In this post, former ME/CFS sufferer and Coach Simon Pimenta explores the topic of:
1. What stress is
2. A simple strategy for assessing how much stress you might be experiencing
3. How you can identify strategies to reduce stress, that may result in health and energy benefits.
What Is Stress?
When I ask people this question, people will often say that stress is:
The feeling of being out of control
Sweaty palms, heart beating ten to the dozen, etc.
The really big stuff- starting a new job, moving house, giving birth, dealing with a loss
Definition Of Stress
Stress is the body’s reaction to a change. The stress response is the body’s attempt to re- establish a normal state of functioning.
The stimulus could be:
A change in temperature
The body responding to a virus
An emotional shock
Obviously if someone is experiencing a health challenge, then:
The body is experiencing stress
Being unwell is a stressor
The symptoms may cause secondary symptoms, which results in more stress
In my free report ‘ME/CFS: A Piece Of The Jigsaw’ I talk about what stress is and how it can impact our health and recovery from an illness. If you haven’t read it, you can get a copy here
Briefly, the subject of how stress affects our wellbeing has been the study of Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University.
Critical to our understanding of how stress affects us, is knowing that persistent stress, even at low levels, can impact on our health and wellbeing.
Professor Sapolsky suggests that according to research, all these stressors- even at low levels, can cumulatively add up and cause all sorts of health issues.
In the article ME/CFS: Addressing The Fundamentals I talk about the need to identify sources of stress and think about strategies for dealing with them.
How Much Stress Are You Experiencing?
Based on my experience of working with people with ME/CFS for over 10 years, it is clear that a lot of people, whether healthy or dealing with a health challenge, don’t really understand how stress affects them.
One person I trained said to me “I didn’t realise how much all the little stressors were affecting me until I stopped doing them.”
One way of assessing how much stress we are generating is to consider the following:
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. That’s a lot of opportunity for a lot of thoughts.
What percentage are calming, nurturing and supportive?
Often people will say 5-20%.
Consider what impact increasing this number will have on your health and wellbeing.
Can Stress Reduction Boost Health And Energy?
As I discuss in the report, my observation from working with many clients is that they often haven’t made the connection between NOT being stressed and an easing or improvement of their symptoms.
When they have had a period of feeling calm, relaxed or feeling good, they feel better.
Think about it. How often have you had good periods- however short, and not connected those good periods to an absence of stress, or to put it positively, that those periods of feeling relaxed coincided with feeling better or more energetic ?
In the free coaching session I offer, we explore the stressors you are experiencing and some simple strategies that may help deal with these stressors.
Do leave a comment on how useful you found this article.
Feel free to contact me here for a free consultation to find out more about how I work, or if you have any questions.
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After working in a demanding job as the Director of a Housing Trust, he went off sick and remained unable to work for the next 8 years.
He discovered a pioneering approach to resolving health issues and got back his health, and now trains others using these same techniques.