Stress and How to Deal With it

By Ilija Bircanin

Finding a balance in your lifestyle appears a beneficial anti stress factor. Having time in your life that you can call your own, feeling that you are in control for the next fifteen or thirty minutes has measurable positive stress reducing effects.

The human body needs stress to achieve life goals, but too much stress will cause disintegration of the systems that prolong life.

We have all had the experiences of too much stress in our lives, irritability, jumping or startling when we hear the phone ring, teary eyes when confronted by routine life events, a constant state of fatigue is most common, this can progress to headaches, muscle tension, cold sweats, palpitations and a sense that something unpleasant is about to happen to us.

A sense of unreasonable physical discomfort and overwhelming fear, accompanied by butterflies in the stomach and faintness are the body symptoms that tell us to stop and regain control of our lives.

When we are stressed the body prepares itself to FIGHT or to FLIGHT; The chemistry that makes us function, goes into over readiness; Heart rate goes up, blood is channeled to deep muscles, the gut is paralyzed, adrenalin like compounds activate the SYMPATHETIC nervous system. Our breathing is fast, the mouth is dry, shaking we prepare to either run or fight, all this takes place in the absence of any real danger. Long term stress leads to a decline in a person's sense of well being, suppression of their autoimmune system, it stifles creativity and turns you into an ungenerous person.

How do you rate your stress potential? The Miller-Smith Lifestyle Assessment Scale may surprise you. Go to the Miller-Smith Assessment here.

To reverse the stress cycle, an activity such as TAI CHI can be a way to take control and place limits on the way the body deals with the pressures of your lifestyle. Having learnt a basic Tai Chi form, the practice of it produces a meditation state, this disciplined physical and mental activity results in physical fitness as well as a greater tolerance to stress.

The following list has been collected to detail the positive effects of Tai Chi:

  • Boosting of the immune systems of the body
  • Lowering of blood lactate levels in the body. These chemicals when present can contribute to anxiety attacks.
  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • Greater creative capacity and mental energy
  • Improved muscle efficiency, body tone and body posture
  • Maintained reflexes and neuronal efficiency (these decline with disuse)
  • Greater self esteem, and generosity as a personality trait
  • Greater production of anti stress hormones (ACTH)
  • Increased endorphin production (the make you feel good chemical)
  • Increased sense of calmness
  • Sense of belongingness (group membership)
  • Improved bodily functions
  • Improved mental alertness and concentration
  • Endocrine hormonal balance, limiting cardiac and hypertension consequences Regular practice of TAI CHI has an enduring benefit to both the physical and psychological tolerance of stress.