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Stress

Written by Onaolapo Adeyemi. Posted in EMDR

Stress is one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated problems in modern life.  In this article, we’ll be interchanging the word “stress” with “tension”, “stiffness”, and “tautness”.  Tension can lead to an extreme headache.  Tension headache is the most common type of a headache.  This type of a headache can cause mild or moderate pain in the head, neck, and behind the eyes. Some patients say that a tension headache feels like a tight band around their foreheads.Diet, sleep, and exercise are all important, but mental and physiological stress will undermine your best attempts at anything unless you manage them.

examining_StressYou don’t have to go to the same lengths that most people did, but you will get better results just by taking some simple steps mentioned below.

Stress is the disruption of homeostasis and is not always bad. In regards to exercise, stress is needed to produce training adaptations. In order to learn, you need to stress your brain in new ways — learning a new language, solving a math problem, creating a new business/product, etc.. Humans are designed to handle small, intermittent bouts of stress. When tension becomes chronic, it becomes a disease.

You may feel there’s nothing you can do about tension. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding.  But you have more control over tension than you might think.  Stress management is all about taking charge: of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems.  No matter how tensed your life seems to be, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.

Problem of Stress and Tension

Tension holds you back in all aspects of life. It weakens your immune system, costs you precious time that should be spent enjoying life.  Stiffness hurts your interpersonal relationships and alienates others. It decreases your ability to make rational decisions and perform at work. Tension sucks.

It’s easy to identify sources of tension following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday tension can be more complicated.  It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your tension levels.  Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stiffness.

Stress can advance to dangerous levels, threatening your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. When it does, feelings of isolation and helplessness can be amplified to heights you may have never experienced before. In such a scenario, outreach, whatever form it takes, has to be your anchor. Here are some emergency symptoms to watch out for, all of which might suggest an intense level of stress that requires an intervention of some kind. From there, we explore the organizations and people you can turn to in order to receive support and treatment when you need it.

Stress is an epidemic.  It is one of the most widespread and debilitating conditions in the world, yet many people act as if it is completely natural.  If there was one thing that could be called the antithesis of The Bulletproof Executive — it is stress.  Tension sucks up the reserves you should be using to create more resilience. Stress may even trigger the onset of dementia. In one study, 5 72 percent — nearly three out of four — Alzheimer’s patients had experienced severe emotional tautness during the two years preceding their diagnosis.

Tension is most likely to be harmful when the following conditions are present: it feels against your will, out of your control and utterly devoid of meaning. If you can change any of these conditions – by finding some meaning in it – you can reduce the harmful effects of stress.

Signs And Symptoms of Stress

Physical symptoms of stress include such digestive disorders as those mentioned above, plus ulcers, heartburn and indigestion, headaches, high blood pressure, palpitations, breathing problems (such as asthma or hyperventilation), overheating, exhaustion and insomnia, back or muscle ache, skin rashes (such as hives or eczema­ma), excessive sweating, and nervous disorders (such as twitching, grinding teeth, or picking at skin).

At the same time, Cortisone has the effect of suppressing the immune system, so all immune defi­cient illnesses (from the common cold to cancer) can be directly or indirectly caused by stress.

The physical symptoms of stress are themselves distressing. In fact, the body’s response to stress can feel so bad that it produces additional mental stress. During the stress response, then, mind and body can amplify each other’s distress signals, creating a vicious cycle of tension and anxiety.

Types of Stress And Tension

Many types of stress are similar in essence but have different characteristics. For example, stress experienced by teenagers is probably no different than much of the stress adults have, but because teens tend to respond differently than adults to certain stressful situations there might be different ways to handle it.

There are different types of stress — eustress, acute and chronic stress disorders.

