By Dr. Franz Brown

The problems of everyday life

Stress is a fact of life, neither good nor bad if you learn to make use of it, it will help you feel and think clearly, and fill you with one exciting challenge after another day by day. If you let it make use of you, you will be exhausted, unable to think and act decisively, or even make you seriously ill.

You can put stress on your body through the physical demands you make on make yourself. Mental stress comes from drastic or prolonged shifts of emotion either from negative feelings such as worry, frustration or unhappiness, or from positive feelings such as profound joy, excitement or love. The senses of our bodies and minds can never be really separated; they always occur together.

The body reacts to all stress in exactly the same way, enquiring us to deal with the extra demands. When faced with and emergency situation such as a threat of being fired, the joy of reunion or simply loud or prolonged noise, adrenal secretions form of fat and sugar energy to the brain and muscles. The pulse races, blood pressures and cholesterol levels rise, and breathing becomes faster. Much of the blood supply to the internal organs is immediately redirected into the muscles which become ready for physical action so the body can mobilize all its energies to fight or the run away. The ‘Red Alert’ state.

Within a few minutes, the body’s full energy potential has been realized. We take some sort of action, and then the secretions stop. The adrenalin is burnt off, the sugar and fat are used up, the blood flow returns to its general duties of supplying all the internal organs and systems that keep the body in healthy running order.

At least, that’s how it should work. The trouble is that modern high pressured life surrounds us with almost constant threats that unconsciously trigger off our alert response.. thousands of years ago, quick and decisive action would solve the problems of wild animals or physical danger, and at the same time it burnt off all the extra chemical our bodies produced. Today, we rarely have any physical outlet, we swallow our frustration, apparently remain calm and undisturbed, and these substances accumulate in the body along with the physical and emotional tension that accompanies them. It builds until many of us live in a permanently stressed state, enable to come down again to peace and relaxation.

This is where stress becomes dangerous. Unusual amounts of adrenalin can be stopped in the heart where it affects its functioning, increasing the heart beat rate even when the body is at rest, thus decreasing its ability to use oxygen and causing irregularities. Excess stress contributes to feelings of fatigue and depression. In prolonged stress, there is also an unconscious tensing of muscles.

Stress is now linked with heart disease, arthritis, ulcers, high blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, and mental disorders. These are the negative aspects of excess stress. But there are important positive aspects too. An occasional shot of adrenalin is a great cure for boredom and indifference. We often do our best when we are under some stress. Nut beyond a certain level, which is different for each individual, stress becomes destructive. Get to know how much stress you need to make you perform just that little bit better, but before it becomes damaging and unhealthy.

Making it work for you.

Everyone reacts differently to that ‘red alert’ stress. Some find great stress or even danger a great pleasure, for others it’s simply too much to cope with. A few even become addicted to stress depending on high levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and nor adrenalin in the system instead of to nicotine or alcohol. They live with prolonged high levels of stress for so long, that it seems normal. This can be serious. For example, business tycoons and pop stars can suffer from being stressed, also alcoholics. They find it very hard to go back to normal everyday life.

Cigarette and alcohol are not the answer either. Both bring many of the same physiological changes in the body as stress itself. Nicotine, for instance, raises blood pressure, the heart beat rate, and levels of stress hormones, and cholesterol. While smoking and drinking may seem to help for the time being, they are actually contributing to the stress overload problem in the long run. But when stress is handled well, it gives us added motivation to overcome obstacles, and an ideal warning system that brings awareness and strength to handle threatening situations that might damage or destroy our happiness, safety and self – esteem. The ability to work under pressure is an important asset.

Don’t try to avoid stress altogether – use it in stead. Every crisis offers an opportunity to let the adrenalin work. Take some kind of action to burn up that extra stress-energy. Make a decision, hit the ball hard, scrub the floor very hard, run around the garden fast and when the crisis is over, learn to forget it and relax.

Excess tension can be eliminated with amazing ease, once you develop a tool for conscious relaxation and use it regularly. Deep relaxation and stress are like two sides of a coin; each is exactly opposite of the other brings about. They complement each other like light and dark, summer and winter. Learn to move from one to the other and you have a key to success in almost every thing you try. Sounds simple? It is.

Tranquillizers are not the best solution to continual stress; the longer you take them the less effective they become. There are serious side effects, too, try not to rely on pills too much.

To conclude: ‘if you listen to your fears you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been.” Read what Isaiah 39:18 states – “For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in me , says the Lord.”

For further information, treatment and training in massage therapy, do not hesitate to contact Nevis Holistic Massage Centre, at Farms Estate, Charlestown, Nevis Tel: 469-5464