The Puzzle of Internal and External Stress

In 1936 the pioneering Hungarian endocrinologist Dr Hans Selye started to share with the world community his findings of experimental work he was doing on what he called,stress. He went onto explain that stress was … “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” When he spoke about stress at conferences around the world, certain languages did not have a word for stress at the time and had to create a new word for this concept.

“Stress, like Einstein’s theory of relativity, is a scientific concept which has suffered from the mixed blessing of being… Continue reading

The Stress of Negative Thinking

Yesterday I heard a very interesting interview with Lucinda Brogden a Commissioner on the Australian Mental Health Commission who was reporting on world-wide findings from an international Suicide Conference she had recently attended in Singapore.

She reported on a study of millennials in a progressive Asian country where there was a strong work ethic in their society. The individuals she reported on had all checked into a special needs centre as they were so stressed, they felt suicidal. Everyone felt compelled to check their smart phone 10 times on average each night during sleeping.

When asked why they felt so… Continue reading

Urban Myths and Stress

Certain behaviours that family, friends or colleagues have suggested to you as key ways to de-stress, may actually be creating more stress in your life. Check out what science has found out to be the truth about these urban myths.

  1. Enrolling Your Best Friend to Support you to De-Stress

Research has found that when males seek support from a male friend to talk through stressful matters that it may reduce their cortisol levels and hence help them to de-stress. It has been shown that in females, cortisol levels may increase with increased social support (Kirschbaum, et al1995; Shirtcliff et al,… Continue reading

Sleep, Weight, Cortisol and Stress

Most of my working life I have only needed four hours sleep a night with a ten or twelve hour catch up sleep every so often to keep me in balance.

As I commented two weeks ago I slept for four hours a night because my view of sleep was that it was a wasteful activity. Sleeping too long was something that robbed me of time and made my days shorter. I had so much to do and I have always been extremely passionate about my work.

As quality research continues to be published about the ill effects on our… Continue reading

Email Stress

Email has changed the way we do business. Long gone are the days when ‘snail mail’ arrived at your home or office, and in time, the letters were answered according to their level of importance and urgency.

The literature is now rich in studies regarding employees constantly reporting the stress that email is creating in the workplace.

A study in 2012 by Professor Tom Jackson from Loughborough University in the UK explored the physiological and psychological impact of email on employees at a UK government agency, using blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels and paper-based diaries as outcome measurement… Continue reading

Hack Your Brain to Harness Stress

At the Stress Management Institute we believe that using specific tools and strategies you can often harness “bad stress”, and change it, to create “good stress” that can enhance your life and your health.

Recently I read an article that runs parallel with the way we think about stress. My summary follows.

Prof Ian Robertson, Chair of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, and founder of the Universities Institute of Neuroscience, and author of The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper, said… “Channelling stress into a positive energy can radically improve performance and creativity, making people… Continue reading

Stress and Your Brain Activity

Feeling overwhelmed, sleeping poorly and recognising you are isolating yourself is a recipe for becoming stressed out.

Being over worked can cause chronic stress and this can affect your brain size, how it works and how it functions.

When you are stressed your brain reacts by activating the Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Adrenal (HPA) Axis which is the endocrine pathway from your brain to the adrenal glands which are located at the top of each kidney. The hormones secreted control your body’s reaction to stress. The hormone cortisol is released which primes your body for quick action.

Chronic stress creates… Continue reading

De-stress With Your Dog

Miho Nagasawa from Azabu University in Japan has recently reported that their research confirms that the bond between dogs and owners is similar to the bond of a mother and new baby.

The researchers have found that just by looking at each other, humans and dogs experience a spike in the “Happy Hormone” or “Bonding Hormone”, oxytocin. It’s the same hormone that surges in mothers and babies when they exchange looks, and has a role in maternal bonding and creating trust.

To find out what the hormone did, the researchers watched 30 owners play with their dogs for half an… Continue reading

Stress May Improve Memory

This is week two of our seven week series where we are exploring some new research findings that health psychologist Kelly McGonigal delivered in a TED Talk last year. The results of her findings moved her from the position of believing that stress is your enemy, to a position that you can make stress your friend.

When preparing for exams at school, college, university, or any exam preparation, no matter what it’s for, most people report that they feel a certain level of stress. Levels of stress experienced can range from mild for some to distress for others.

End of… Continue reading

How Relaxation Can Affect Your Weight

Three months ago I wrote a blog titled…Sleeping Away Your Stress and I commented on how important it is to get optimum sleep each night.

“Over the past year I have also been weighing myself every morning immediately on rising, and if I feel I haven’t slept enough and my body needs more recovery time, I climb back into bed for an hour or two more. Over the past twelve months I have observed a very interesting happening. If I decide that I need more sleep and jump back into bed and grab a bit more, I can lose anything… Continue reading

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