What is stress and when is it bad for you?
A certain amount of stress is healthy and helps to motivate and energise.
Unhealthy stress occurs when someone believes that they are incapable of meeting the demands placed upon them.
These demands are called ‘stressors’ and the effect on the mind and body in the form of wear and tear is stress.
Stress has been with the human race for millions of years. For example cave dwellers who relied on their ability to hunt for food were regularly exposed to dangers from other predators or the harsh environment in which they lived.
When faced with a threat or danger the body reacts immediately by releasing adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream, the heart beats faster and blood pressure rises rapidly. Blood is pumped to the muscles and brain causing a higher degree of alertness and readiness to fight or flee. This is the natural, automatic ‘fight or flight’ response, which is activated whenever someone is faced with a threat or an emergency.
This same ‘fight or flight’ response is still experienced by modern man whenever we encounter danger or any other situation or combination of situations over which we have no control or with which we believe we cannot cope. One key issue is that in today’s world we are exposed to more long lived stressors as opposed to the relatively short sharp stressors experienced by our ancestors.
In addition today’s stressors are typically not physically life threatening and so the level of physical and mental arousal which results from the ‘fight or flight’ response is inappropriate and if the stressors continue or we do nothing to manage them, then the mind and body can suffer significant damage.
Persistent exposure to stressful events results in mental and physical exhaustion and greater vulnerability to serious health problems.
So it is important to try to find ways to manage stress before it gets out of hand.
If you want to find out of you are susceptible to stress or are suffering from it now, answer the short questionnaire, which you can download here.
What can cause stress?
- Family and relationships
- Financial problems
- Environmental factors (e.g. traffic, crowded trains, polluted dirty cities)
Stress can manifest itself through many signs and symptoms. Some of the most common are:
|Emotional Symptoms||Physical Symptoms||Behavioural Symptoms||Mental Symptoms||Health Problems|
If you are experiencing any of the following please consider consulting your doctor.
- Loss of appetite
- Feel that life is not worth living
- Feel overwhelmed with anxiety
- Loss of energy
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Stomach pains
- Blurred vision
What can you do to manage stress?
- Change thought patterns to replace unhealthy rigid and illogical thoughts with healthier, logical helpful alternatives
- Learn some relaxation techniques (e.g. progressive relaxation)
- Learn some rapid relaxation techniques (e.g. activating peripheral vision)
- Learn visualisation or breathing techniques
- Learn self-hypnosis
- Take regular exercise (exercise releases endorphins)
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and change your eating habits
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Stop smoking
Complementary therapies can help you manage stress
As well as Hypnotherapy and Reiki you can try other therapies to see which work best for you.
Some other recommended therapies are:
- Regular therapeutic massage