Defining Psychological Stress

Stress is not as easy to define that you may think. Perhaps, the most common definition that you could get is that it is an event or situation, which forces a person to adapt to the event. Needless to say, stress is an event itself as well as a reaction to the event that has undergone through it. What may stress a person may bring fun to another. For example, some people have fear of elevated areas, whereas other people might find it exciting.

psychological stress

A girl undergoing psychological stress

Psychological stress is said to be more with how you turn off of the body’s stress responses to a situation.

The first’s reaction of the body for stress is to increase the flow of hormones adrenaline and cortisol in the bloodstream.   This can be compared to raising the heart rate, redirecting blood from the extremities and stomach to the vital organs, changing the consistency of blood for potential injury and making our senses  awarer.

This can be compared to a charge in a battery. The body charges pumps up like a high voltage battery ready to be use.  Charging the battery without discharging all the electricity left will cause an overload; thus an explosion will soon follow. Simply put, the body cannot handle too much adrenaline and will cause some heart problems in the future.

Some researchers believe that psychological stress comes from a real event that used to disturbed a person. This might lead for the patient to suffer from a split personality.  As the event retreat into the past other sentiments within the persons psyche anxiety and stress tend to increase.  As a result, the person might think that he/she isn’t attractive to the opposite sex.

However, all the issues mentioned above are just in the mind of the person. Overtime, the body thinks that it is in some form of stress, therefore, reacting to it.  If this could not be treated early, this might lead to health problems.

The best way to deal with the problem is through counseling because there is nothing that the person can do to change the event. Counseling makes the person allows the person to accept the initial stressful event and rationalize the subsequent stress inducing thoughts.  However, with psychological, a person has a hard time recognizing psychological stress.  That is why group session is the best way to help these people.

5 Causes of Work-Related Stress

Stress in the workplace should not be tolerated as several problems might arise – for both the employer and employee. Often, an employee under stress is unproductive because he/she has to divert his/her energy between his/her work and the problem.

work related stress

People who experience work-related stress are unproductive

There are several causes of stress in the workplace and all of them are going to be addressed in this article. Here are the common stressors in a workplace:

#1 High Workload

Some employers create unrealistic deadline, which might frustrates the employee and sometimes it could lead to health problems for the employee.  Sadly, workloads are real as more employers try to cut cost by reducing the number of employees they have to pay.  The employees are now under pressure as they are forced to do more than what they can do.

# 2 Unclear guidelines

The relationship of an employee with his/her employer must have a good direction and communication as it is a sign of good management and lessen the frustration. If the employee didn’t know what to do then they may think of finding another company that would give clearer guidelines.

The employer must update his worker about the progress of their work.  Not providing any feedback can cause stress as the employee keeps wondering what is happening with the company.

In laymen’s term poor communication creates stress in the workplace.  Aside from lack of communication, too much communication in the form of instructions or requests (without enough time to keep up with projects) can also alleviate job stress and frustration.

# 3 Work does not suit for the employee

Someone who is not happy with his/her job get stress much faster compared to others who enjoys their work. Getting the job done at the right time is difficult because he/she never enjoys his/her job.  On the contrary, someone who enjoys his/her job would never a have a hard time fulfilling his/her job.

# 4 Workplace conflict

An employee who has a problem with his office mate or employer might have a hard time to fulfill his job.  The employee will be distracted from his work as he will lend some time to the problem.  Someone who gets harassed or put down can’t work as efficiently as other s that are not in the same situation.

# 5 Poor job security

Some employers try to cut cost and reduce the number of their employees.  This practice is detrimental for the employee as it creates poor job security. The employee is always stress since he/she knows that he/she can lose his/her job anytime.  The situation is a tough contributor to workplace related stress.