  1. Acute tension is the most common type of tension. It’s your body’s immediate reaction to a new challenge, event, or demand, and it triggers your fight-or-flight response.
    Severe acute tension such as tension suffered as the victim of a crime or life-threatening situation can lead to mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder.
  2. Episodic acute tension – When acute tension happens frequently, it’s called episodic acute tension. People who always seem to be having a crisis tend to have episodic acute tension.
  3. Chronic tension – If acute tension isn’t resolved and begins to increase or lasts for long periods of time, it becomes chronic tension. This tension is constant and doesn’t go away.

All of these types have effects on your body. Some types of effects of tension and stiffness on your health are helpful while some are harmful. The acute and chronic types can weaken your immune system. But the chronic type makes you more vulnerable to cancer.

Effects of Stress on the Body

Effects of stress on the body can also lead people to cope strategies that worsen their stress and their health. For example, some people smoke, overeat, or abuse alcohol or drugs as a reaction to stress. These strategies may seem to temporarily relieve stress, but they then contribute to overall poor health and risk factors for disease. Such methods of coping can snowball with stress into much higher risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

The effects of stress on the body are numerous and are risk factors for a number of medical conditions. However, a small amount of stress, especially in a dangerous situation can have certain beneficial consequences. One frequently reads of people who are able to do extraordinary things under stress, like lifting cars to free trapped children. Constant, or chronic stress, on the other hand, is often associated with health risks instead of benefits.

Other effects of stress on the body include an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and a redirection of blood flow to the muscles and brain. Normal digestive patterns tend to slow down because less blood flow is directed to the digestive tract. Chemicals that help form platelets also are released, and one may note perspiration, and tense muscles as being caused by stress.

Solution To Reduce or Eliminate Stress

By rewiring your brain using a newly found therapy called EMDR, and nervous system to handle tension more efficiently, you will become a more effective person in all walks of life, and the tension you do experience will be the kind that makes you stronger.

Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of pressure, but you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Just about any form of physical activity can help relieve pressure and burn away anger, tension, and frustration. Exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction to your daily worries.

While the maximum benefit comes from exercising for 30 minutes or more, you can start small and build up your fitness level gradually. Short, 10-minute bursts of activity that elevate your heart rate and make you break out into a sweat can help to relieve worry and give you more energy and hopefulness. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day. The first step is to get yourself up and moving.

Social engagement is the quickest, most efficient way to rein in pressure and avoid overreacting to internal or external events that you perceive as threatening.  Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the demanding situation. There is nothing more calming to your nervous system than communicating with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. This experience of safety—as perceived by your nervous system—results from nonverbal cues that you hear, see and feel.

If tension happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease.  If you already have a health problem, stiffness may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, your sexual life could be affected, and you may not do well at work or school.

Stress is an unavoidable factor in our modern day lives. Practise many techniques like meditation, yoga, nature walking and others along with therapy, if need be. You should be more consistent with whichever route you decide to take.

stress_and_tension_breathing_exerciseBreathing is something we do on a daily basis. The body, in a living state, breathes involuntarily whether we are awake, sleeping, or actively exercising. Breathing is living. It is a vital function of life.

In yoga, we refer to this as pranayama . Prana is a Sanskrit word that means life-force and Ayama mean extending or stretching. Thus, the word “pranayama” translates to the control of life force. It is also known as the extension of breath. Every cell in our bodies needs oxygen to function properly. So it’s no surprise that research shows that a regular practice of controlled breathing can decrease the effects of stress on the body and increase overall physical and mental health.

Thus, the word “pranayama” translates to the control of life force. It is also known as the extension of breath. Every cell in our bodies needs oxygen to function properly. So it’s no surprise that research shows that a regular practice of controlled breathing can decrease the effects of stress on the body and increase overall physical and mental health.  If you ask me, I’ll tell you exercise is the best solution.

PTSD Treatment and Management

Written by Onaolapo Adeyemi. Posted in EMDR

Cognitive-Behavioral-TherapyPTSD treatment and management – Many warriors prefer to keep silent about their feelings to themselves than talking to anyone, not even the therapist, but the truth of the matter is that you have to talk before you can get the treatment you need, and deserve.
Today, there are good treatments available for PTSD.  Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of counseling. It appears to be the most effective type of counseling for PTSD. The VA is providing two forms of cognitive behavioral therapy to Veterans with PTSD: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy.  To learn more about these types of therapy, see the official VA fact sheets listed on the treatment page.

