Meaning of the word stress

Transcript of the Feature Health matters on Radio X (16 September 2013)

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to the first episode of Health Matters here on Radio X. In Health Matters I’ll be taking a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges to our health and wellbeing STRESS. Stress, What is it? Why has it become a nuisance? and most importantly …What can YOU do about it?

In this weeks episode I like to establish first the meaning of the word stress. Many people use the word to refer to the trials and tribulations of life …. traffic jams, worries, too much work, deadlines or in other words the causes of stress. While others use it to describe the way they feel… Gosh I feel so stressed today. The more accepted meaning of stress however – and the way I’ll refer to it – in Health Matters – Is nor the cause or the feeling

When I talk about stress it is about the biological nature of stress. Stress as in the body’s autonomic response to internal or external demands, resulting in biological and behavioural changes.  I know… that’s a mouthful… but over the coming episodes of health matters I hope it will get clearer why I use this definition. Stress as an autonomic response means that it is a reflex …  and a result of our biological evolution.  To what purpose – you may ask -? Well the stress response was created to protect us from danger.

It’s a survival mechanism that will increase your heart rate, breath rate and blood pressure, will divert glucose throughout your body to where it is needed, contracts muscles and shuts down your thinking…. All at once for that just in time jump you make to get out of the way of that oncoming car that will surely have knocked you down if you hadn’t had such a great reflex.

The disadvantage of this survival mechanism – sometimes also referred to as the fight and flight response – is that on an evolutionary level it hasn’t really evolved itself significantly …. some say it hasn’t changed since the time we were cavemen and cavewomen. So imagine that this mechanism was made for the lifestyle of that prehistoric man and woman and now look around you… Life has changed a bit don’t you agree? To describe it in another way … we’re a commodore computer with the latest mac software. Mmm I think there might be some functional conflict there?

And so we’re arriving at a fundamental question that we must ask ourselves of why stress has become a nuisance… is our biology in conflict with our culture?  The American Institute of Stress mentions that an estimate of 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. With those facts and figures in mind – I hope you agree -that it is time to take stress a bit more seriously.  So what can we do about it?

Here is one that I consider one the best – self help – stress release tools known to us which can be done anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  BREATHING, conscious slow breathing with a cycle of 6 breaths a minute which is inhaling for 5 seconds, release and exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise a minimum of 3 times a day for 3 minutes and feel how 9 minutes of your day invested in yourself can make the difference to your health and wellbeing.

For the full exercise download the FREE  eBook Reaset: The return to Ease and the mp3 with the sound of waves and seagulls in a sequence of 6 breaths a minute 🙂 

There, this was the first Health Matters episode with information, facts and figures and the first tip to tame stress and improve your health and wellbeing.

Would you like to listen to this feature again then go to the “listen again section’ of the website

I’m Tom Meyers have a great week and I’ll see you again next Monday here on Radio X.

And remember practice makes perfect.

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