From "Transform" A Personal Evolution
Transforming Stress and Anxiety into Strong Personal Power

Stress, anxiety, panic attacks and even mild-moderate depression all have common roots.  To best illustrate this, I will begin with the true story of a 39 year old women, who I will refer to as M.S. . . .

M. S. was always a worrier. She attributed her overwhelm, mood swings and fatigue to being depressed.  Her husband was successful.  They had a beautiful home and 3 beautiful children, yet she was always worried that something would happen.  If one of the kids got sick, she would think the worse.  If her husband came home late, she would think the worse.  This drained her of her energy and spirit.  It affected the relationship she had with her husband and the children.  She could not sleep.  She was eating and drinking the wrong things.  She was constantly thinking complex thoughts, usually negative, intense and not necessarily true. 

She also had moments when she experienced panic and being out of control. 

M. S. had anxiety,….only she did not know it. 

Understanding the truth about stress, gives rise to the ability to “prevent”life stresses from taking over your life.  In order to do this, one has to understand how the human brain works.

What happens when you put too much data into your personal computer (our body’s mind/brain equivalent)?  There is only so much room for file storage space.  The system gets overloaded and its ability to further function is compromised…it “crashes”.  What happens when you over work, and do not maintain a machine (an equivalent to our body)?  Eventually it breaks down and “crashes” also.  The human mind and body system functions in many ways similar to a computer and machine.

The mind/brain is responsible for sending signals to the body, giving it messages about what it needs to do next.  A mind/brain system that is overwhelmed will send “over-whelmed signals” to the body. The body acknowledges these “stressed” signals and begins to experience overload (stress).

This appears in the form of increased blood pressure, heart rate and respirations, headaches, back and neck pain, diarrhea, stomach pains, etc.  As well, the immune system will become compromised, putting us at greater risk for infections (colds, flu, pneumonia, etc.)  or more serious illnesses (diabetes, heart attack, cancer, etc.)  The mind/brain response to “stress” is emotional and physiological in nature.  Those symptoms include worrying, nervousness, upset, irritability, fatigue, trouble sleeping, to name a few.

As the degree and amount of stress increases, people begin to experience “anxiety”.  Symptoms of anxiety are excessive stress and worry, restlessness, feeling keyed up, being on edge, feeling tense, tired with difficulty sleeping, feeling irritable, angry and upset, difficulty controlling thoughts, forgetfulness, worries about health, not feeling in control/losing control

of life and sometimes, panic attacks.  Symptoms of a “panic attack include” a sudden onset of fear, trouble breathing, intense chest pain, palpitations, a sense of loosing control of your body and often the belief that something catastrophic (e.g. heart attack, stroke, death) will happen. 

Ongoing unresolved stress, anxiety and panic can lead to “depression”.  Symptoms of depression are: feelings of sadness, irritability, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in weight or appetite, changes in sleep pattern, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, inability to concentrate or remember things or make decisions, fatigue, loss of energy, restlessness, decreased activity, complaints of aches and pains, for which there is no medical explanation, and thoughts of death or suicide.

 We often can not change or control the source of our stresses (the boss, the demands of our job, busy family household with complicated life routines etc.) but we can learn to manage our thinking and mental processing of these issues and learn new healthier ways to live our lives that will allow us to better deal with life’s stressful situations.  This is the key to prevention.   By doing this I can guarantee you will improve the quality of your life as well as reduce the stress, anxiety, panic and depression in your life, as well as significantly influence positive changes with your family, friends, and work.

The following are several simple changes that can be made to your day to day life that will positively impact and help prevent stress, anxiety, panic attacks and mild-moderate depression. 

Be aware of what you are feeling.  Understand the symptoms are stress, anxiety, panic and depression related. 
2.  Talk to and share this information with people you trust and who make a difference in your life. 
3.  Get help, speak to your doctor for advice and  to ensure the symptoms are not medically based. 
4.  Lifestyle modification: increase exercise and decrease/eliminate substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, non-prescription drugs and high fat foods. 
5.  Speak to a counselor, take a course or read books on stress-anxiety management.