” The effects of stress on the body are so far-reaching that no organs remain unaffected and there are few diseases which are not made worse by stress. Tension and anxiety produce physiological changes in the body and those changes are in the long run often harmful” - Dr. Vernon Cole (Overcoming Stress)
Some of the things that happen to us physically when we are stressed are:
Demand for oxygen increases
Adrenalin is produced.
We begin to perspire
Heart and pulse rate increases and breathing becomes quick and shallow
Blood pressure rises
Important note to Women – increase in adrenalin = decrease in our female hormones. This could be why stress is so often implicated in irregular monthly cycles and even some cases of unexplained sub-fertility.
Note to all – Adrenalin is an important hormone but increased production over a prolonged period is very damaging to our health and amongst other things can lead to lowered immunity. To find out more visit this site
Of course, not all stress is bad and a little stress can even be good for us – we all know that a little pressure at work can sometimes make us more efficient. BUT prolonged and repeated periods of stress are actually extremely detrimental to our health as we can see from the list below.
Note – the occasional bout of any of these is pretty normal….but when they occur regularly then they are possibly due to excess stress.
Symptoms of Stress
Physical symptoms : Indigestion, lack of appetite, feelings of panic, racing heart, PMT, constipation/diarrhoea, insomnia, headaches, overeating, increased alcohol consumption, frequent crying, fatigue, dizziness, high blood pressure…..
Emotional Sypmtoms : Apathy, memory loss, indecisiveness, anxiety, poor self-esteem, fears/phobias, guilt about the past, feelings of failure, no sense of humour, suppressed anger….
Stress is everywhere and it is pretty unavoidable and so the important thing is how we learn to cope with stress – our coping mechanisms are paramount. We are all so different and what causes one person to get stressed may not have the same effect in someone else. Similarly our coping mechanisms are going to be very different.
Quite often we do not realise that we are stressed so it is important to be able to recognise some of the physical signs of a stressful situations and do a little damage control.
I am going to post about the different ways we can De-stress and take time out for ourselves but very briefly here is one very quick idea for an instant stress release during the day.
Instant Stress Release
Go somewhere relatively private for just 2 or 3 minutes.
Sit or stand and close your eyes gently.
As you take a deep breath in, consciously tighten all the muscles in your body, slowly moving up from your feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, stomach, arms, chest, jaw, face and forehead..
Now as you breath slowly out, release all of these muscles..
Repeat again twice.
Now..as you open your eyes and prepare to move on with your day, do a final check -
Are your shoulders down and relaxed..check they are not up near your ears or feeling tight..In fact roll them up and down once..
Now your face and jaw - Smile a couple of times, open and close your mouth. Your face should feel relaxed and your jaw relaxed ( teeth unclenched).
You are ready to carry on, calmly with your day.
During the middle of the day, when time is perhaps short, this is a great quick way to release tension and help to stop stress affecting your health.
If you have a very quiet and a little more private room there is a lovely 3 minute breathing exercise here .
Please leave me your comments, tell me what makes you stressed and what you do to cope with it.