The A Word: The greatest weapon against stress

This month’s blog is somewhat more serious than my usual style. It’s also very late! My creative writing skills have been missing, but here’s hoping they’ve returned, or this may be a dull read.

During a recent TV interview, Prince Harry said he’d lived most of his childhood in flight-or-fight mode.  I found these comments interesting as I was in the process of researching this physiological response to fear as I’d experienced it recently.  I’m not going into detail; other than to say that my Dad recently died after an accident, and the last six weeks have been a bit of a blur.

Jamie and I were overseas when I first learned of Dad’s accident.  My body immediately went into fight or flight mode.  I didn’t realise it then, but this fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event we perceive as stressful or frightening. 

There are three stages of fight-or-flight: Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion, and it’s thought to be a healthy response by the body to help deal with a crisis.  It didn’t feel “healthy” to me at the time. Alarm is the initial response, an adrenal surge, to deal with the trauma. Resistance comes next when the significant ongoing stress causes the body to remain constantly primed for action. This stage can last for long periods.  This then leads to the final stage – exhaustion or burnout, which I think is where I am now.  It has also exacerbated my autoimmune disease.

The term “fight-or-flight” represents our ancient ancestors’ choices when faced with danger: to fight or flee. Either way, the response to stress prepares the body to react to the threat and is mostly considered good.  However, because the fight-or-flight response happens automatically, it can be inaccurate. Sometimes we respond in this way even when there is no real threat. This is because both real and imaginary threats can trigger the fight-or-flight response.  Phobias are good examples of how the fight-or-flight response might be falsely triggered, meaning people can live in this mode for much of their daily life. 

Constantly being in a state of fight-or-flight is incredibly harmful to our overall well-being. Imagine feeling stressed all the time, and the sad fact is that many people do. Fortunately, there’s much research aimed at helping people find ways to combat stress and live healthier, more productive lives. By learning more about the fight-or-flight response, health professionals have developed new ways to help people deal with their natural reactions to stress, positively affecting those who constantly suffer from stress and anxiety in their daily lives.

On a brighter note, we’re off on a walking holiday in a few weeks.  We’ve booked a self-guided trip in the mountain ranges of Andalusia with luggage transfer, so we’ll only have our day sacks to carry.  It’s a first for us, so I’ll write a travel blog on our return with our adventure’s ups and downs.  Jamie’s keen on Everest base camp next.  I’m keen to see how we get on in Andalusia first 😃

Before I leave, I thought I’d share a tactic I’ve recently learned which has helped my mind enormously.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.  It takes much practice, but you’ll get there in the end.”

Until next time..xx

Published by meadandrea

Blogger, writer, author, love to travel, photographer

2 thoughts on “The A Word: The greatest weapon against stress

  1. Beautifully written and resonates with me. Didn’t know you had a blog but will now look back and see what else you have posted. Well done Andrea x


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