Understanding Stress

Understanding Stress

Feeling closed in? 

Feeling locked up?

​Feeling overwhelmed?

​Being pessimistic?

​Sleeping poorly?

Frequently sick?

Forgetful or disorganised?

Avoiding responsibilities? 

Then you may be suffering from mental fatigue or even chronic stress.

Living in stress is living in survival mode. They are one and the same. Stress is when our body moves out of the normal homeostatic balance. When we react to something the body produces numerous chemical changes that alter the normal physiological/chemical order.

A stressor is something that disrupts the normal chemical balance of the body. And the stress response is what the body does to re-establish normal homeostatic balance.

The human being is basically an animal, and like all animals, the stress response is built into the body. It is there to save us from danger. For example, the deer notices a predator ready to attack. The deer’s body goes into stress mode. The Sympathetic Nervous System is switched on. Heart rate and blood pressure is increased, blood goes to the limbs in order to run, eyesight and hearing become enhanced. The deer flees running as fast as it can, outmanoeuvring its predator as it goes.

Once the deer has escaped, and the threat is no longer there, the body then calms, the Parasympathetic Nervous System takes over, the blood which was in the limbs now returns to the organs. The stress response is a good thing in short spurts and animals use it well. Humans, on the other hand, do not use this system well. In far too many cases the Sympathetic Nervous System is switched on and left on.


In short, it is important to understand that how we react to our environment or how we think in response to some past, present or future moment that may be stressful, is responsible for most of the ailments both physical and emotional from which we suffer.

When we repeatedly and chronically place ourselves in high-stress mode, or when we are hyper-vigilant in looking for stressors that may affect us at some future point (anxiety), we engage the body’s emergency response to stress all the time. Being continually on high alert or in emergency mode does not give the body time or the resources necessary to repair and regenerate itself.

Recent estimates indicate that as many as 90% of all the people seeking medical care are doing so because of stress-related disorders. More and more researchers are establishing links between physical illnesses and extreme emotional conditions and reactions.

Uncontrolled reactions to the stressors in our lives lead to other emotional problems like anger, anxiety, depression, harming of the self or others and the deterioration of our relationships.

Among the other primary functions that can be affected by stress, one of the most crucial is our immune system. Once that system is compromised or shuts down completely, we’re unable to fight invaders like bacteria and viruses (like COVID), so we can be ravaged by infections and dogged by illness. In particular, we can suffer from immune-mediated diseases like allergies, infectious influenza, even Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Our immune system cannot detect early tumour cells and discard them, when we are fighting an emergency elsewhere requiring all our energy. Cancer cells can reproduce rapidly when the immune system is shut down in response to constant stress. Quite simply, the more we negatively react to the stressors in our lives, the more frequently we get sick, and the effects of a compromised immune system show up in many forms.

Recent evidence suggests that cortisol, one of the chemicals produced during the stress response, is responsible for degenerating brain cells in the hippocampus. This organ is responsible for helping us form new memories and acquire new knowledge. If we damage the neurological machinery that craves new things, we end up craving routine instead of novelty. We cannot learn, make new memories, and explore new adventures, because the organ that makes new memories is breaking down. This breakdown of neurons in the hippocampus reverts us to doing only what is familiar and avoiding what is unknown. This condition triggers mental illness such as depression, anxiety, Dementia and Alzheimer’s.


Stress increases our blood sugar levels by alerting the output of the pancreas, the liver and other storage mechanisms. When the body is subjected to chronic stress, the blood sugar levels are repeatedly increased, and the insulin levels lowered. Adult onset of diabetes as well as obesity can come from this stressful conditioning. 

Now let us take a look at the various symptoms of stress. It is important for you to become familiar with the symptoms of stress. When you notice days symptoms rising from within the body then you can devise plans of action so the these symptoms don’t get out of control. Below is at least of the various types of symptoms thank you my experience.

Emotional symptoms:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others


Physical symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth


Cognitive symptoms:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side


Behavioural symptoms:

  • Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviours, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

What types of things can be done to lessen your reactions to the stressors in your life. 

  • Becoming aware of the symptoms of stress and mental fatigue. 
  • Manage your time better. Become a scheduler. 
  • Learn to delegation
  • Improving your communication with others.
  • Exercise more. Get in contact with Matt Mazzaferro and his team at Live Well for help in this area. https://livewellfitness.com.au/  
  • Get at least 7 hours Sleep every night.
  • Healthy eating. Get in contact with Kathy Ozakovic from Crozy Nufit to find out the best foods to eat. https://www.crozynufit.com.au/
  • Reduce Stimulant intake e.g. caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and others. 
  • Laugh once a day
  • Reduce your news viewing. Only negative to be seen there. 
  • Check out the benefits of cold therapy. Strengthen the immune system in the process. 
  • Learn meditation, relaxation and focusing techniques. Train the mind and body to function correctly handling a variety of stressors with ease. 

Adrian Spear – Mind Management & Counselling runs 4 Lesson Stress Management & Wellbeing programmes for individuals. This programme is always slightly modified to suit each client. 

What are the benefits of such a programme?

  • Reduce of your negative reactions to the stressors in your life. 
  • Strength your immune system.
  • Improve your health.
  • Increase your productivity.
  • Enhance your communication with others.
  • Build stronger relationships.
  • Bring back calmness. 
  • Gain full control of your life once more. 

Organise a FREE 10-minute Discovery chat to see if this service is right for you. 

CALL NOW: 0405 391 110

Or email: adrian@apspear.com