What’s stress all about?


Having moved to Tasmania from Darwin, Northern Territory some 3 years ago, I’ve got mixed notions on stress and how it affects people in Tasmania.

One of my first experiences of someone else’s “stress”, was in the first few weeks of arriving to Hobart. It somehow appears my slow driving caused some frustration to another driver, and in return for my “safety”, I received a strong, outstretched, fully extended arm and an intensely raised middle finger pointing to the heavens…….God help me I thought.

It reminded me of the “road rage” terminology, which I originally learned from the road rage capital of Australia, Gold Coast Queensland, in my teenage years. Although, when I say stress, I guess in this instance I’m talking about someone’s anger at wanting to ring another driver’s neck, so as not to be late for the 9-5 job that he/she “hates”.

It seems anger follows anger….although isn’t it “better out then in”? What’s that saying “Therapy is nice….but screaming f*#k at the top of your lungs for 10 seconds, is a lot faster and cheaper”……
Now I’m definitely not prescribing the above technique, and if you do, be sure no children are close by and that your neck has been fully stretched, to avoid passing on scripts to children and adding neck injuries to a list of crappy things that have happened in the day, along with the slow driver that made you late for work.

Being an Acupuncture Practitioner and not a psychologist, I can’t recommend the screaming technique outlined above, because there are other ways to address the issue. You see in Chinese Medicine stress, anger, frustration, irritation, itching, headaches and sometimes ringing in the ears and the Liver are ALL related.

In stress, it’s the Liver that is somehow not “relaxed” or not running smoothly. It’s the Liver that is responsible for the smooth circulation of your daily energy levels and blood circulation. And this somewhat closely aligns with the western medical model, because it’s the liver that cleans the blood, stores glucose and produces bile for the Gall bladder to store. And what happens if your Glucose metabolism and bile secretions aren’t running effectively? Glucose gives you energy and Bile helps break down your fats for energy also, so we have an energy problem…..

If we don’t have enough energy to deal with daily problems, work and family problems, we are more likely to get stressed as it overwhelms us.
So obviously, being slightly biased, I choose principles associated to Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine over to the screaming technique, as the anger is usually a symptom of a root cause or issue, such as the unbalanced functioning of the liver or associated problems.

Just a different perspective to consider….others know the benefit of meditation, exercise, qi gong, tai chi, stretching, dancing……and some even might use moderates amount of drinking to reduce stress. And it’s really interesting to see how different people manage their stress, but that’s different to the idea of facing physiological stress like cold water (as discussed in this article).
How do you manage your stress in Tasmania? What usually “gets to you” you in daily life and how do you deal with it? I would love to see some comments if you have a few seconds to join in on the conversation.
Thanks for reading.

Chad Wuest

Acupuncturist in Hobart TAS

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