Stress and the mind and body…

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that needs an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses.

Stress is a normal part of life. Many events that happen to you, or by you yourself, put stress on your body. You can experience stress from your environment, your body and your thoughts.

The  body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress is an important part of our lives, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger; this is positive stress.

Stress becomes negative when we face continuous challenges without relief. As a result, we become overworked, and stress-related tension builds.

Stress that continues without relief can lead the negative stress reaction, distress. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, raised blood pressure, chest pain and problems with sleeping and also bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.

Stress also becomes harmful when people turn to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve the stress. Unfortunately, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. 

Stress can affect your emotions, behaviour, thinking ability and physical health. No part of the body is immune, but, because people handle stress differently, Symptoms can vary from person to person. Symptoms can be vague and may seem the same as those caused by medical conditions. You can discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.

Emotional symptoms can include feeling some agitation, frustration sooner than usual, feeling you need to take control back because you feel you could lose the control if you don’t, you may find it difficult to relax and feel quite low or even depressed. These feelings can then also bring loneliness and because you feel bad you may want to stay away from other people. The physical symptoms can include low energy, you could get headaches or the stress can start your stomach to be agitated and it could feel upset enough to get diarrhoea or could even go the other way and you could have constipation, either of these can make you feel nauseous. The muscles can feel the consequences of the tension too and you can start to feel aches and pains this can be anywhere from your ankle to your chest.  

Stress can affect any part of your body and as you are stressed your sleep is affected and the whole balance of your body and mind is lost. It can also effect your immune system as nothing is excluded from stress; this means you could pick up colds and infections more than you normally would etc.                                                   (WebMD)

Is there anything we can do about day to day stress?

It’s usually a good idea to try and rationalise any panic event in the day and try and sort it out, rather than worry about it yet not attempt to fix it. 

(there is a story about the woman who was having a house party and forgot the bread. She had been to the shops and had released the car to her husband for the day saying that she didn’t need it anymore. He had also taken any monies and now she sat and felt helpless at her situation. For an hour, she sat and cried to herself, looking through the cupboards in the kitchen panicking that the party was ruined and that there was nothing she could do to salvage the situation. 

Later, her son entered the room as her guests knocked on the door and as he looked at his mother who was so upset, he couldn’t understand why she was in such a state. She explained that she had ruined the party that she had earlier been excited about and that she was so upset because she hadn’t known what to do about it.

The son explained that he had arrived home over half an hour ago and could have brought some bread with him, had she called him; he could also have gone to get bread for her once he arrived home as he had his car and he had money but as she had closed the kitchen door, he had no idea she needed him and so he had gone straight to his bedroom to stay out of her way while she prepared for the party).

This story seems silly and the answer is obvious that she could have done other things such as phoning her son, or her husband, or changing the food to something else, or ordering a take-away for later when the husband returned and had the money to pay at the door….. we could find answers, but we are not in a panic, we are not in a state of distress, we can think rationally at this moment in time and it all seems quite obvious and straight forward as we focus on a loaf of bread. 

The bread in the story can be replaced with anything in any situation and it could be a good idea to turn our panic into a question and the question should be ‘what can I do about it?’ or ‘how can I fix it?’ This turns an irrational thought or lack of a proper thought (panic) into a problem solving event which is a completely different thing in your brain.

We all know people who are ‘woe is me‘ and we all know people who are ‘it’ll be ok, I’ll think of something’….

Things happen to everyone… how people handle is what makes the difference to the outcome.

Thats all for now…




About Liverpool Therapies

Qualified Psychotherapeutic counsellor. Transactional Analysis/ Integrative Psychotherapy/CBT
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