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Stress - What exactly is it?
29th Oct



Stress is often misunderstood. Every organism responds to a ‘stressful’ environment. An amoeba might change colour when the temperature increases.

Humans are a more complex organism with a far more complex repertoire of responses to an adverse (stressful) environment.

People often struggle to define ‘Stress’. In fact stress is your own response to the physical and emotional demands and deadlines of work and life, kids, social responsibilities and interpersonal relationships. Your own response may be completely different from anyone else’s response to the same demands and may be different from month to month and year to year.

When you are in a demanding situation you might respond in any number of ways. Some sweat; some clench their knuckles; get diarrhoea; get indigestion or reflux; develop an itchy rash; get headaches; get palpitations or irregular heart rhythm; some get angry; some get depressed.

There’s a whole spectrum of responses depending upon who are and what is your own physiological, metabolic, psychological and emotional make-up.

Adrenaline release plays a significant role in the mediation of stress. When you get a fright your heart rate jumps! Adrenaline also causes metabolic changes and can severely disrupt cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. Doesn’t sound good does it! So, the aim is to develop a Zen Calm. Easy to say but more difficult to put into practice. Meditation is a well-known method of dissipating stress but not everyone can meditate. Exercise is also a very effective way of dissipating stress and everyone can exercise! Exercise causes a whole raft of hormonal changes. Endorphin release for one. Endorphins make you feel good. When you are fit you feel good and that’s partly due to the endorphins!

Make a commitment today. Make sure that your exercise program is locked in as a regular part of your weekly routine.

Dr Stephen Jelbart

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