3 Benefits of living a Stress Free Lifestyle

Stress has several ways to affect your life. When you are stressed, it is harder to sleep because you worry too much on many things. As you wake up, you might suffer from headache. That is why there is the need to live a stress free life.

stress free life

Living a stress free life offers you several benefits

When you eliminated stress in your life, you would enjoy your time more with your family or friends.  It will be easier to get a good night rest as you don’t have anything to bother you anymore.

Don’t think that eliminating stress in your life will be a walk in the part.  This is going to be a tough battle there are many things that may be the cause for you to be stressed.  However, once you get rid of anything that causes you some stress, here are a few things that you could expect from living a stress free life.

  1. You can easily come up with a solution to your daily problems.
  2. You’ll feel like a whole new person as you won’t have to bother dealing with any physical pain.  Physical pain is sometime associated with being stressed.
  3. It would be easier for you to lose weight as you won’t be overeating.  Some people eat more than their body needs because they feel stressed.

Anything that happens in your life has a reason, and that is to strengthen us and help us become a better person.  Don’t let stress put you down as you can relieve yourself from stress if you exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.  Thinking more about your problems will not help you find any solution and will just stress you.

When you are living a stress free life, you feel that the world smiles with you all the time.  Life gets easier if you had ridden yourself of anything that stresses you.

The link between Stress and Hair Loss

Stress is how the body response to outside stressor like environment condition or whatever might affect the body in a bad way. If you are under stressed, your brain releases stress hormones. The body produces too much energy that it causes an imbalance in the body system.

stress and hair loss

Is there really a connection between hair loss and stress?

Can stress lead to hair loss?  YES

There are three kinds of hair loss that can be activated by stress.

  1. The first type occurs when they don’t grow anymore, after two months you would see them falling down from your hair.  There is no need to worry as the hair grows back after seven months since the first time that you suffer from falling hair.  This type of hair loss is known as Telogen effluvium. Telogen effluviom occurs when there are emotional or physical stresses present in your environment.  The hair goes into hiatus for some time.
  2. The second kind of hair loss has something to do with excessive stress. The term for this type is alopecia areata.  It occurs when hair can fall out in patches or fall out completely. This happens when white blood cells attack the hair follicles, stopping hair growth and causes hair loss.
  3. The third form is known as Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania occurs when you pull out the hair from your scalp, eyebrows or even other parts of your body.  The urge to pull the hair may come from several reasons, such as coping with stress, tension, anxiety, loneliness, frustration or fatigue.

As stated on this article; stress is one of the many factors that contribute to hair loss.  The positive side of losing hair because of stress is that you know that it will grow back.  All you have to do is keep your stress level under control, and your hair will soon go back to the way it was.

Stress is easy to control as you just need to change your lifestyle and anything that stresses you will go away.  There are times that you cannot do it on your own.  This is the time for which you need to seek the help of a specialist.  The specialist will help you manage your stress level.

Mindfulness Theraphy can treat people with PTSD

Post traumatic stress is the result of recent military conflicts happening between territories. Both side doesn’t have any intention of giving up their territory, so an intense battle occurs. Sadly for the soldiers that they become the first victim of war and this has resulted to post-traumatic stress disorder among returning soldiers. Fortunately, a new study suggests that mindfulness-based group treatment plan can reduce symptoms post-traumatic stress disorder.

mindfulness therapy

People undergoing mindfulness therapy

Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System believed that the eight-week mindfulness-based group treatment plan was even more effective than any conventional treatment.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT is a combination of cognitive therapy and the meditative approach of mindfulness, which stresses a rise in awareness of all thoughts and emotions.  Meditation, stretching, and acceptance of thoughts and emotions are some examples of mindfulness exercises.

Earlier studies have proven by using stress reduction classes that include mindfulness meditation as their treatment, people with a history of trauma exposure were able to overcome their bad experiences.

The current study is the first of its kind to focus on the effect of mindfulness-based psychotherapy for PTSD with veterans in a PTSD clinic.

