Why we Feel Stressed

When I first started learning how to deal with stress, I found that many courses started of by teaching us why we get stressed in the first place. I soon realised that knowledge is indeed power, and by understanding why we get stressed, it helps us understand what we have to do to overcome it.

Feel stressed?

So, why do we get stressed? Most people experience stress or anxiety when there are many high demands placed on them. Stress is the body’s natural defense against danger. In the olden days, when humans lived in caves and had to go out hunting for food, they had to literally face the dangers of being attacked by a bear or a wolf. In this case, when they are faced with this danger, their body is flooded by hormones (such as cortisol) that prepare their bodies to either fight or flight.

These hormones trigger a high alert mode with reactions such as heightened blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweating, mental alertness as well as tightened muscles. All this were meant to prepare us to either stay and fight or run! (i.e. take flight) This then explains why when we are stressed, we experience heart palpitations, and by the end of the day we get shoulder and back pains!

Stress is not always bad. It is still useful in todays environment, as it can save us from occasional dangers such as a speeding car heading towards you, or say, running away from a robber, or a burning house.

The reason why people say stress is bad (especially on a continuous basis), is because in order for our bodies to be in that high alert mode, something has to give. This means that the rest of the less important functions (at that point in time, during danger), such as our immune system or digestive system slows down. Imagine being in a constant state of stress, day in and day out, and having your immune and digestive system slowing down.

Knowing all this, we can see that learning how to handle stress is very important. We cannot stop our bodies from reacting the way they do when faced in a stressful situation, but we can be aware of it when it is happening, and work on steps to ensure that our bodies are not feeling stress on a continuous basis.

How we can do this is by:

  • Being aware of what stresses us
  • Planning in advance what we can do when faced with this stress
  • Deciding on our priorities, and letting go of everything else
  • Remember to breathe, and take in deep breaths
  • Learning how to be mindful and being in the moment
  • Learn how to relax
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get sufficient nutrition

Stress is a topic that is very close to me, as I learnt the hard way after going through a personal traumatic experience, and by continuously allowing myself to feel stress at work on a daily basis.

If stress is also an area that you’re dealing with, you can download our FREE checklist on managing stress! Click here to register for our Free Stress Reduction Checklist.