Written by Simone Usselman-Tod
My chosen career was in the medical field as a Diagnostic Medical Radiation Technologist. I learned how to deal with critical situations and be part of a team helping people who were seriously injured and who were struggling to survive.
Training as a Diagnostic Medical Radiation Technologist at a trauma hospital was a powerful introduction to the effect of the stress response in action. As part of the support team in the Emergency Department, I was well trained and confident in my role.
We would receive a call that a trauma patient was coming in and the estimated time of arrival was 15 minutes. The Emergency Team would jump into action. The nurses prepared the trauma room for the patient’s arrival. The trauma team would arrive in the Emergency Department to receive the patient. All eyes were on the sliding doors as we could hear the sirens blaring as the ambulance arrived. With ambulance lights flashing we could watch as the patient was unloaded by the ambulance attendants. Adrenalin was running high with anticipation, our stress response kicked in preparing us all to take whatever action was necessary to save the incoming patient. We were always prepared for the worst-case scenario.
With an Intravenous bag hanging, oxygen mask on and heart monitor beeping the new patient, strapped to the stretcher was whisked through the doors of the Emergency Department into the trauma room by the ambulance attendants. The emergency team exploded into action. We all knew that time was of the essence. The pressure was on. We all kept an eye on the clock, recording every action of the team. The clock was ticking as the emergency trauma team rapidly assessed the patient. Decisions were made in the heat of the moment. Stabilizing the patient was of prime concern. Procedures and tests were ordered rapid fire. Efficient assessment and treatment could make the difference between life and death.
All this is possible because of our stress response. This is an example of how our stress response works well for us. Our stress response helps our body make adjustments to new situations. Our stress response keeps us alert, motivated and ready to deal with danger.
In an emergency situation, our stress response is triggered to helps us cope with the crisis. Unfortunately, if our stress response is overactive and excessively triggered it can create internal chaos, and a fallout of serious problems that can negatively impact our health, career, relationship and even our finances. Although I have shared my experience working in the emergency department at a trauma hospital as an example, in reality, many people are affected negatively by an overactive or over triggered stress response. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some assistance, we can change our overactive stress response and create more balance in our lives.
What is the stress response?
The stress response sometimes referred to as the fight-flight (and freeze) response, is a physiological reaction in response to not only a real threat but also to a ‘perceived’ or anticipated threat. It is the body’s emergency reaction system to keep us safe in an emergency or a threatening situation. Our body’s stress response is meant to protect us but when it is constantly on alert, it can impact our emotional, mental and physical health and sooner or later we pay the price.
The stress response allows us to react quickly to danger, real or perceived, without thinking. When we feel any threat or fear, the amygdala, part of the brain’s limbic system, rapidly activates our stress response and stress hormones are released preparing our body for fight or run away (Fight-flight response) triggered by strong emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger and aggression.
Many of us are under ongoing stress related to the demands of our jobs and our families. Dealing with deadlines, working full time, supporting family members who can not care for themselves, and dealing with constant stimulation due to technology, never mind the ever changing guideline of current pandemic. These are just a few of a myriad of stressors impacting our lives. Even positive changes such as having a new baby or getting a job promotion can cause the stress response to kick in. Many people develop an overactive stress response and suffer from chronic or long term activation of the stress response system. They experience a constant flood of stress hormones such as cortisol which disrupts the body’s processes and puts us at increased risk of many health problems. Unfortunately, for many people, an overactive stress response has become their normal, resulting in long term devastating effects. Medical research estimates that 90% of illness and disease is stress-related.
Symptoms of an overactive stress response:
Here is a short list of symptoms of an overactive stress response and resulting health issues:
- Weight gain or loss
- Loss of appetite
- Memory difficulties.
- Inability to concentrate
- Emotional instability
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
- Muscle pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
Many people are at the effect of their stress response and may use food, alcohol, tobacco or drugs to try to manage their stress. They are unaware that they can change their stress response and the behaviour associated with it.
There are many rewards to managing our stress, and I am sure you can think of more.
- Weight control
- Peace of mind
- Improved mood
- Ability to focus
- Emotional stability
- Improved self-control
- Better digestion
- Healthier sleep patterns
- Less stress and anxiety
- Normalize blood pressure
- More energy
- Better relationships
- Successful careers
- Improved quality of life
We can all learn to manage our stress. Stress management coaching can help you to identify, assess and address the source of your stress in both your personal and professional life. It’s all about learning to turn those triggers and stressors off.
I became interested in stress management when I watched others suffer from the impact of stress, and then I became one of those people. I experienced stress on a personal level when I helped a family member navigate their illness. I was juggling my career needs and my families needs and then the insidious chronic stress and overwhelm crept in. It started impacting my health, my relationships, my career and even my finances. I decided enough is enough and embarked on a journey to learn how to manage my stressors.
After hundreds of hours of gaining knowledge through reading and taking courses, I learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. We CAN manage our stress response, and it can be easier and faster than you would think. I now support clients who are ready to kick their stressors to the curb and make the positive changes they have been earning for. They are thrilled to make their stress free life a new reality and experience the freedom and joy that goes with it. They experience a positive impact on their health and career, their relationships and even their finances.
I was tired of repeating cycles in my life and felt I was missing something about myself and had tried many other ways to find clarity about myself and building the life I wanted. I trusted Simone to help me on this change and journey. It took courage and self-compassion to ask myself the questions I needed to, but learning about and recognizing my subconscious truths literally set me free! Within days of starting the program, family and friends and colleagues noticed a difference in me and how I approached things. I was more focused, more relaxed and so much more accepting and loving towards myself, more open, driven and communicative than ever. Within a few months of completing the program, our company grew and exceeded our sales targets significantly, I made some remarkable personal life choices and this resulted in being surrounded by people that support me and my vision of the future. Every day I am excited to wake up, eager to face any challenges that might arise, to grow and better understand, and to connect deeply with others. This has been the best investment I have ever made in myself. I’m now living every day to make yesterday jealous!
Testimonial written by a President and CEO of a growing company.
For more information about stress management and how to create a stress-free life reach out and book a free 30-minute call with Simone at https://simoneusselmantod.com/book/
Stress Management and Mindset Breakthrough Coach
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Simone contributes to the Wild About Wellness Community online where members passionate about holistic health and wellness come together to share information, educate and contribute for the purpose of learning and growing. You are invited to explore the site with a free 1 month membership. Get your 1 month free membership HERE