professor of Psychology and study co-author (47)

To address the problem companies should emphasise the importance of health management for their employees and consider sleep-awareness training and flexible schedule.

JAPAN 

Job hunt stressing students, making them suicidal

20% consider Suicide amid tight race to secure career

Tormented by the difficulty of landing a position and unfair practices by prospective employers, 1 in 5 college students contemplate suicide during the job-hunting process.

Tokyo based group conducted 2 surveys on the stress associated with job hunt.

80% felt strong sense of anxiety during their job search

adding to their stress is often unfair treatment by companies.

Some firms secretly gave more opportunities to students from certain high-ranking universities.

“These problems lead to greater issues after they get jobs.
They have a strong sense of distrust of society to begin with, which leads them to think they must have full-time employment to defend themselves. When they are able to become full-time employees, right out of college, they feel as if they must put with anything to hold onto that job. And others who could not get full-time employment are driven to think they are worthless.”
Yasuyuki Shimizu – Lifelink founder – non profit group Tokyo (48)

Karoshi involves employees committing suicide or suffering from Heart failure and stroke because of long work hours.

The Japanese federal government has taken steps to reduce karoshi cases but experts fear the measures do not go far enough.

Since late 1970’s this word has been used to describe people dying from spending too much time in the office. The literal translation is “death by overwork.”

July 2013
159 hours overtime in one month logged before dying of heart failure. Female journalist age 31.
October 2017 – her death was announced as karoshi.

The karoshi concept can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II.

1950’s – Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida made rebuilding Japan’s economy top priority.
Major corporations enlisted to offer employees lifelong job security, requesting workers repay them with loyalty.

Within a decade workers began committing suicide and suffering strokes or heart failure from the enormous burdens of stress and sleep deprivation.

Initially the ailment was known as “occupational sudden death” as the fatalities were primarily job-related. In their quest to make good impressions on their bosses, workers began putting their undying loyalty to the ultimate test.

10,000 workers survey
20% of people worked at least 80 hours overtime

Karoshi cases used to affect the majority-male force and now women also suffer the consequences of staying committed to a job.

Today Japan’s economy is third largest in the world, mainly because of Yoshida’s efforts. (49)

Hello

Can we really say the pact has worked if within a decade we had the signs that
SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

It is not uncommon for young employees to work long hours.
Bosses expect young employees still working their way up the corporate ladder to arrive early and leave late, often well into the night.

Example – 31 year old salesman starts 8am and leaves midnight. Sees his wife only at weekends.

Advancement is earned through back-breaking effort.
People seldom leave jobs because finding a new one means starting from scratch and not at the level they just left.

The result is an entire generation of workers desperate to seem devoted to their work.

Premium Friday Plan – workers get the chance to leave 3pm last Friday of each month.
This federal government program has not been successful. Many companies are organising monthly finances and aiming to hit sales targets at the end of the month. Having a shorter day has only made people busier.

Other companies have tried to minimise karoshi cases by offering breakfast to those arriving early, dissuading them from staying too late. Others have let workers take more time off as needed. (49)

SINGAPORE

60% staff experience above average stress levels

44% local employers identified stress as number one health issue

27% employers take action to reduce work-related stress

53% employers believe their well-being initiative programs have encouraged staff to live healthier lifestyles but only 34% employees had the same sentiment.

40% employers revealed they do not have an established health and well-being strategy today.

60% employees using technology to manage their own health

45% use wearables to monitor Sleep or fitness activity

37% use technology to monitor a health condition

34% use technology to track eating habits (32)

HONG KONG

2018 – 1 in 3 suffer from stress, anxiety or depression

3,177 young people survey
6 – 24 age group

Questions asked about their mental health, sleep, exercise habits and time spent online.

31% suffered from mild to extremely severe stress.

 38.7% had moderate to extreme anxiety.

30% had moderate to extreme depression.

18.4 hours on average participants spend online per week. (50)

In one of my previous jobs with another newspaper, I had to work a back-to-back shift from 10am to 2am and could only leave after the paper had been sent to the printers.
That lasted more than six months. Eventually I became so ill, I had to take more than a year off work.
I often hear people talk about their work in terms of quantity, not quality, by comparing with each other the long hours they put in. Some wear their overworking as a badge of honour.
They want others to know they have long working days because they have lots of responsibilities which, in their minds, signify their important role in their company.
Luisa Tam – Journalist, South China Morning Post (51)

AUSTRALIA 

A third of corporate Australia is feeling stressed, anxious or depressed.

