Stress and Self Destruction

Amy Winehouse, age 27, a popular British singer-songwriter and winner of six Grammy awards, was found dead in her London flat, last week. This was a tragic end to
a brilliant career of a young, talented and popular performer, who had, sadly,
a much troubled private life. She was an example of how a talented individual
with everything to live for, can possess a self-destruct button that inexorably
led to her untimely death.

In fact, we all have the capacity to self-destruct and sometimes under intense
pressure, we can do can just that. Self-destruction can exist in many forms but
essentially it manifests itself in irresponsible behaviour, including
self-abuse by the use of prohibited substances, alcohol, smoking or sometimes over-eating.

When individuals turn to such behaviour as a result of stress or disappointment in
their lives, the long term effects can be devastating, and sometimes, as in the
case of Amy Winehouse, fatal. Driving too often in the fast lane will certainly
give you a quick shot of adrenalin, for a few moments, but it may well also
kill you.  It is at times such as these that one doesn’t think clearly and logically, for if you did, then you would not take such risks.

So next time that you feel like pressing the self-destruct button because you cannot
take any more pressure, think for just a moment about the consequences and first
use these recommended stress interventions.

Stress interventions that work

When you feel the urge to be reckless, consider for a moment the consequences and
then set about defusing your thoughts and getting rid of the excess of
adrenalin that stress has created. There is nothing better than hard, physical
activity to help you cope with the results of excessive stress. Walking,
cycling, and swimming can all help you to relax and regain your perspective. If
you are badly stressed so that excessive pressure is making you angry, then competitive exercise or ball games can help the anger to dispel.

So when you are feeling angry, do your best to walk away from the situation and give
yourself time and space for the emotions to dissipate.   Shouting, when upset is bad for your blood pressure and for your entire cardiac system – sometimes, it can even bring about a heart attack.

Try sitting quietly in a room on your own. Close your eyes and clear your mind of
stressful thoughts. Think about something pleasant – your favourite food or a special
place, maybe on the beach by the sea. Breathe deeply to bring more oxygen into
your blood and feel the tension leave your body.  Breathing deeply is a simple, effective remedy for diffusing anger.  Chronic stress leads to quick, shallow breaths but bringing conscious attention to your breathing, lengthening and deepening the drawing in of
oxygen, nourishes every cell of your body and promotes relaxation, as prolonged
exhalation helps clear our bodies of toxins.

Some individuals, under stress, may binge-eat and consume large amounts of food
in a short period of time and experience a lack of control during such bouts of over-eating.  They tend to eat much more quickly during these binge episodes, until they are uncomfortably full, even when they were not hungry in the first place.  They often eat alone, using food as a substitute for frustration, disappointment or upset.

None one of us are immune to stress but we can manage it effectively, and being
aware of what not to do when you get that possible feeling of despair, is half
the battle.

It is a continuous process of managing our bodies and our lives on a daily basis,
and with the holy month of Ramadan now upon us, now is a good a time as any to
reassess our lives and priorities.  Use the time to reflect back to what has worked for you over the past year and what you need to improve in your personal life.
Use this quiet time as a period of reassessment of yourself and how you
consider and treat  others.  Look out for your neighbour who might be sad
and lonely, and remember that just a thoughtful word, a genuine smile and a
feeling of love can made another person feel better and less stressed, almost immediately.  And helping others, helps you.  Try it!

Key Points:

  • We all have the capacity to  self-destruct
  • Stress and excessive pressure can be dangerous
  • When you feel angry, walk away from the situation
  • None one of us are immune to stress but we can manage it effectively, and being aware of what not to do when you get that possible feeling of despair, is half the battle.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, Awards Host, BBC guest broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

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