Stress on the Tube

Underground can be stressful … Would you ever imagine that taking a trip on the London underground could be more stressful than going into battle as a fighter pilot or confronting a charging crowd as a policeman in full riot gear? Well its true, in fact its ‘extremely stressful’… A recent survey part-funded by technology firm Hewlett Packard, reveals 80% of passengers feel stressed whilst travelling on the tube and while a fighter pilot or a riot policeman has a choice to turn around; tube passengers are stuck inside a giant metal worm racing through the ground with no choice but to grin and bear the journey whether they want to or not. On average a commuter would spend 3 hours a day travelling to and from work. That’s 15 hours a week, which is 750 hours per year, which comes to 31.25 days a year…that means one can spend a whole month of their year doing nothing but commuting. Studies have found that people enter a near zombie state of mind in which they forget whole periods of the journey. The stress is just too much and while trapped in inescapable confinement, the mind literally switches off to combat itself against the stress of the journey and the anger it creates. How often do you subconsciously ‘psyche’ yourself up before entering its subterranean world? Mentally preparing yourself for the discomfort of an overcrowded journey is enough to send anyone’s blood pressure soaring. The London underground is a dangerous place indeed. With 100-150 suicide deaths a year its easy to see why. As the blood pressure soars, the link...

Emotional Icebergs

Emotions can hit like a storm — out of the clear blue. And the raw intensity can be upsetting and leave you wondering what’s wrong with you. You think, “Oh I must be stressed.” That may be true, but here may be another reason why your emotions get so out of whack. That reason is likely an iceberg belief. It’s a thought or belief you have — about the world, yourself, the way people should act — that even you may not be aware of. It sits just below the surface and looms large enough that it gets in your way without you realising it. They’re called icebergs because only the tip is in our conscious awareness. The rest lies under water, below the level of awareness. Like a real iceberg, these thoughts can be difficult to steer around and can even sink the ship. They’re developed in childhood, before you’re even aware of them. And for the most part you take them for granted, and don’t realize they’re causing stress. But they are. How to Spot an Iceberg Belief One easy way to know one is that it includes “must” or “should” as in, “I must be the perfect parent,” or “if someone loves me, he should let me do whatever I want.” There are three different categories of iceberg beliefs, representing the different worlds or areas you occupy in your life: The achievement world includes school, work/career, official or unofficial roles at our church, your kid’s school, community boards. The people in this world are your teachers, bosses, colleagues and others involved in community activities. EXAMPLES: “Failure is a sign of weakness.”...

When Stress is good for you?

According to Mike Fisher’s ‘Beating Anger’ book, there are two forms of stress, eustress and distress, healthy and potentially destructive. While most of us see stress in negative terms, a small amount of it helps us achieve a high performance and can actually be good for health. High flying executives working in high pressures jobs strive on eustress and wouldn’t choose to live without it. It motivates people to do their very best and triggers an alarm in their subconscious if they aren’t working to their peak performance. It could even be argued that eustress is fundamental for living fully. Without it our lives could become meaningless. We wouldn’t care about goals or overcoming challenges. Without eustress we may not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Eustress? Eustress has become a term used to describe the feeling of, for example, inheriting a large sum of money or receiving an unexpected promotion. Imagine you won the lottery… For the next few months you will be under eustress as you decide what to do with your millions. It’s the kind of stress you’ll gladly welcome with open arms, as you decide what to invest in first. Eustress motivates you to be more than you ever imagined. Eustress is winning the promotion and then having to deliver the goods. Eustress is the stress of winning and achieving, while destructive stress on the other hand, is distress. It’s related to being overwhelmed, becoming depressed and not coping. Distress de-motivates us, wear and tears us down and can lead to chronic exhaustion. Unchecked distress leads to fatigue (chronic stress), which...

Depression and Aggression

It’s common practice to greet friends, colleagues and family with the opening question, ‘How are you today?’ More often than not we reply with the short answer, ‘OK’. Even if you are feeling depressed, would you admit it? If you are feeling sad or miserable; is it common to share these feelings? More often than not, we are prone to answer ‘OK’ rather than be open about our inner emotions But is it healthy to keep such emotions bottled up? Can depression lead to aggression? In its mildest form depression can mean just being in low spirits. To its most extreme, it makes you feel suicidal. Being depressed doesn’t stop you leading a normal life. Thousands of sufferers carry on with life regardless, with the only symptoms being mood swings, bouts of annoyance and feelings of hopelessness. Aggression makes an appearance as a consequence of depression. It’s there under the surface ready to show its head in the most unwanted of occasions. How often do you see mild mannered individuals grimace for no apparent reason? Or clutch their fists tight or even hit the wall or kick an object out of sight? Whether it’s uncontrollable anger towards oneself or outward aggression toward others, whether a person or object, it’s clinically proven that depression and aggression run hand in hand.   What to look out for? Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, though common threads do appear across the board. Feelings of sadness and gloom can either make you sleep too much or not sleep enough. If your sleeping pattern is being disturbed, it’s a sign. Do simple...

Alcohol and Anger

When you think of alcohol-induced violence or aggression, you probably associate it with beer-swilling hooligans or hardcore spirit drinkers, but according to Mike Fisher, founder of the British Association of Anger Management (BAAM), wine is just as big a problem. Increased levels of drinking – wine or any other kind, says Fisher, is partly to blame for lower self-esteem and problems within relationships. But it’s not just about having the occasional heated argument, alcohol can lead to more dangerous behaviour. “Alcohol is often considered a prerequisite for a good night out and plays a significant role in British social culture, but it is also involved in half of all reported murders, rapes and assaults*.” While a glass of red or white can make you feel tipsy and jolly, it also affects your ability to think and make decisions causing you to misunderstand a situation and respond differently. “Alcohol significantly impairs brain function,” says Fisher. “Speaking scientifically, it suppresses the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increases the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.” Your thoughts and reactions become slower. “People are more likely to misread social cues and have an inability to consider the consequences of actions that they may well regret when in a sober state of mind.” While for many of us this might not result in extreme anger, for people who have a tendency towards anger it could prove risky. “Alcohol definitely intensifies the expression of emotions and thus can heighten anger,” says Fisher. However, adds Fisher, his experience indicates that alcohol also ‘makes’ people angry who don’t necessarily have a tendency towards anger. Furthermore research published in the Journal of Experimental...

Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem is a topic that is discussed amongst young people and in schools, but it often goes un-noticed outside of these environments. Whilst government advisors, educators, mental health experts and psychologists all agree that self-esteem is extremely important to our wellbeing, it’s not something often talked about. Those with high self-esteem tend to be more motivated in day-to-day tasks, have the ability to handle criticism, are able to take responsibility for their actions, take pride in their achievements and take control of their lives. Whilst people with low self-esteem might also be able to carry out many of the feats listed above, studies show that people with high self-esteem will on average perform more effectively and be happier. One of the main issues surrounding Self-esteem is the negative stigma that is often portrayed. Many people believe that having low self-esteem means that you suffer from depression – in reality, this is far from the truth, and causes people to worry unnecessarily about their mental health. Provoking Environment Self-esteem is prominent amongst children, and youngsters that do not view themselves as “perfect”, may show signs of developing low self-esteem. In today’s society image is so important, and whether you agree with it or not, kids are trying to look like their idols. Whether this means fasting to lose weight, spending money to appear rich, getting tattoos and piercings to look cool – the signs of low self amongst teenagers are everywhere, and it’s a worrying trend that needs addressing. Individuals in an unhappy relationship may also experience feelings of low self-esteem. Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, disgust, anger & disappointment...
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