Biggest Mental Health Check-In program
3,500 employees data used
41 organisations from a range of industries
100 profiling questions
Heart rate data using wearable devices during Sleep

44% females use self-criticism as a primary stress response.

Men keep it hidden, regulating emotions and managing stress internally.
They appear okay until they are not okay and less likely to seek social support.
Trying to problem solve alone are hallmarks of corporate males. (52)

NEW ZEALAND

60% are stressed at least once a week.

Financial and work-related stress issues stressing out younger kiwis.
Older population more likely to be stressed out about health.

28.6% of businesses reporting employee stress levels on the rise.
Wellness in the Workplace survey – 2015 (53)

“If your workforce is becoming increasingly stressed, businesses need to put wellness practices in place to mitigate this. Not only does stress bring down productivity and engagement at work, it also tends to lead to health issues in the long run.

Practices can include things like flexible hours | technology that allows staff to work from home | health checks | immunisations | bringing in experts to coach staff on topics like financial literacy and resiliency

The advantages for business are significant. Such programmes often result in higher levels of staff satisfaction, increased loyalty and importantly reduced stress.

But there is no one-size-fits-all programme for how to best support staff. It is important for employers to talk to their workforce about their issues and then put a plan in place that’s relevant.”
Peter Tynan – CEO Southern Cross Health Society (53)

Employee Assistance Programs

Employee Assistance Programs came from the USA and were originally from the OAP – Occupational Alcohol Programs but due to the stigma attached, they became known as Employee Assistance Programs. The first users in the UK were UK subsidiaries of US Corporations and in the past few years, Employee Assistance Programs have grown. They were used for companies where safety was of paramount importance, like the oil industry; to keep employees sharp and functioning well without any Alcohol or Drug problem.

Today the criterion for presenting, or being referred to an Employee Assistance Program counsellor is any problem that an employee feels and considers to have a potential negative impact on their job performance.

An Employee Assistance Program might be defined as “the means by which good practice in employee health and welfare is pursued and encouraged throughout the workplace”.

This might be viewed as a dynamic and flexible means of addressing a range of work performance issues. By being relatively informal and not impacting on job-security, the programme can be readily adapted to meet changing needs and issues.

Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment. This needs to be translated into policies, which focus not only on the avoidance of Alcohol and other mood-altering substances, but equally on stress reduction.

The application of the policy should be Universal and must apply to all employees equally – that means from the shop floor to the boardroom members of staff.

Companies routinely use alcohol to promote bonding among employees and when aggressiveness to push products with sales staff is not enough. Alcohol is used as a dis-inhibitor to promote competition.

Employees might resort to the use of cocaine and Amphetamines in the work environment to maintain work beyond normal fatigue. It can also help to achieve an altered state to transport the employee away from the routine and any repetitive activity at hand.

The cognitive signs of substance abuse are –

  • Forgetfulness
  • Procrastination
  • Poor judgement leading to errors
  • Inability to concentrate or comprehend

The given indicators of deteriorating work performance are:

  • absenteeism
  • accidents
  • decrease in output over a period
  • interpersonal problems

The alternatives that a company has to implementing an Employee Assistance Program are to

  1. Ignore them
  2. When their work and or attendance becomes problematic, to dismiss them

The commercial advantages are:

  • Less lateness, absenteeism, unreliability
  • Fewer accidents
  • Better work performance by the employee who has benefited from the programme
  • Less damage and waste
  • Savings on costs of recruiting and training replacements

What is seen as being the ultimate concern of an Employee Assistance Program, is the training of staff at all levels of management and shop stewards, to recognise the signs of deteriorating job performance.

The counsellor’s aim in training supervisors should be to recognise signs of possible problems, ensuring it is in the context of performance on the job. The other area that should be covered is to offer advice about how to confront employees about decline in job performance.

The key influences on the development of Employee Assistance Programs, which have contributed to their success are:

  1. Commitment from the top
  2. Planned Development
  3. Effective Marketing
  4. Maintenance of a Data System
  5. An Ethos which places Care and Welfare before Productivity (9)

The essential components to creating and maintaining an effective Employee Assistance Program are:

Policies and Procedure
There needs to be a mandate established from the top level of an organisation for the Employee Assistance Program and for the employee to be assured that confidentiality will be strictly adhered to at all times.