Older people in the mindfulness treatment groups were part of the in-class exercises such as mindful eating, wherein they concentrate on feeling of linked with eating very slowly and “body scanning,”.  Body scanning is an exercise where patients concentrate on the physical sensations in their body, paying special attention to pain and tension.

Additional therapeutic activities included mindful movement and stretching, and mindfulness meditations, wherein any thought or feeling that may cause distractions were not taken lightly, but rather carefully recognized and observed.

The participants were told to perform mindful exercises even while they are in the comfort of their home.  They also got instructed to do it during the day while doing their regular activity like walking, eating, and even showering.

After eight long weeks of treatment, around 73 percent of patients belonging in the mindfulness group showed some improvement compared to 33 percent in the treatment-as-usual groups.

King believes that the mindfulness group was successful since they avoid several symptoms.

Mindfulness therapy is about sustaining thoughts and memories, even those that are not pleasant.

Mindfulness techniques also give highlight to positive experiences and nonjudgmental acceptance to one’s thoughts and emotions.

Researchers discovered that patients belonging to the mindfulness group experienced a decrease in feelings of self-blame and a trend toward reduced perception of the world as a dangerous place.

Researchers noted that even though that the new study seems promising, additional studies are still needed to finally understand the benefits of mindfulness intervention.

Stress-Free Planning Skills

1. Faulty delegation (either too much or too little) spreads stress faster than an outbreak of flu in an office. If you are in charge, it is your job to know how much you are going to do yourself and how much is going to be delegated while the goal is being achieved. Once delegated, how much supervision, if any, are you going to give to the people to whom tasks have been delegated? What is their responsibility; what’s yours? One responsibility is inevitably yours: you must ensure that the programme is on time and is running smoothly.

2. Keep a diary. A good measure of stress is to go through a diary for the last few weeks, working out how often appointments have had to be moved, cancelled or cut short because the diary has become over-filled. Make certain your diary commitments are attainable. One of the greatest business tycoons of the century told me, and showed me the proof that confirmed this, that he never did more than four hours work in a day. Another successful company chief executive asked me to spend a day with him. I was astounded. He went into the office before anyone else and nosed around for an hour and a half. Later he met with all his departmental heads to get a feel of how their departments were performing, gave his opinions and orders and then left for the day. He reappeared in the late afternoon to see how well his commands had been carried out, and where adjustments would be needed. He and his secretary dealt with his own correspondence, he saw anyone who had any problems, then he went home for an early gin and tonic. He was the first British vice-president of this particular international organization ever to become the overall chief executive in America. Diaries must always be left with enough spare space so that there is time to cope with the unexpected. Avoiding stress is often the ability to leave time for what Prime Minister Harold Macmillan called ‘events, events, events’.

3. Take time off. Not just an hour or two, but give yourself a treat occasionally. Take a day away from the office. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is to please yourself. Visit the theatre if this is what you enjoy. Find anything that is different from the normal routine, but make certain that nobody can trouble you and that you are answerable to no one – family, colleagues or friends.

4. Develop patience. One of the advantages of national service was that the army taught you to curb impatience and to wait without feeling irritation. The same lesson is essential for budding politicians, or for anyone who hopes to command. As a backbencher once said to me, parodying the title of an old film while we were waiting interminably for a minister and filling in the time with a gin and tonic or two, ‘We also serve who only drink and wait.’ Better than filling in time by drinking gin is to use it gainfully. Carry a book with you and take every opportunity to read it.

 

How To Relieve Stress with Exercise

Exercise – brisk, steady and regular – is an antedote to stress. The best exercises are those provided by brisk walking and cycling. Swimming is also a good exercise, provided that people know the conditions of their hearts. Doctors don’t like to think about the number of patients they have had over the years who have died because they have dived into ice-cold water. However, if a person’s heart is known to be in reasonable order and their blood pressure controlled, then swimming is an excellent exercise.

