Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Avoiding the Crash

I was stopped at the intersection on a busy highway, awaiting the advanced left turn signal. The light changed and I started to proceed through the intersection. Fortunately, I noticed the rapidly-approaching truck and came to a halt. At the last minute, the driver managed to stop, but not without fishtailing into the intersection with a squeal of brakes.

It was a close call. My body immediately responded to this potential threat to my life. My heart was pounding, my stomach did that loopy-di-loop and I was shaky. If I had glanced in the mirror, I probably would have seen dilated pupils and noticed a pallor to my skin. I knew enough to debrief myself by celebrating that an accident was averted and giving thanks that nothing happened.

Did you know your body goes through this same process based on what you are thinking and feeling? It may not be as obvious as in my near-miss, but the flight or fight response does get activated. Over time, without techniques in place to transform the effects of this constant activation, you re-educate your nervous system, so it takes less and less to activate. You may notice that this has begun to affect your mental, emotional and physical health.

Researchers now know that stress is linked to a number of medical conditions.If you live with a chronic medical condition, Google the name of your condition, plus "stress". Surprised? By learning to treat the cause of your stress, not just the symptoms, you can do a lot to help yourself.

If you have no medical conditions, but suspect that stress is beginning to rule your life, avoid the crash and learn some techniques that will be of benefit to you as you travel the highways of life.

Image courtesy of Chris Chidsey.

4 comments:

  1. Except for short drives within our more or less gentle neighbourhood, I have stopped driving. I simply take an autorickshaw or a taxi. Saves a lot of tension while driving and also in finding parking places.

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  2. Yes Rummuser, you are right but.....going around public transport like autos and rickshaws, when you have several kids, is stressful in a different way. I've just come in from an evening doing just that and I would say that my stress levels are up....

    Great post Marianna. I enjoy your insights and words of wisdom..

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  3. Ramana,
    How far would you go by autorickshaw?

    Thanks, Gaelikaa.

    Reminds me of my days as a teacher and taking a class on a field trip!

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  4. Up to 30 Kms is no sweat. For longer distances, I do take a car, but hire a driver for the day or take a cab for the day. When I go out of town, I take a plane or a train and use local autorickshaws or taxis.

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