...is a natural response of the body and in the short term can be positive, helping us perform better, for example hitting that work deadline.
The problems start when it becomes prolonged or chronic. We have all experienced feeling stressed, but I wonder how many of us are aware of the affects long term stress can have on the body and mind. This can lead to affects such as fatigue, insomnia, heartburn, IBS, head-aches, migraine, and muscular pain and tension. It can also have a negative impact on reproductive health, affecting menstrual cycles in women, causing erectile dysfunction in men and reducing fertility in both men and women. Chronic stress also suppresses our immune system meaning the body is less able to fight off illnesses. Prolonged stress can also affect our mental health, increasing the risk of developing anxiety and depression.
Stress can also increase our blood pressure and affect our blood glucose balance.
As you can see, if you are experiencing chronic stress, it’s important to take steps in order to reduce it. I’ve got some top tips below to try.
Regular exercise . . . it could be a team sport, running, walking or yoga, but choose something you enjoy
Increase contact with friends and family . . . who doesn’t feel better after having a coffee and a chat with your mates!
Do something creative . . . it could be painting, knitting, singing or crochet. All are good for the soul!
Eat healthily . . . a healthy diet will nourish our bodies and ensure it’s better equipped to deal with the stress
Get a good night sleep . . . if we don’t sleep well, our bodies find it harder to cope with any stress
Meditation . . . there are quite a few mindfulness apps now such as Headspace and Calm that you may want to try
Write down three things each day you are grateful for . . . this helps concentrate your mind on the positives of life rather than the negatives
Reduce caffeine . . . this is a stimulant which increases the stress hormone cortisol. Try a nice herbal tea instead
Reduce or stop smoking . . . there are far too many health benefits to even begin to list here
Reduce alcohol intake . . . whilst it can seem to make us more relaxed, in the long term it can lead to feeling of depression and anxiety.
Perhaps give some of these a try. Your body and mind will certainly thank you!
Karen – Cheshire Clinical Reflexology