Stress awareness month

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

How does Stress impact your health & well-being?

Stress isn’t always a bad thing, it can be a useful tool to enable a person to push through a hard task or challenge, it can also be an exciting adrenaline rush to experience. Babies are born with the ‘fight or flight stress response‘, which is an automatic nervous system response, where the brain sends signals to other parts of the body to react immediately to avoid injury or harm. This teaches us that some form and level of stress is a part of life and that we can cope with low level stress automatically, with little negative impact.

Past experiences and environmental factors dictate what level of stress is acceptable for each individual, without it compromising health and well-being.  Therefore, what one person experiences as stressful may not be stressful to another.

Stress can be experienced in three main forms: Physical (injury and trauma to the body), Mental and Emotional. A highly stressful event or on- going stressful activity could compromise a persons ability to: take part in daily tasks, look after themselves and take joy and pleasure in general and more involved activities.

In this article we will highlight signs to look out for that indicate prolonged stress, that may take its toll on your long-term health and well-being.  It will also cover two therapies that can help you to feel de-stressed on a physical, mental and emotional level.

What happens to the body when you experience high levels of stress?

The Hypothalamus gland in the brain sends signals to the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, breathing becomes shallower and muscles tighten. This state is the ‘fight or flight stress response’ as mentioned above.

Once the event or activity has been completed or comes to an end, the body returns to resting state and normal functioning resumes. Stress becomes a problem for your well-being when it is identified as ‘Chronic Stress‘. This refers to a state of being when your mind and body are constantly in defence mode.

Chronic stress sends the whole body into disarray, it can suppress the immune system making you susceptible to viruses and infections, disrupt your digestive and reproductive system, affect your mental ability and memory and can leave you more prone to anxiety and depression. Unfortunately for some, these symptoms can become normal to experience and go unnoticed until they suddenly experience ill health at an extreme level that can’t be ignored.

Physical and Emotional signs of Chronic Stress:

Where these reactions or sensations go on for more than a few weeks, it’s a clear signal from your body to look at ways to address the cause and symptoms. A key element to managing your well-being is to look at your moods, changes in habits and fluctuating energy levels.

Making the time in your schedule to de-stress and relax is key. A highly effective way to do this is in the form of physical release of stress from the body, this can be achieved by having a course of therapeutic treatments such as Massage and Reflexology. Both treatments being fantastic tools to instigate the internal healing environment for mind and body.

Massage – benefits to help alleviate physical tension:

Massage has an overall de-stressing effect on the mind and body. The motion of massage promotes blood circulation which leads to oxygenation of the cells. This results in the body being in a better position to heal and rest. Other benefits are:

Reflexology – benefits to help de-stress

Similar to the benefits of massage – Reflexology helps the body to heal from the inside out. Reflexology is carried out via the  application of pressure point massage to reflex points found on the feet that correspond to each organ and system within the body. This increased circulation allows the build up of toxins to be released, the treatments themselves are highly relaxing and allow a person to enter into a deeper state of calmness.  This allows blood pressure to reduce, muscle tension is released and the mind has time to process and switch off from the noise and stresses that are occurring.

Other benefits of Reflexology treatments are:

De-stress

With or without chronic stress it is important to factor in time to look after your health and well-being.  It doesn’t have to be a strict overhaul to start with as this can add more pressure to existing schedules, however, monthly treatments of massage can help keep you on your toes, de-stress and give you the physical, mental and emotional strength to keep on top of stress so it does not turn into chronic illness.

 

Other useful links

Stress symptoms

Health line

St. Judes Clinic


 


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