Even so, some caution must be observed. Older people or those with a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or any other condition that might have compromised the coronary circulation are well-advised to climb down slowly into the pool. Everyone knows that when they have a cold shower, there is an involuntary in-drawing of breath. This is because the autonomic nervous system has caused the smooth muscle in the air passages to constrict. At the instigation of cold, the coronary arteries may also behave like the air passages and contract. The result is that, for a moment, the blood supply to the heart muscle may be restricted, or the sudden changes in the heart circulation may cause a fatty plaque within the artery to rupture. In the worst-case scenario, the debris from it may block a narrowed artery and cause a coronary thrombosis.

Some people seek relaxation and relief from the troubles of the day by attending yoga or Pilates classes. Type A personalities, of course, may find all this a bit slow, and it is unlikely that when the yoga session reaches a stage of meditation they will be able to empty their minds enough to be only conscious of the sun or the noises of nature. Even so, yoga can be very useful as a form of stress-relief and control.

In contrast, violent exercise is never recommended. Running marathons or jogging may provide friends and fun, together with some funds for charity, but they are not life-lengthening. Likewise, that veteran rugby for the middle-aged is an entertaining way of ensuring osteoarthritic joints ten years down the line. Once someone is too d for a competitive team sport, the best sort of rise is to pursue an activity that will provide a social life and regular, steady exercise.

 

How To Deal with New Job Stress

The first requirement of any new job is a well-defined chain of command and a reasonable immediate boss. Recognizing the potentially good boss is a skill that can make or break a career. The bad boss is slow to praise, quick to blame, unapproachable by those inferior to him, sycophantic to those who are more important, hides his own inability by dividing and ruling so that he never has a workforce united against him and no one quite knows where they stand. Needless to say, his insecurity is such that he never delegates and undermines his own appointees. Whereas the good worker knows that he must divide his time between Hp home responsibilities and those of the organization, the bad boss expects total commitment. Not for him the kindly best wishes on a birthday, the congratulations on a daughter’s marriage or a child’s scholarship.

Conversely, the good boss worries about his staff. When I first worked as a doctor for a bank over thirty years ago, all the new employees learnt that the customers came first, the staff second and the profits for the shareholders third. Now short-termism reigns supreme. Bonuses are often the first consideration, profits the second. It is questionable whether the customers or the rank and file of the staff are the least important. The good boss will not only look after his staff but will be equally concerned about the long term-future of the firm on which the staff’s future depends. The self-centred boss will regard the firm with no more lasting interest than does a farmer fattening his stock for Christmas. Once Christmas, in the form of a financially advantageous takeover, has arrived, staff and firm may disappear like dew in the morning. This state of uncertainty created by the avaricious chief executive or chairman without human values so undermines morale that tensions and stress are inevitable.

What is death to satisfaction from any job is reporting to more than one boss, each of whom is of equal status within the organization. This causes huge stress, and inevitably the luckless person who has to do it will be drawn into departmental politics. Every day will be stressful. If the employee is in a position to leave, he or she will be well advised to do so. A few years ago, an advertising agency headhunted the boss of an almost equally distinguished public relations company to be its chief executive. There was no way he could have found out that the role of chief executive was so subservient to that of chairman that he had no power – only responsibility. He left.

Some people’s work is made untenable because they are given responsibility beyond their experience or ability. In other instances work becomes untenable because qualities and skills are not recognized and their decisions are overruled. If people either have insufficient control to do justice to their capabilities, if they are given inadequate resources, or have insufficient skills to do their jobs, they, too, should move on if they can. f¡ì Few people can be at ease with themselves if their skills are either under-utilized or overstretched. There are two other basic requirements in any appointment. Pay must be commensurate with responsibility and equal to that contemporaries employed in similar positions. It is very easy for a few months – even a year or two Bp accept low pay for a fun job. But if, after a time, the workload increases or suffers setbacks and the salary doesn’t change, then a low pay-scale will loom much more significantly.

 

How to Avoid Wedding Day Stress

Before people even start to consider the stress of marriage, there is the stress of getting married. Marriage is stressful, but no aspect of it comes close to the stress produced by the wedding and the preparations that go into it.