In addition, procedures will be established so employees can refer themselves to the Employee Assistance Program.

Administration Functions
The Employee Assistance Program must hold a position of authority in the organisation to ensure support and involvement from senior management and union.
Access to employee’s medical insurance.
To be protected against malpractice and liability claims.

Education and Training
Bringing awareness to employees and their families of the Employee Assistance Program’s availability and services.
Educate employees about substance abuse and other problem areas.
Ensure management and union promote the use of the Employee Assistance Program.

An educational and awareness programme, which should be addressed to all employees, is an extremely important element in successfully establishing an Employee Assistance Program. The aim is to present the Employee Assistance Program and its facilities and benefits, to explain the company policy and describe the assistance available to the employee or family member who is experiencing problems.

Union representatives should be consulted and briefed about the proposed presentation and the objective of it explained to them. This is because the interest and involvement of the unions can support staff and have a great bearing on the success of an Employee Assistance Program.

Financial benefits should be measured by a periodic review of the program, to provide an objective report of its operation and performance. In addition to this, any Employee Assistance Program staff should also be evaluated on a regular basis.

The pertinent areas that should be explored by the counsellor during the assessment are:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Legal
  • Social Interactions
  • Personality
  • Cognitive Functions (9)

Dear World

This presentation is the Real Truth about Stress

Enough has been said in blue for us all to consider Another Way.

We have a choice – continue seeking knowledge to find suitable truths.

OR we can start now and Question how this modern day plague called stress has been created by us in our own personal lives and how it has contributed to a society that is stress-full by nature.

Could it be possible that our stress levels will drop when we bring back –

Decency | Respect | Integrity | Responsibility | Accountability

Our world is all of us and that means we each have our part to play.

Written by Bina Pattel
Stress Consultant – Corporate & Professional Stress Management – Level 3 Distinction
Community Mental Health & Psychiatry – Level 4 Award
Depression Management – Level 3 Distinction
Advanced Psychotherapy – Level 4 Distinction
Advanced Psychology by Examination – Grade B


If you are feeling suicidal, contact your GP for support or the Suicide Helplines.

In a crisis contact your emergency services.

UK – Samaritans available 24 hours
Tel: 116 123

Childline – for children and young people
Tel: 0800 1111

USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Tel:  1-800-273-8255

Other Countries
Check International Association for Suicide Prevention Resources on Crisis Centers
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres


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Comments 6

  1. This is a university dissertation, but full of not just facts and stats but lived wisdom. Perhaps what is written here needs to be studied in its entirety, as if we are honest, we have not got a handle on stress and how to deal with it, but the author of this piece has.

    There have been many things that have been an eye opener in reading this and I will address each one as I place a comment on here, but today I will start with what is going on in the physical body as I never knew that all of this is taking place, when we feel stressed. A great trigger for a heart attack, if we live in that constant fight or flight state, which most of us do.

    Now I understand why we seek things like sugar and caffeine, as if we are living with that internal edge going on we will seek substances to distract us from the way our body feels; if we are not willing to ask the questions needed to understand why we are feeling stressed and make changes to our lifestyle.

    A super educational piece of writing that I will return to again and again, both on a personal and professional standpoint.

  2. Has anyone heard of the fact that a toy company is promoting the use of their toy for women to reduce stress by using building blocks?

    This is not the first as just a few years ago I remember seeing a plethora of colouring books designed for adults as a way to deal with stress and as part of ‘mindfulness’. The interesting thing about this is that I can relate to all of it.

    In my late twenties/early thirties, I went through a phase where I was buying games – board games. I never ended up playing them, but there was a longing in me to relive my childhood as I played a lot of board games then and it was a way to connect with family members as that’s when we spent time together. So when things in my life were getting difficult as an adult or ‘challenging’ as they say, I would long to escape to things like board games again.

    Are these types of activities for adults, really going ‘back to basics’ as they are called?

    Is there more going on here as to why adult toy spending has increased?

    Can these activities really be called hands on ‘real world’ activities?

