As I have covered in my articles on stress management techniques using biofeedback training, staying in the battle preparation mode (which is how we are designed to deal with stress) comes at a cost on our health.
It can also cause a whole host of problems like:
Concentration and Learning issues
Difficulty concentrating and learning can be a symptom of stress.
This can result in poor performance on thinking tasks like learning or taking tests.
I shared with you in several articles about how your inner three year-old (i.e. your subconscious mind) is in charge of sensing danger.
Now think of that same three year-old as the guard to the learned information storage warehouse.
- Down come the gates when the three year-old’s attention is focused on battle.
- In contrast the gates are open for business when the “all safe” sign goes out.
This may surprise you, but research has found that test performance has more to do with being relaxed than how many hours of study have been done.
Look at it this way:
The mind and attention scatter during battle preparation and as a result you can have great difficulty learning and concentrating.
And if that’s not enough a big enough cause of stress…the mind thinks about 90,000 thoughts a day!
We are more likely to chase these thoughts when we are looking for danger.
When it comes to concentrating on a skill (which means we can RETURN to focus better) none of us STAY in the place of intense concentration for more than a few seconds at a time.
Anxiety Attacks and Stress Symptoms
Signs of stress can also be seen in emotional issues like anxiety attacks or feelings of irritability or overwhelm.
Social issues like reluctance to engage in social contact (as the inner three year-old seeks to protect you from potential predators) can be the untrained mind’s way of dealing with stress and anxiety.
In a similar way behavioral issues like pushing others away with angry actions or challenging others for control in order to feel safe are also signs of stress.
This negative effects of stress can also play into close relationships like home and family, not just stress at work or in the grocery store.
When fear and stress take up a lot of space on the menu for the day, the subconscious mind is often not willing to let the conscious mind go to sleep at night.
(Remember that the conscious mind is keeping track of predators and the subconscious mind is determining if you are safe enough to fall asleep.)
So the build-up of tension throughout the day…and night without the stress management techniques of good periodic recovery like biofeedback provides can play out as trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
Chronic Pain and Muscle Tension
It’s widely known that stress causes other consequences within your body.
Coping with stress in muscular ways can trigger tension headache or muscular pain.
Sometimes the body’s way of dealing with stress will play a big part in chronic pain due to the “guarding response.”
(This is when the subconscious mind reacts to signs of stress by protecting vulnerable areas.)
The consequences of stress can start with increased tension and turn into problems with movement.
This response can slow down healing of an area when the muscles get so tight that the nutrient and oxygen flow is changed.
Asthma and Breathing Difficulties
The respiratory system can respond to sources of stress with increased asthma symptoms, feelings of shortness of breath or chest pains.
As the body reacts to stress, the muscles in your neck and chest tighten which can make breathing more difficult.
This can also trigger neck pain or poor healing from injuries in the upper body.
Nervous System Over-reactions
The nervous system controls many stress symptoms.
Your body’s way of handing stress may lead to issues in your GI, cardiovascular, immune or hormonal systems or migraine headache or asthma just for starters!
(As we looked at in a previous article-the temperature of your finger tips is your guide to how your nervous system is dealing with stress.)
And there are other personal stress assessments which we did not cover, including an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
Managing Stress is Really Child’s Play
But don’t worry!
Managing stress is really about being aware of what your body is doing and making your subconscious aka your “inner child” feel safe.
It’s all about being KIND to your self.
After all, your inner three year-old simply doesn’t know any better.
This self has tried very hard to keep you safe by preparing you emotionally, socially and physically (even when there was probably no real need) to deal with stress of all sorts.
This inner three year-old will also respond to your guidance about healthy ways of handling stress.
After all, this is your best friend.
And you are the hero to your self.
I applaud you for your commitment to take responsibility for your own life and learn these stress management techniques.
To your health!
P.S. Want to learn more about stress reduction?
Take the first step!
Click here for my Special Report: Biofeedback Training- Discover the Power of Your Mind to Control Your Body
Author: Jinny Joy LaRock, RN, BCB Sr. Fellow