Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stress Ball

I’m not surprised at the results of my stress test. I’ve been categorised under “your stress level is high. Many signs of stress. You’re likely a workaholic. Generally do not handle stress well”. The statement describes me frightingly well, except for the last sentence. I think I do handle stress quite well. I do indeed experience all the aspects of high stress but lately I have had the attitude of “just let it be”. I always thought this might me the wrong way to approach the situation, but I have been doing things to counter this stress, and these things were highlighted by Shameen. Just a few things I do: I try to smile a lot (most of the time it comes naturally but other times I should focus on doing this). I sing in traffic and smile at taxis and road hogs when they irritate me. I try to exercise when I can. I love my 8 hours sleep, and I look forward to weekends to socialise and be with my family/friends. But maybe Shameen should come back to give us the same session in our last week. I might be pulling my hair out by then.

Also, big thanks to Mr. Kalliatakis for his presentation on customer service. Not only did it educate me on the utmost necessity for good customer service, but it also made me realise how important my reaction is to customer service. I’m often the indifferent customer who will go to the closest and easiest place to buy or get my things done. Sometimes I am loyal to a company or I might complain about bad service, but this will only happen in extreme situations. After this session I’m going to change my attitude of being a habitual customer to one that gives constructive criticism to a company. Here is Mr. Kalliatakis’ website address to find out more information on customer service:


At 11:43 PM, Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Hiya Celeste...

Stress is handled in two ways: (1) psychologically, (2) physically.

Most of us can develop psychological coping mecahnisms for stress, and it is in this area where it's possible to accurately state, 'I handle stress well.'

However, on the physical front, no human being actually handles stress well.

Stress results in a complex set of chemical reactions that influence at least two subsystems in the body.

When we're stressed, our fight-or-flight response is triggered. When this happens, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to make it possible to utilise glucose to maximum effect.

The body then USES this glucose. Resulting in a short term 'high', followed by a fairly massive dip.

When the dip happens, food is needed. Most often, in a fast food world, it's going to be refined carbohydrates.

Which has its own effect. It introduces sugar into the body. And the pancreas then has to release more insulin. Which causes the uptake of blood sugar. Which causes the short high (a few minutes), which causes the dip, which causes the need to eat, etcetera.

Which has its own side effect in turn... insulin resistance. This means that the cells need MORE insulin in order to utilise glucose. Which means the pancreas is releasing too much insulin.

That's the ONE side of the physical side stress.

The other side is the hormonal effects. Under stress, our bodies release a stress hormone. (I don't have the details here, cos I wasn't taking diligent notes when I visited an endocrinologist.) When this hormone is released, two other hormones suffer -- testosterone (in men AND women), and another. Both of these are responsible for 'will to live'.

When we're consistently stressed, this stress hormone is produced consistently, and the others are under-produced. Resulting in mood swings, depression, low energy.

I really wish I had the details here. But hey.

The two subsystems link. The sugar side of the fight-or-flight situation ties into the production of the stress hormone. And you quickly tie yourself into a downward spiral.

Three solutions:

1. Cut out refined carbohydrates. The idea is to eat low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates such as seed loaf, apples. This stabilises the sugar and insulin cycle.

2. Exercise. This sorts out the hormonal side of things. It gives the brain a rest too.

3. Remove the source of the stress. It's dangerous stuff, stress. Cos even if you THINK you're handling it well psychologically, it's still there physically. So cut it out.

I hope this helps some.

Blue skies

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Celeste said...

Hey Roy

Thanks for the comment. I really needed to know that. Makes you realise that stress is a dangerous thing to ignore. Most of those aspects you've mentioned I don't obey, so clearly I don't have my stress under the control that I though I had. I will pay more attention to this.

P.S. If you quit your day-job you should become a doctor.


At 7:17 AM, Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Hehehehehehehe! Nah... don't wanna be a doctor. I prefer the role of urban shaman.

And my day job is a complex combination of me doing all sorts of artistic things for profit and gain. My motto: 'I live my art in prosperity and abundance.'

The reason I know all these things is that my own stress management skills haven't necessarily been up to scratch, even though I'm pretty self-aware.

I went off to an endocrinologist to find out about my own stress levels. A very eye-opening set of consultations, I must say. And all making perfect sense when you know it.

Look out for the following two buzzwords: glycaemic index (or, glycemic index), and glycaemic load (glycemic load).

Blue skies

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Justine said...

Hi sussa
Your results show:"your stress level is high. Many signs of stress. You’re likely a workaholic. Generally do not handle stress well”.
You dont' agree with last part of statement but it is kinda true.
Not nessesarily for you but I took part in a study in regards to stress, burn-out and compassion fatigue... all the things a psychologist cannot afford to have. We tested a "gagit" that keeps an eye on your breathing and helps you to breath more effectivly and in turn help you to cope better.
Found that the breathing does not erase your stress but helps you cope better and focus more.
You can borrow it if you want to see the affect on you.
I started off by talking about the handeling of stress and your comment... well the fact is that too much stress over long periods of time affects you physically and emotionally. Hence burn-out and other signs. Also remember some poeple do function better under stress such as writing exams - you do your best studying hours before but you do reach a point where your brain actually shuts down from too much work and stress. Again exams... hitting a blank...
Being a workoholic puts you in line to over work yourself and have burn out. It's like revving your car in the red all the time. For a while your car will drive fast and get you places but at some stage it will break!
So most important is to remember to gear down from time to time and do the silly little things like smiling at taxis. Sometimes you need to be in cruise control and grear down to fith..
And that is my professional opinion!
Love the site!


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