We all get stressed some of the time; actually we all get stressed a lot of the time! Our modern lifestyle is very stressful. We are always going somewhere and doing something.
I remember way back in my youth, back in the 1990s, when we had no cell phones and of course no internet. If you told someone you wanted to meet them tomorrow at 9am in the morning, in the city centre, if you hadn’t heard back from them by say 8am the following morning, then there was nothing to do but to travel all the way into town and wait for them. If they didn’t show up by 9.30am you went to a public phone booth (remember those! The one’s which superman used to come out off!), and if they didn’t answer the phone, then tough look, you better haul your ass all the way back home!
Simpler times then!
Of course missing an appointment was a huge hassle back in the old days. Perhaps your friend was delayed and they arrived at the meeting point at 9.35 am and both parties ended up wasting the best part of their morning!
But to be honest with you (for those of you who are too young to remember), we rarely missed each other, because meeting on time was essential. Also we had less to do, since without cell phones and the internet everything moved very slowly.
Another memory, which I have from the late 80’s and early 90’s was my first jobs, before we all started getting paid monthly through wire transfer. I used to get paid every Friday. Every Friday I would get a cute little brown envelope, with cash inside it!
And it gets better, all I had to do was make sure that between today (Friday) and next Friday that I didn’t spend more than was in this envelope. No credit cards, no overdrafts, just cash. We didn’t have fancy pension plans and investments, we just lived on cash and maybe if you were well set up in a good job, you had a pension plan that was about the height of it.
I remember one time dropping into to my local bank and looking for a loan back in 1991-92 and getting a gently rebuttal from my bank manager, when I asked for a loan for a motorbike. Why would I need a loan, he asked me, I answered that I hadn’t enough money to buy one; then he told me that he could give me a loan but I would need a sizeable down payment. If I had a sizeable down payment I wouldn’t need a loan!
Puzzled I walked out of that bank griping inwardly at the ridiculous bank, which didn’t want to give loans. But that was the way it was back in the early 90’s. Banks didn’t give loans unless you could pay a huge chunk as a down payment. Of course this was silly, but since then we have gone in the opposite direction and now it is so easy to get credit that most of us have loans left right and centre!
I’m not for one second, suggesting that we were better off the way we used to be back in the early 90s. Modern technology gives us a lot of great advantages, but it is a fact that we are all seriously stressed out, because of the fast pace of life.
Common signs of stress
There are many wide varieties of symptoms. which are associated with stress, which includes the following:
- Lower back ache
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Stiffness of the neck
- Shortness of breath
- Cardiac problems
- Rapid weight gain/weight loss
- Lacking a sense of peace must
Some of these symptoms, such as frustration and anxiety are a direct consequence of stress. Whereas other symptoms, such as insomnia, trouble sleeping, irritability, fatigue, fatigue even after sleeping, are all common signs of adrenaline fatigue.
Adrenaline fatigue is a direct consequence of the fight/flight response. Our bodies are hardwired to either fight a possible threat or run away from possible threats. This is called the fight or flight response. When placed in a stressful, potentially life-threatening situation, the body will release adrenaline, nor-adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones are designed to increase heart rate to prepare the body for fighting and also for dealing with potential injuries and generally to boost the body, so as to deal with the threat.
Traditionally we were either in a fight, for a few minutes or perhaps an hour or two, or running away, which again meant maybe a few minutes to an hour or two. But then in the old days that was it, then you survived another day, and lived an otherwise peaceful life! Whereas today we are having potential threats, which are non-life-threatening!
The problem is that our bodies do not know the difference between a real threat, like running away from a lion, for example, versus feeling stressed having to go to meetings, getting chewed out by your boss or having to pay bills, or generally dealing with life stress in general.
This hard wired response to stress was a good thing, in that it helped us to survive serious threats to our life. However, having large amounts of these stress hormones whizzing around our bodies, is only good for a short time period of time, as in an hour or two, after that we run into problems. So it’s just like red lining the engine in your car, you can do it occasionally for a second or two, but if you keep doing it regularly damage will result. By the same token, when we have raised stress hormone levels, they eat away at our bodies.
Some of the symptoms of adrenaline fatigue include:
- Feeling apathetic
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Craving for salty foods due to electrolyte imbalances
- Low cortisol levels resulting in a lack of energy during the day and then a sudden burst of energy in the evenings
- Fluctuating cortisol levels weaken the immune system, so people suffering from adrenaline fatigue are more prone to picking up colds and luff’s
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Dry skin
- Allergy responses which are over exaggerated 9As in a flare up of allergies)
Some of the symptoms of adrenaline fatigue and stress, are pretty interchangeable, but just take a look at the adrenaline fatigue list and you can see that some of the symptoms, which might indicate adrenaline fatigue are fairly obvious, such as fluctuating energy levels, cravings for salty foods and dark circles under the eyes, combined with a low level irritability and restlessness been ever present. The important thing here is to realise that stress has a lot of negative symptoms, which if they continue over time overs stimulate the adrenaline response, which then results in adrenaline fatigue, which of course produces more symptoms of stress, and so it goes around in ever-increasing circles of symptoms-stress-indicators and then more symptoms!
So this is one merry-go-round, which you need to get off of, in order to live a full, happy and relatively stress free existence!
Tune into part two of “Coping with Stress: How to de-stress and reduce anxiety in Your Life!” where we delve deep into some really useful stress boosting life tactics!