Stress - a Monster or a Mouse
Stress is a word that comes up a lot in all walks of life, but particularly in business. It has been found to be one of the major causes of poor productivity, illness and absenteeism.
Relaxation is heard less often and when it is spoken, maybe it is with a wistful tone or with a glass of wine in hand! Nothing wrong with the wine, (in moderation, it is a suppressant not a relaxant), but when was the last time you felt properly relaxed and what does that term mean to you?
To be a bit technical for a mo - sorry it comes from being a Biologist in a "previous life".
Strictly speaking being truly relaxed means switching into one of two nervous systems - the Parasympathetic. This is the house keeping mode as it were. All systems are in repair, rejuvenate, revive and relax mode. There is no sense of alarm. The muscles are neutral, the mind calm and one is filled with an ''Inner smile" ( See William Bloom "The Endorphin Effect"). Think of antelope peacefully grazing in the Savannah.
The other nervous system is the Sympathetic, though it is sympathetic only to your survival. Return to the antelope a moment. All peace and quiet, then one of them hears stealthy footsteps in the long grass nearby. "LION!" Instantly, adrenaline courses through the blood stream, heads go up, heart rates increase, blood pressure goes up to bring a quick supply to active muscles, backs and legs tense… and in a springing bound the whole herd has gone.
Generally, you don't meet too many lions in your day to day life, but many situations make you feel as if one may be around the corner. The trigger varies from person to person, but something rings alarm bells, in an instant adrenaline is released and all of the above physiological changes, and many more, take place. True, you think more clearly, work more quickly, but you can't run away or turn and fight (well not usually if you want to keep your job/client/customer), neither do the stressors go away, if anything they can increase in number. So all these "stress hormones" keep circulating all day, especially if one deadline piles up on another.
OK. So you need some adrenaline to perform well, even to get out of bed in the morning. However, if you have a lot of it all day, day after day, without ever turning it off or releasing it through vigorous activity (a brisk walk, run or a visit to the gym) and also feel you have no control over the stressors, no choice to do something else... bingo! Stress!
I won't get even more technical at this point, suffice to say, that this state, though helpful in the short term, if it goes on over a period of time has a damaging effect on just about every system in your body and your health and well-being suffer. Stress becomes a "monster".
As a Reflexologist, I know that my treatment can have a beneficial effect on elevated stress levels. One client who was experiencing a particularly stressful period of time in his business, reflected that it had been the regular treatments that had helped him get through it effectively. Other clients have remarked, with a sigh, "I haven't felt so relaxed for ages" or "I don't think I knew what relaxation was until now". This may be that the gentle treatment of Reflexology encourages the body to switch over into the Parasympathetic system. The body and the mind can become truly relaxed.
In this state, there is less sense of urgency; that pile of "things to do now" looks smaller; you can think more creatively about a particular problem; you feel more patient. As another client said, " I can live my life better". You can breathe. Stress has become a "mouse".
Things to make you go "Hmmm?!"
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