Shot of stressed business woman working from home on laptop looking worried, tired and overwhelmed.

Understand your stress in 4 easy steps

Stress is physiological and follows the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, from the brain to the adrenal glands, small glands located above the kidneys.

The four stages of stress

First stage

The human being is subjected to a stressor :

either physical: lack of sleep, running for a long time, having an infection, being cold, etc. ;

or psychological: being afraid of losing one’s job, being late for an important appointment, etc.

In the history of humanity, stressors were mostly physical: struggle for survival, for food, for protection from the cold, and many others. Nowadays, they are mostly psychological: insecurity, anxiety, anger, etc.

Second stage

The body automatically produces, through the adrenal glands, the stress hormones adrenalin, norepinephrine and cortisol.

Third step

These hormones release a lot of energy.

Fourth step

This energy has two possibilities.

Either it goes outside the body.

The stress reaction decreases the blood flow to the brain and increases it in the muscles. Remember when you took your exams at school: sometimes you couldn’t remember the answers you knew. The human being has survived through the ages thanks to this stress reaction which has allowed him to be stronger, to fight or to run away faster.

Either it stays inside.

Then it attacks the immune system, weakens the individual and makes him/her vulnerable to diseases and possibly even cancer.

Our stress reaction is not adapted to the modern man who lives mostly with psychological stress.

The most common symptoms of stress are :

palpitations: your heart beats too fast;

Lack of air: you feel like you are suffocating, like you have a lump in your throat;

Numbness of the extremities: you feel tingling in your hands and feet;

Dizziness: you feel like you are going to pass out;

abdominal cramps or diarrhea: remember your exams at school;

headaches: often, they squeeze your head like a hat that is too small;

muscular pains : often, they are located in the lower back;

digestive difficulties with nausea ;

and many others.

What can you do when you are stressed?

Get moving, do some intense physical activity.

Let off steam peacefully: yell at a tree or punch your pillow.

Write down everything that comes to mind and make it go away literally and figuratively.

Do a relaxation technique. The mental programming sequence on the Motivation audio program will help you do this. The more you do it, the more effectively you will relax.

Avoid psychological stressors when you can.

Avoid physiological stressors when you can; for example: sleep deprivation fatigue (get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night), stimulating drugs such as caffeine.

Above all, do ABCDs of stress management and listen to the Motivation audio program often.

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