    For me this longing and fantasy never helped me at all to grow up. It just kept me in my head and away from the responsibilities of life and of being a woman. I am now 40 and with support, I have now dealt with many of these childhood issues and I no longer have that same longing for escapism.

    It seems that we are always looking for ways to reduce stress and I heard someone talking in an office just recently saying that there is a place that people can go to – a room that has items in that can be smashed up with baseballs; an opportunity and a ‘safe’ environment for people to let out any anger and frustrations.

    Do we ever ask what happens to these emotions afterwards?

    Is it possible that they have not gone?

    Is it possible that places like this are just providing relief, until the next time these pent up emotions resurface?

    Is there really any difference between this and punching someone?

    Is this an effective way to deal with stress?

  3. Thank you for this amazing blog which is a thoroughly exhaustive study of the phenomenon of stress.

    Whilst reading the blog, I found myself pausing to appreciate how far I have come in recent years in reducing stress in my life. I am not stress free, but I suffer from stress far less than I used to.

    I attribute this general reduction in stress to the fact that I am much more in my body, more frequently consciously present when engaged in tasks and far less in my head than I used to be.

    I used to live in my head a great deal where an incessant negative mental dialogue continued unabated for the majority of the time. I would react to all these negative thoughts and thus the negative chatter would be perpetuated and my stress would steadily escalate with each negative thought and negative reaction.

    Conscious presence is having the mind with the body as the body does something and, these days, I am consciously present when engaged in the activity of the day much more than I have ever been before.

    When I maintain conscious presence during a task, my focus is the task in hand and there is little room for the negative, and stress-generating, negative dialogue that used to plague my days.

    I learnt about the value and the how-to of conscious presence from the author of this blog.

    I will forever remain appreciative of the author for introducing me to a way of consciously being and doing which has reduced both the negative mental activity and the stress that I experience in life.

  4. I can relate to this most amazing blog. Up until 8 years ago, I spent most of my life living with Stress and Depression.

    My body went into shut down mode because of this. Hence my chronic thyroid condition at the time. My stress was created by me and no one else. Though at the time I did not think so. I blamed everything and everyone. It was easy to do this as I did not want to face my problems.

    With the support of Simple Living Global, I started to take Responsibility for the stress I created and started to take care of me. Going to bed early, eating healthy and stopped smoking and drinking. And most of all being honest with myself that I had issues I needed to deal with (I was good at stuffing my feelings down).

    I would say it took 2 years to start to feel myself again. My thyroid conditon has reversed and most of all I no longer feel stressed or depressed.

  5. I can relate to what you say here Shevon. I had many hobbies as a child and into my teens. Looking back now they were most certainly a form of escapism for me given the trauma I grew up in.

    As I moved into my adult phase I swapped my hobbies for more destructive things such as alcohol and smoking. What I would say from then on my Anxiety and Depression really ramped up. And this went on for 20 years, until my wake up call was falling very ill with a Thyroid conditon.

    This blog most definitely presents the REAL TRUTH about Stress and something the world should take note of.

  6. China Daily – 12 January 2018

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2018-01/12/content_35487432.htm

    Work stress in Hong Kong is often said to be more intense than in other places, sometimes with deadly consequences.

    The long working hours and the high demand for results are said to be worse at banks, law firms and consulting firms and the long hours far exceeds those of other major cities.

    The working hours in any given day can stretch long into the night.

    The average weekly working hours in Hong Kong from 15 professions are 50.11.

    Working hours in Paris average 30.84 hours per week (the shortest work week among all cities).

    There are no laws in Hong Kong to define or identify work stress and no authority to manage it.

    “…Your body just cannot deal with these working hours and workloads…”
    Au Yeung Kwok-Leung – Hong Kong based psychiatrist

    Reading this and then reading what Luisa Tam has shared above, writing in South China Morning Post about her experience in journalism, it tells us that this stress problem is a big deal and is causing loss of lives.

    What if there is another way to live and deal with work and day to day life that means we do not have to drive ourselves into the ground?

    What if we do not have to make work everything and that there is more to each one of us that is far greater than the job that we do?

    What if there is something distinct that each one of us are bringing to our work, because of who we are and our unique skills and talents and this is more important than any target, job status or performance?

    What if we actually put the care and well-being of our employees at the top of our organisations’ agenda? What would happen then? Are we ready to make well-being key instead of paying lip service to it?

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