Are You Stressed?

Posted on April 16th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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Are you stressed now?  I am.  When I first saw this many, many, many years ago while in college, we were shown a 15 minute segment of it.  Our professor suggested that if it was too much for us that we could put our heads down or leave and stay by the building if you were still having problems.  I ended up with some others outside.  The music is by Philip Glass.

The Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi (English pronunciation:  KOY-ah-nis-KAHT-see) means “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living.”  This film entilted Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance.

The films director Godfrey Reggio stated that the Qatsi films are intended to simply create an experience and that “it is up [to] the viewer to take for himself/herself what it is that [the film] means.” He also said that “these films have never been about the effect of technology, of industry on people. It’s been that everyone: politics, education, things of the financial structure, the nation state structure, language, the culture, religion, all of that exists within the host of technology. So it’s not the effect of, it’s that everything exists within [technology]. It’s not that we use technology, we live technology. Technology has become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe…”

I decided to use this piece to introduce you to National Stress Management Day which is traditionally on April 16,  the day after taxes are due in the US.  Other  countries have this day and in the US it is actually the whole month.

Stress is the normal emotional, physical and cognitive reaction to events that make you feel threatened or sets you life out of the normal balance . There are two types of stress, eustress and distress.  Eustress is the “good type of stress” like weddings, birthday celebrations vacations etc.  distress is the “bad type of stress,” such as, divorce, death, work, etc.  However, both evoke the same type of bodily reactions (fight or flight)  which is mostly based in our perception of the stressor. 

Everyone experiences stress which in not inherently a “bad” thing.  It spurs the flight or fight resonse, so you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, and stress can save your life. I am generally able to handle emergency situation with ease and am able to direct and take control to direct people. It is afterward that I can really feel the stress.   Stress is what helps you cope with a during a presentation or contentious meeting at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.

After a certain point, stress becomes detrimental to you health, mood, productivity, relationship and quality of life. The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. 

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, your thinking and your quality of life.  Stress can have significant damaging effects. 


Symptoms of emotional and cognitive stress include: 

  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling frustrated at having to wait for something
  • Feeling restless
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Becoming easily confused
  • Having memory problems
  • Thinking about negative things all the time
  • Negative self-talk
  • Having marked mood swings
  • Eating too much
  • Eating when you are not hungry
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Not having enough energy to get things done
  • Feeling you can’t cope
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Having emotional outbursts
  • Generally feeling upset
  • Lack of sense of humor

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Low back pain
  • Pains in shoulders or neck
  • Pains in chest
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Muscle spasms or nervous tics
  • Unexplained rashes or skin irritations
  • ‘Pounding’ or ‘racing’ heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Sweating when not physically active
  • ‘Butterflies’ in stomach
  • Indigestion and ‘the gurgles’
  • Diarrhea
  • Unable to sleep or excessive sleep
  • Shortness of breath
  • Holding breath

Below is a short video of way of coping with stress.  I would also add meditation, prayer, minfulness, breathing exercises, doing something for yourself (a warm bath, deep breathing exercises and taking time out from the stressors of daily life…go enjoy the moment or just simply relax and have fun…NOT something you feel like you have to do)

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Do Tell…What do you do to help you cope with stress.  Any and all comments and questions welcomed.

17 Responses to “Are You Stressed?”

  1. Jim says:

    With stress CC I try and laugh it off, relax and slow down – sometimes easier said than done.

    Alkl the symptoms you list is what I get when I have a cup of coffee and a hot curry :-)

  2. Gareth in Thailand says:

    Exercise – I like to do about an hour of sprint swimming with my MP3 player blasting out Herbie Hancock, Victor Wooten, Maceo Parker or something similar (although sometimes for severe stress ACDC, Hawkwind, Motorhead, Mettalica, etc) or some running, hill sprints normally.

    Get that dopamine flowing, it works wonders.

    Alternatively, and diametrically opposite I guess, get totally smashed in a bar.

    The former is normally the better way to deal.

  3. Ian Baker says:

    As for me

    just getting back into it after about 6months sorting my head out

    currently lifting 3 x weekly, 2 sessions boxing, will be incorporating morning cardio soon and Brazillian jui jitsu with a bit of muay thai. Place I go to has a full cage for MMA so fancy having a roll round at that.

    Cardio is a bit shot at the mo but have jacked the cigs now so just setting myself the goal of getting in shape for my next hol.

    But in terms of beating stress hitting the heavy bag or sparring really helps.

  4. Okay, I didn’t tell you what I do because I didn’t want to show you guys up, but my routine is quite vigorous. Morning 45 minutes treadmill with incline and running, then 45 minutes weights, afternoon swimming, evening Pilates or Yoga.

    Just kidding, after last year, I’m just trying to work my way back to 30 minutes on the treadmill and weights. I’m at 5 minutes on a peddler, which is like a stationary bike without the bike on the pedals, so you sit in a chair and pedal away. Eventually, I want to add Pilates and/or Yoga into my routine. This is for real and with my compromised respiratory system, shortness of breath and that I haven’t been able to exercise for health reasons for more than a year…the pedaler is a big deal.

    CC :-)
    .-= Clinically Clueless´s last blog ..Chris Tomlin – We Fall Down =-.

  5. Ian Baker says:

    small steps cc small steps! very good though

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