The Influence of Stress
by Carolin Bruederle - Writer, Artist and Therapist
Stress influences our lives. It follows us like a shadow when we have to get up, but we don’t want to. It’s right behind us when we go to work, get in line in the supermarket, look for the last parking spot, get the bill for the last car service or find out that we’re running out of money that month. It’s next to us when we have an argument with our partner, complain about the neighbors’ nuisance or have discussions with work colleagues.
Most of us are used to stress and not even aware of its influence on our entire being.Stress has remarkable influences on body, mind and soul. Many people only notice the effects of stress when they get ill. It’s the moment when they realize that something has gone wrong; something was too much. That’s illness. A healthy body can practically defeat any illness – as long as its functions aren’t influenced by negative programs such as stress.
Stress sets our whole body in a state of alarm and emergency. Our mind gets the information from the outside – i.e. you’re too late for work. Your brain gets the information how late it is and that the time left is not enough to be at work on time. Our brain interprets this as a bad thing (influenced by our experiences, social system and education) and therefore as a threat (maybe you already imagine how your boss is going to scold you). This negative image leads to a chain reaction within your brain and whole nervous system, giving each cell in your body the information “Alarm!”. The effect is a higher release of stress hormones and probably you hurry up, run or drive faster than usual, already trying to make up plans on your mind how to minimize the consequences of being late. This is stress.
Stress triggers the ancient “fight-flight-freeze”-mode in our brain that was also activated when we were threatened by a dangerous animal or a foe. However, it is not very useful in our daily life. During time of stress your body is entirely focused on the “alarm”. It hinders our cells from properly doing their usual work. While the cells are literally busy with providing the body with everything it needs for the “fight-flight-freeze”-mode, they have less capacities to do their regular work, such as digesting food and absorbing vitamins and minerals, building new cells or fighting harmful bacteria or viruses.
So, maybe you managed your workday though being late with hustling and rushing around, however, you feel confident in the evening. If stress is upon us for a short period of time and there’s a healthy and strong immune system the body has no problem to compensate this “state of alarm”. Whereas if it lasts over a longer period of time, stress is likely to affect us in a negative way, darkening our mind with lasting or repeated negative thoughts, burdening our soul and weakening our body functions.
Therefore, I’d like to invite you to follow me through a series of 6 articles introducing to you my REWARD-Anti-Stress-Method to effectively reduce your level of daily stress and enhance your body, mind and soul wellness.
It’s a combination and collection of common and well-known wellness- and health methods, brought together in one system called REWARD. Following it regularly activates in a natural way the reward-system in our brain leading to a release of dopamine, which we all know makes us happy.
R – Relaxation
E – Eating
W – Variety
A – Awareness
R – Relations
D – Daily structure
A quick breakfast standing up in the kitchen, coffee to go, fast food during your lunch break and a heavy dinner combined with a stressful job, taking care of the family and constant air and noise pollution – this is what a normal day looks like for most of us. Even if we try to be healthy, everyday life makes it difficult for us to follow through on our good intentions. (...)
Decisions are omnipresent. Every day we have to deal with thousands of them. Wear the red shirt or the blue one? Hair up or down? We make decisions. Mostly we forget about them the moment we made them. (...)
The tipping point between stress and burnout is all about being on ‘empty’. Have you reached a point in your life where you are out of gas, where you simply cannot put one foot in front of the other, where the demands on you far exceed your capability to fulfill them? If you can respond in the affirmative, it is a pretty sure bet that you are experiencing the early signs of burnout. (...)