There is also a similar kind of therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) that is used for PTSD.  Medications have also been shown to be effective.  A type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is also used for depression, is effective for PTSD. More information can be found at the VA treatment page.  There are different types of cognitive behavioral therapy.

PTSD Treatment And Management – Types of cognitive behavioral therapy

Watch The Videos Below to Learn and Determine Your Best Treatment Option(s)

 

 

 

In cognitive therapy, your therapist helps you understand and change how you think about your trauma and its aftermath.  Your goal is to understand how certain thoughts about your trauma cause you stress and make your symptoms worse. Once you understand the fundamentals of your problem, you can definitely tackle it with full force.  The work of your therapist, by using cognitive therapy is to help you identify thoughts about the world and yourself that are making you feel afraid or upset.  With the help of your therapist, you will learn to replace these thoughts with more accurate and less distressing thoughts. You will also learn ways to cope with feelings such as anger, guilt, and fear.

In exposure therapy, your goal is to have less fear about your memories. It is based on the idea that people learn to fear thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind them of a past traumatic event.  All you have to do is talk about your trauma repeatedly with a therapist, you’ll learn to get control of your thoughts and feelings about any kind of trauma you might have encountered that is causing you the pain and discomfort. You’ll learn that you do not have to be afraid of your memories. This may be hard at first. It might seem strange to think about stressful things on purpose. But you’ll feel less overwhelmed over time.

Group therapy

Talking to other people with similar trauma experience is also a great way of staying sane with your past experience.  Sharing your story with others could help you feel more comfortable talking about your trauma. This can help you cope with your symptoms, memories, and other parts of your life and can bring a great positive change to your life.  Sharing with the group also can help you build self-confidence and trust. You’ll learn to focus on your present life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the past.  Group therapy assists you in building relationships with others who understand what you’ve been through.  This will boost your confidence because you know you are not alone.  You will learn to deal with emotions like shame, guilt, anger, rage, and fear.

Family therapy

When a member of the family has PTSD, it can affect your whole family.  Your kids or your partner may not understand why you get angry sometimes, or why you’re under so much stress.  They may feel scared, guilty, or even angry about your condition.

Family therapy is a type of counseling that involves your whole family. A therapist helps you and your family to communicate, maintain good relationships, and cope with tough emotions. Your family can learn more about PTSD and how it is treated.

Another form of treatment of PTSD is EMDR.

According to the VA PTSD Website; Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another type of therapy for PTSD and like other kinds of counseling, it is said to help change how you react and accept memories of your trauma.  Maybe you experienced trauma as a civilian, or as a soldier serving in combat zones, it is said to help relieve and/or treat the trauma.  The process involves thinking of or talking about your memories, while you’ll focus on other stimuli like eye movements, hand taps, and sounds.  Your therapist may use his or her hand as a movement focus point near your face, and you’ll follow this movement with your eyes.  Other equipment could also be used to replace the hand movement. See article about EMDR equipment here.  Experts are still learning how EMDR works.  Studies have shown that it may help you have fewer PTSD symptoms but research also suggests that the eye movements are not a necessary part of the treatment.

Medication

Chemicals in your brain affect the way you feel. For example, when you have depression you may not have enough of a chemical called serotonin. SSRIs raise the level of serotonin in your brain.  Medication is also very effective depending on what your doctor prescribes for you.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medicine which could help you feel less sad and worried.  They appear to be helpful, and for some people, they are very effective. SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (such as Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft).  There are other medications that have been used with some success.  All you have to do now is talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you.

 

 

Credits

Photos by:  http://www.freud-sigmund.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy.jpg

For more information on PTSD treatment and management, visit http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/gen-treatment.asp

 

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