ABC by Paley – STRESS

Stress is an integral part of life. To some extent, it is beneficial and motivates to action. However, when it exceeds a certain limit, it begins to hinder functioning, and may even be harmful to health. Anxiety about your or your loved ones' health, diagnosis, treatment, difficulties along the way, etc. - these are all stressors that can significantly affect your quality of life.

Whenever we face a potential or actual threat, our minds and bodies respond in one of several possible ways. The fact that we react the same way at a given moment does not mean that we will react the same at another moment in our lives. Our reactions, while often similar, may change over time. We can mobilize to deal with problems (combat mechanism) or avoid them (escape mechanism). There may also be a freeze reaction, when we are unable to do anything because the situation seems too difficult or tragic.

The intense stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fainting, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping and chest pain. It can also affect your mood by causing anxiety, sadness or anger, and contribute to eating difficulties. Then we completely lose our appetite or, on the contrary, we overeat.

Long-term or short, but intense stress can negatively affect the processes of remembering. This is why it so often happens that a child, perfectly prepared for the lesson, cannot recall the information that he or she knew very well during the test. The same can happen in the case of medical appointments – this situation for many people is so burdensome that the mind may go blank, and all the questions with which we came will disappear.

When it comes to the course of the visit itself – under stress it can be difficult to remember its course and all the important information we learned during it in a satisfactory way. Therefore, it is worth taking notes during such a meeting. The words -keys should be enough, which will make it easier for us to remember important things later.

We are not always able to eliminate the reasons why we experience stress from our lives. This does not mean, however, that we are doomed to the debilitating effects of chronic tension. Probably no one will be surprised that exercise has a positive effect on well-being and stress reduction. It is best to run out, go out, dance – as our ancestors did, and which is also confirmed by its effectiveness in research. It may also be helpful to take advantage of psychotherapy, during which, together with a psychotherapist, we will look at negative thought patterns and learn to cope better in a situation in which we have to live. Sometimes pharmacotherapy may be necessary. It is also worth taking a look at your diet and, in cooperation with a dietitian / woman, work out a nutrition plan that will best suit our lifestyle.

Sources of knowledge and inspiration thanks to which this article was created:

  • McEwen BS, Bowles NP, Gray JD, et al. (2015) Mechanisms of stress in the brain, Nature Neuroscience
  • Quesada AA, Wiemers US, Schoofs D, Wolf OT. (2012), Psychosocial stress exposure impairs memory retrieval in children, Psychoneuroendocrinology