The first decision that needs to be made is whether the marriage is a celebration of the union of two families and for all generations, or whether it is a party for the bride and bridegroom, together with their select friends. If the latter, there will be countless old friends on both sides who will feel alienated and left out. They will cause trouble for years.

A word about families
In addition to all the other problems that surround a wedding, there are a few basic considerations that apply to all family gatherings, whether they are Christmas parties, weddings, christenings or funerals. Having similar DNA isn’t enough to ensure that everyone at the wedding will gel. Families, like any other group, are rent asunder by jealousies or animosities that would have been forgotten decades earlier if the people involved had been strangers. The reason weddings can be particularly stressful is because they are composed of a heady cocktail that is a mixture of the tensions, prejudices and ambitions of two different families.

Furthermore, all generations are, or should be, present. For this reason, no one will know everyone, and many will feel lonely and isolated. Some of the latter may drink too much, and that may add to the difficulties.

Having said this, weddings can (and should) fun. The consequences of a good wedding may ” t a lifetime, but this will occur only if the event as been well-planned. Brevity is a virtue in a wedding that is too often overlooked. The easiest weddings to organize are those at which the ceremony takes place in the late afternoon: the four-o’clock slot. The reception that follows then doubles as a pre-dinner drinks party. Dinner over, the aged are free to retire, while all those who regard weddings as a party for the bride and bridegroom can stay on and happily dance the night away.

How to Avoid Wedding Stress

1. Make a budget.
2. Decide who is going to pay for what. The days when the bride’s family paid for the lot are passing – if they haven’t already done so. Try to find a compromise acceptable to both parties.
3. Agree between the families on the type and details of the wedding. Prepare lists of potential guests, but don’t insist that these should be categorized such as ‘family only’, ‘second cousins don’t count as family’, etc.
4. As in any important lifetime event, planning is the key to success and less stress. Some of the most successful weddings I’ve attended have been planned down to the last penny and the last five minutes (if not seconds).
5. Both families need to be involved in this planning.
6. Never allow the planning and the budget to spoil the occasion on the day. A disaster or two is to be expected. Funds should have been laid aside to pay for any costs that will undoubtedly be necessary to correct these unforeseen circumstances.

 

How Stress Affects Your Digestive System

An upset nervous system is liable to affect the digestive and intestinal functions. For example, some stressed or anxious people have to go to the lavatory many times before they leave for work, but thereafter have normal bowel habits. Then there is the condition known as ‘intestinal hurry’: the result of an over-sensitized gastro-colic reflex. In lay language, this means that a heavy meal settling into the stomach – such as during a business lunch – stimulates activity throughout the length of the gastro-intestinal tract.

The more stressed and tense the person, or the more demanding the meal, the more sensitive the gastro-colic reflex becomes. This is why, when dining in a restaurant that specializes in upmarket business lunches where both business and social ions collide, you will find few tables from which the younger and less assured don’t disappear to relieve themselves before coffee. The combination of anxiety and eating is too much for their tense, stressed intestinal systems. So whether your guts are overactive or you are suffering undue sluggishness, the cause is an upset autonomic nervous system; its balance has gone. Another obvious sign of stress is the loss of appetite, and the feeling of nausea after only a few mouthfuls. This particular symptom is especially obvious when the stress is brought on by romance, en people first dine with their newly acquired or potential lover, they often lose their appetites entirely.

If you answer ‘yes’ to the following questions, may well indicate that stress is affecting your intestinal system.

1. Do you find that, when there are too many problems facing you and your peace of mind has been destroyed, your digestion is out of control?

2. Has your bowel activity ever seemed out of control first thing in the morning, but returned to normal for the rest of the day?

3. If having a business lunch, do you have to make a rush to the loo after, or even before, the coffee?

4. Conversely, have you suddenly become constipated, although your dietary habits remain unchanged?

Remember that a persistent change in bowel habit may be the first symptom of something more serious. If it lasts for more than two or three weeks, visit your doctor.

