STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
1 – STRESS
It is important to identify the causes behind our emotions. Only then will we understand the manner in which emotions translate into chemical substances, which affect our immune system, in other words, how much our spirit (mind) preys on our body. Stress is not a disease but a mechanism of adaptation to the hazards of life. It is a question of negative emotions generating toxic, destructive substances, which deeply infiltrate the body while disturbing the equilibrium of the vital energy. As with any negative emotions, stress decreases, if only temporarily, our resistance to illness; our body must use its reserves to confront the emergency. These secretions cause deterioration of the blood vessels, creating spasms along the arterial walls. Stress is at the origin of psychological and/or physiological illnesses such as arteriosclerosis, organ ageing, skin dryness, and the cellular loss (wastage) of vitamins and mineral salts….
Stress is part of life. Shocks, aggressions, changes, conflicts, hostile environments, which overburden or disturb our equilibrium, are some of the situations to which the subject has to adapt today, bearing greater or lesser consequences on his future equilibrium. Shock, “trauma creating perturbation within the organism” is, by definition, an event or a new situation erupting in one’s life. The “passages” are changes that have social or psychological characteristics. The individual must suddenly create an image of himself and a set of definitions, which do not correspond to those he had already gradually elaborated. He is, thus, in the midst of a rupture and in quest of a new identity. Actual events bring changes which, although they could be happy or foreseeable, may still generate stress. Environmental factors could also create stress.
THE THREE PHASES
The stress phenomenon is generally divided in three phases.
THE ALARM PHASE
Shocked or maltreated, the individual petitions his resources to enable him to adapt. Great quantities of energy (hormone secretions) are then mobilized. Shock leads to an acceleration of the cardiac rhythm, to a fall in blood pressure and to a drastic decrease in muscle tone. In a state of alarm, the body responds to shock and adapts to the trauma. Tension and muscular contractions increase. He suffers from gastric problems, headaches… The subject is facing the situation.
THE RESISTANCE PHASE
The individual resists but his energy reserves are on the decline. His body, before it could restore its equilibrium, is unable to recover the energy expended during the traumatic phase. New functional pathologies give rise to anxiety, psychosomatic reactions, etc. The subject continues to face the situation, but under tension.
THE EXHAUSTION PHASE
The situation persists. The individual is exhausted. Adaptation is no longer possible. Stress becomes chronic and translates into pathological, organ and psychological dysfunctions. The individual can no longer face the situation. Even if, beforehand, we are all endowed with the means by which we could face a demand for effective adaptation, it is not given to everyone to access these resources. Giving the individual the means to reach these resources is one of the goals of The Emotional Coaching.
2 – ANXIETY
Anxiety is an irrational fear due to conditioning. Often there is no concrete, tangible danger. Conditioned responses could be questioned. Anxiety is not an immobile and definitive condition, but a fluctuating one; it offers moments of respite. We are often confronted by irrational beliefs. The individual lives his anxiety as something immutable: “I am like that.” No other behavior is contemplated. Anxious anticipation allows the resolution of the problem in an illusory manner. Thinking of an event in negative rather than realistic terms prevents the realization of the event and the necessary detachment to express one’s competence. In other terms, such conditioning condemns the resolution of the problem to failure and separates the individual from his resources. Anxious anticipation allows you not to be disappointed in the event of failure; when we only see doom and gloom, we believe we can manage the future… Except that, protecting yourself from the worst does not allow you to avoid it, and the cause for anxiety, inherent to the situation, is only reinforced. The Emotional Coaching is there to help you change.
3 – DEPRESSION
There is no pre-established model of depression. The construction of a depression is necessarily multi-factorial. Any trouble results from a dysfunctional adaptation of an individual to a reality difficult to endure. Depression is a response to adaptation, to defense, to protection… It is favored or generated by various factors:
- Biological vulnerability;
- Psychological vulnerability;
- Socio-psychological vulnerability (solitude, financial worries…);
- Stress factors, life’s events.
The major characteristics of depression organize themselves in a vicious circle, which perpetuate and develop psychological difficulties:
- Moral is low – discouragement, feeling uncomfortable in one’s self – confirmed by psychological manifestations (loss of energy, lack of sleep…).
- Loss of interest – towards the environment, others, limited search for pleasures;
- Gloomy outlook – pessimism, culpability, feelings of inferiority, leading often, of course, to attempts at self-destruction;
- Trouble in focusing – difficulty in maintaining focus, to concentrate, to rationalize (reason);
- Disturbed sleep – difficulty in falling asleep, insomnia, very poor sleep quality;
- Poor eating habits – eating too little (reinforcing weakness, low performances…), over-eating (reinforcing guilt, lack of self-esteem…);
- Loss of energy – tiredness, fatigue, provoking a marked decrease in will power.
All of this feeds the impression of personal ineffectiveness and of being incapable of moving in the direction of improvement. Any change stems from training. The success of training is determined by the individual’s capacity to let go, in other words, to free him from these conditionings, determinisms, traumas….
In the face of stress, anxiety and depression, The Emotional Coaching suggests relaxation. Leaving the dysfunctional cognitive and behavioral schemes will allow you to envisage the alternatives and behaviors that seemed, until then, impossible. Indeed, relaxation opens the individual to the knowledge of his tensions and teaches him to regulate them, in other words, it makes him aware of the conditions which he is experiencing.
Relaxation rehabilitates some parts of the body that were asleep or rendered mute, and facilitates the usage of the resulting expendable energy and tensions. It develops a positive awakening of the body, a calm exploration of the flesh…, contrary to the Judeo-Christian diktat, which prescribes that the experience of the flesh be attained in the exaltation of suffering or during intense pleasure; it proposes a serene and fulfilling encounter. It is not a question of an instinctive or spontaneous meeting, but that of an experience lived in full conscience, in a presence in the world denuded of all tensions or personal will. To put it simply, just being there. To feel comfortable in one’s own skin will encourage the evidence of a well-adjusted attitude toward the perturbing elements. Consequently, the personality of the individual will be reinforced; self-confidence will be, in part, recovered….