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                    STRESS AND ANXIETY

                  his chapter will      WHAT IS STRESS?
                  highlight some        Stress is an everyday fact of life. Before you can start managing your
                                        stress, you need to understand what stress is.
                                          Stress is the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet
                                        this challenge.
        Twhich you may                    Walter B. Cannon, a physiologist, described it as a number of biochemical

        find helpful in terms of        changes that prepare a person to deal with threats or danger. The human
        minimising the impact           body prepares itself by activating the nervous system and releasing
                                        hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which increase the speed of your
        of stress and anxiety,
                                        heart, breathing, metabolism and blood pressure. Blood is directed away
        thereby increasing
                                        from your extremities and digestive system in to the larger muscles that
        your resilience.                can help you to fight or run.

                                                This stress response happens regardless of
                                                  whether the threat is real or perceived.

                                                ● These changes are intended to be temporary to enable us to
                                                   handle the stressful situation we are in. The body then needs
                                                   to return back to its normal relaxed state.
                                                ● Constant stress however causes the body to remain in a
                                                   stressed state for prolonged periods of time, and this has a
                                                   significant negative impact on our health.

                                               WHAT CAUSES STRESS?
                                            A major cause of stress is change, even a change that we look forward
                                           to; for example moving house raises stress. When diagnosed or on
                                        treatment for a chronic illness you have to deal with more change than
                                        most people. Adjusting to changes of lifestyle, medical treatment etc, in
                                        addition to coping with the physical and emotional effects of your illness,
                                        is stressful, and will impact on your relationships.

                                         Whether the stress you experience is the result of major life
                                         changes or the accumulative effect of minor every day worries,
                                         it is how you interpret and respond to these experiences that
                                         determine the exact impact stress will have on your life.

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