 

How Food Affects Your Stress Levels

It is often easier to change your lifestyle so that stress doesn’t occur than it is either to reduce the intensity of any reaction to the stressful life, or to change the approach to the job or home. Although the stress may still be there, it may no longer be so irritating and destructive to the metabolism and cardiovascular system. The obvious place to start in any preventative stress regime is in the realm of diet.

If taken in the wrong quantities, food and drink may not only be symptoms of stress but they may, in fact, create it. Stressed people either eat too much or too little. Those who starve themselves may have a distorted self image; they never realize consciously just how thin they are, and what damage they may be doing to themselves. If depression is a major factor of an anxiety state, the person may well lose weight. The loss of half a stone is always considered significant in medicine. Sufferers of stress-linked eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulemia may lose this amount of weight, although the latter are more likely to be slightly overweight.

Conversely, those people who are both anxious and depressed – and especially when the symptoms of anxiety and feelings of inadequacy predominate – often indulge in comfort eating. This is a vicious circle. Miserable, anxious people eat too much because they are comfort-eating, then become obsessed by food because it relieves these tensions. As the pounds pile on, their already deficient self-image is further eroded. This isn’t helped by the fact that, many times a day, those who are overweight are shown pictures of near-anorexic people who they are supposed to emulate but have obviously failed to do so.

In many overweight people, inner unhappiness: concealed beneath a veneer of joviality. This joviality may not only mask the tattered self-image, but it deflects criticism because it tends to make a joke of the person and his or her obesity. Overeating may, however, be brought on by other causes. It is often a feature of some types of depressive illness, including seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, which is triggered largely by a lack of sunlight. In the winter, a small proportion of depressed patients who are suffering from SAD overeat, just as they may oversleep – hence the similarity people notice in the condition to hibernation.

 

How Does Stress Affects Your Nervous System

Stress affects the smooth working of what is known as the autonomic (unconscious) nervous system. Everybody is aware of the nerves under their conscious command. These respond to impulses from the higher centres of the brain, and it is these impulses that control the person’s limbs, speech and all other voluntary actions.

However, most bodily functions – and the organs which carry them out, hidden away in the chest, abdomen, pelvis or skull – are not consciously controlled. Their nerve supply comes from the autonomic nervous system, which continues to work and direct the organs that are essential for life without conscious intervention. The autonomic nervous system controls the heart, the blood vessels, and thus temperature-control and such actions as blushing, breathing, the digestive system and the guts, the filling (but not usually the emptying) of the bladder, and some but not all aspects of the reproductive system. It also controls such mundane and yet essential activities as sweating and salivation.

Although this aspect of the nervous system is not under our control, its action may be determined by our state of mind. The smooth running of the autonomic nervous system reflects the amount of stress someone is suffering, so any change that produces symptoms may be a measure of the tension in someone’s life. When people are over-tense, the nervous system is disturbed. Symptoms of tension include sweating too readily, blushing too easily, and rushing to the lavatory too often. Some people may even find that, when especially anxious, their voices are rasping and their tongues are dry.

Most people will have noticed many (perhaps all) of these symptoms when they have been going through a difficult patch and are tense. The following questions allow you to check them for yourself.

1. Does your voice start to croak if your boss is especially threatening or trying, your colleagues are uncooperative, or your partner is seductive?
2. Do you sweat more readily than you would like to?
3. Does your heart race too readily?
4. Do you blush too often?
5. Can you sit throughout a cinema performance or a lunch or dinner without having to rush to the lavatory?
6. Do you feel the need to urinate even though you have just done so?
7. Do you suffer from the urgent need to urinate? This may at times be so acute, or the control of your bladder so disturbed by the effect of tension on autonomic bladder control, that when very anxious, or even very emotional, you might leak like an overexcited puppy.