Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stress, Health and Wellness

Stress is the body’s reaction to life events or physical threats which cause the arousal of the adrenal system which triggers changes in the body (Hart, 2009). God in His wisdom designed us this way as a means of protection and support. Such changes in the body are what helped our ancestors survive in the wilderness as they faced life or death situations. Situations like caring for a chronically ill loved one can trigger the same type of responses. In small doses, stress can be positive, motivating us to give our best and stay focused (Hart, 2009). When demands exceed our ability to cope, it creates a state that can become a threat to both our physical and emotional well-being. Situations which trigger the adrenal systems arousal, known as stressors, if not addressed lead to stress. Stress not properly managed can lead to distress, where you begin to see some physical manifestations. If we allow the process to continue this can lead to stress disease which is the point where the effects on our state of wellness are no longer reversible (Hart, 2009). The effects of stress are cumulative, beginning as something minor as neck pain, progression on to a more serious event such as a heart attack. Stress is like a crack in the foundation, what begins as something small, if ignored, can cause the whole building to collapse. Unfortunately, we do not have a built in automatic system which differentiates between situations where the biological changes in the body when needed and turn on, but if not needed are suppressed. The key to getting a handle on this is to be aware of process, the sources and effectively control them. Fortunately, today there are tools that can be utilized that not only help a person become aware of stressor but also assist them in learning to properly manage or eliminate them from their life. In working with clients it would be helpful to start by identifying things that could be stressors in their life. On the website Mind Tools there are good tools to help identify stressors, stress management techniques and coping strategies to assist the coach and client through this process. Tools, such as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, help to identify the long term effects of stress, whereas the Stress Diary deals more with identifying short term effects. No matter what tools we utilize, to overcome and manage this condition we must Stop Think, Review, Examine, Signs and Symptoms of events in our lives which threaten our quest to reach a state of optimum being. It is only in first knowing and then doing, can we bring about positive changes for living a healthier lifestyle (Arloski, 2009). References Arloski, M. (2007). Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle Change. Duluth, MN: Whole Person Associates, Inc. Hart, A. and C. (2009). The Stress Epidemic: Battling the Enemy of Wellness. Retrieved November 20, 2011 from the World Wide Web:

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