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In our modern world many of us accept that stress is a part of life. Although our bodies make increasing efforts to slow us down, all too often we ignore it. We assume that 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going.'

Unfortunately, having a strong and motivated mind does not alter in the least where the body's limit lie. Strong-minded people are especially susceptible to stress and breakdown, because they ignore their body for so long.

Left unattended chronic stress can produce both physical and psychological symptoms. Chronic stress can look like depression, disorganisation, lack of caring or an attitude problem and cause a number of physical side effects such as tension pains, sleep deprivation, appetite disturbance and nausea.

Respite, Relaxation and Sleep are the only natural ways to relieve the stress symptoms. Chronic stress can reduce quite quickly once some relief from the main stressors is achieved. Once the energy reserves have recovered somewhat, it is important to address the stressors in some permanent way, or the process repeats itself within a short time.

There are two key types of stressors to look out for.

External Stressors consume much energy and reduce the opportunities for relaxation and replenishment. These may include crises, traumatic events, abuse, conflicts and major changes, to everyday family and work commitments or just an over packed schedule.Exercise is a powerful remedy for accumulating stress, but
often we do not leave enough time or energy in our day to allow our bodies the benefits of exercise.

Internal Stressors include our own expectations, ideas, beliefs and memories. Basically whenever there is a big difference between reality and what we expect, this creates inner tension. Sometimes what we expect is much worse than what actually happens, so we suffer exhausting amounts of needless anxiety. Often it is our idea of what 'should' be that leaves us feeling angry, guilty, anxious, or hurt much of the time. We can trap ourselves in difficult situations feeling we 'shouldn't' or 'couldn't' adopt an otherwise obvious solution.

Often the hardest thing is to step outside your situation and see what is causing the problem. Changing attitudes or habits is very hard, especially when they date back to your youth or childhood, and special strategies are sometimes needed to bring about new options and making them 'stick'. Training in assertiveness, problem solving or decision making can also do much to smooth your path towards achieving a less stressful life.

For a quick way to check your stress levels check out our Life Event Stress Scale.

This information was provided by Clinical Psychologist, Anette Renneflott for more
information you can contact her on 07 3206 6866.