Emotional Toolbox

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Suicidal Thoughts

Just as depression is universally cited as being the primary cause of suicide, stress is surely one of the conditions which contribute to depression.

In September 2005 a Danish research group reported in the British Medical Journal that women who were under a certain amount of stress were actually less likely to get breast cancer. Which, quite frankly, is the only good thing I've ever heard about stress.

Stress has been identified as America's number one health problem. A 1996 Prevention magazine survey revealed that almost 75% feel that they endure 'great stress' one day a week. With one out of three indicating that they feel this way more than twice a week. There can be little doubt that the situation has worsened since then. It is said 75-90% of all (US) visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems.

Britons 'are more stressed than ever' 15.02.06 The Metro
WE ARE so stressed that nearly seven million of us are tempted to visit a doctor or get medication, a new survey shows. Two-thirds of those polled admitted worrying, whilr one in three said stress had caused them to lose sleep. More than half of the worriers said they worried more than they did five years ago. Health topped the list of concerns ahead of crime and terrorist attacks, according to the study by health insurers BUPA.
Spokeswoman Dr Paula Franklin said yesterday: 'Stress levels are rising. Almost everyone feels worried sometimes but if you have sleepless nights and anxiety your worrying could spiral out of control.'

Given the worldwide increase in stress levels and the fact that it can severly impact on each of us, at some point in the future. Stress needs to be addressed by everyone. So, obviously the first question is...what causes stress?

Both stress and anxiety are very closely linked to fear, which is itself a primary ‘response’ emotion, this helps us to recognize and be physically prepared for (perceived) danger. This creates a preparedness for fight or flight. Whilst this natural instinct had great survival value for our ancestors, and continues to serve us well in ‘appropriate’ circumstances.  It is not always appropriate in modern society where today’s threats and pressures are far more likely to be psychological as opposed to physical.  This means that our bodies often prepare us for a physical emergency that may never happen.

When stress and anxiety are ongoing, the consequences can have a devastating effect on peoples lives. Not only causing major disruption, but also affecting us both in body and mind. In the opinion of the medical profession stress related conditions and anxiety disorders will continue to emerge as one of the biggest health hazards of the 21st century.

Basically stress is caused by our 'response' to something called a 'stressor'. Click on the following link for a website specializing in 'tools' for coping with stressors... www.coping.org/
A stressor can be any challenging situation which we are forced to confront, manage, resolve or cope with, which ( if given a choice ) we probably wouldn't want to do. But are unable to avoid. It appears that the list of stressors is unendingly long and can include just about anything. Having said that, there is only so much stress that a body and mind can take. Clearly this will vary from person to person, and some will be able to withstand more stress than others. But everyone has their limit. We all need to learn how to control stress or accept a wide range of physical and mental problems upto and including nervous breakdowns and even suicide.

Other than depression and anxiety, stress also contributes to hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck/back pain, constant tiredness, migraine, irritable bowels, eating disorders, period pains, indigestion, frequent minor respiratory problems, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, skin complaints, dizziness, tearfulness, insomnia and so on and so forth. The list goes on and on. All of these conditions and more can be brought about by stress.

Despite the fact that the 21st century is still relatively new. It has already been branded the most stressful in human history. So incidents such as World Wars and periodic outbreaks of the Black Death weren't stressful ???

The question of what can we do about those stressful thoughts and feelings? Especially, when we are unable to change those things which are causing that stress. Alcohol and drugs aren't the solution and only serve to make matters worse. Prescribed tranquilizers only dull your symptoms and 'cure' nothing. It has been said that this type of medication is the mental health equivalent of putting a band-aid sticking plaster over a fractured limb.

  • One coping strategy involves identifying stressful areas of day to day life by using a notebook or journal.
  • Record everything that happens on a daily basis.
  • Mark all events on a scale of 1 to 5. With 1 being the least stressful and 5 being painfully stressful.
  • Over a period of time a pattern will emerge. Stress areas will become identifiable and corrective measures can be adopted.

Another method involves planning each day using a timetable of what you think you will do. At the end of the day, draw up an identical timetable under the heading 'what actually happened'. Compare the two. Try this for a fortnight and a pattern will emerge of where you are creating stress - and where others are creating it for you.

Knowing that work is one of life's great stressors - the choice of occupation is important...
Having a laugh is no joke!
Fake smiles cause stress
Being too happy in your job could make you seriously ill.
    Workers who have to smile and joke with customers end up far more stressed than if they were allowed to show their true feelings.
    And keeping up a cheerful front could even land them in hospital, says a new study.
    That's depressing news for service staff suchg as stewardesses, waitresses, call-centre staff and sales assistants.
They have to keep smiling even when dealing with rude customers. But bottling up anger increases their chances of suffering depression.
     Researchers at Frankfurt in Germany set up a fake call-centre and told half of the 4.000 participants that they could defend themselves against abuse and rudeness, while the other half had to be polite.
    Those allowed to answer back had lower heart rates than those who ignored the abuse.
    Professor Dieter Zapf said: "We all control our emotions, but it's a problem over a long period. It's time we did away with the concept that the customer is always right and show more respect for those in customer service jobs."
Daily Star 18.03.2006

Anti Stress Toolbox



What a relief

Having sex cuts your stress level for week


Having sex cuts stress levels for a whole WEEK, British docs revealed yesterday.

The hormone released when a couple make love calms down the body and causes blood pressure to plummet.

It also makes people less nervous and boosts their brain power.

But self-pleasuring does not have the same effect because the oxytocin –which helps bond couples together is not released.

Medics have long known that an orgasm helps the body to to relax for a short period. But this is the first time they have linked the hormone produced by a man and a woman during sex to reduced stress says New Scientist mag.

Psychologists at Paisley University in Scotland studied the sexual habits of 50 men and women. Each had their blood pressure tested before starting a diary of how often they had sex.

After two weeks they took a ”stress test” involving public speaking and doing mental arithmetic out loud.

Research leader Stuart Brody and his team found that those who had full sex in the past week were less nervous about speaking in public and did better in the maths tests. Mr Brody said: “The effects are not attributable simply to the short-term relief afforded by orgasm, but endure for at least a year”


The Sun 26.01.2006