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Health and Unmanaged Stress

Some people may show signs of stress in a stressful environment while others thrive. It’s important to understand our individual signs and symptoms of stress so that our physical and mental health isn’t affected. Some people try to hang in and tough out a situation they find stressful because another person in the same situation is thriving. However, everyone’s individual needs are different and stress must be managed.

Research indicates that chronic, unmanaged stress can be one of many factors in the development and/or exacerbation of a wide range of physical and psychological health problems. If you subject 100 people to chronic unmanaged stress, they may not all develop the same stress related disease because of genetic predisposition, exercise levels, diet and stress coping strategies.

Some conditions linked to unmanaged stress include, acne, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, back pain, arthritis, infertility, PMS, asthma, diabetes, drug addiction, herpes, headaches, migraine, epilepsy, ADHD, pain, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, angina pectoris, increased colds/flu, irritable bowel syndrome, smoking, eczema, slow wound healing, psoriasis, bipolar depression, insomnia, anxiety, depression, alcohol addiction, fibromyalgia.

By understanding your individual and unique signs and symptoms of stress, you can implement self-care strategies, so you can thrive, not simply survive. You’re also helping to ensure that good physical and mental health is maintained. Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 13 March 2018

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How Prolonged Stress Affects The Body

Prolonged stress takes its toll on all parts of the body and mind. Stress affects the body in different ways for different individuals. Some feel it more in their muscular system, others feel it in their digestive system while others feel it more in their respiratory system. When one system is affected by stress, it takes its toll on other systems of the body.

High stress levels may cause excessive hair loss and some forms of baldness known as alopecia. Spasmodic pains in the neck and shoulders, musculoskeletal aches, lower back pain and various minor muscular twitches and nervous tics are more noticeable under stress. Stress can cause or aggravate diseases of the digestive tract, including gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis and irritable colon.

Some individuals react to stress with outbreaks of skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Stress affects the reproductive system causing menstrual disorders and recurrent vaginal infections in women and impotence and premature ejaculation in men. High levels of mental or emotional stress adversely affect individuals with asthmatic conditions.

Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are linked to accumulated stress. Mouth ulcers and excessive dryness are often a symptom of stress. Stress triggers mental and emotional problems such as insomnia, headaches, personality changes, irritability, anxiety and depression.

Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph Newspaper on 6 March 2018

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Understanding The Relaxation Response

To counteract stress in the body, we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system, or the rest and digest or relaxation response, brings the increased activity of the stress response back to a balanced state. The parasympathetic response is responsible for controlling homeostasis, or the balance and maintenance of the body’s systems. It restores the body to a state of calm and counterbalance and allows it to relax and repair. This system activates the more tranquil functions of the body; those that help maintain a healthy, long-term balance. Its role is to conserve energy, and defend the body against bacteria and foreign matter, and assisting the digestive process.

The body undergoes several specific responses when the parasympathetic system is activated.
Blood returns to the skin and digestive system. Saliva increases and digestive enzymes are released. The heart rate returns to normal. Breathing returns to normal. Muscles relax and urinary output increases. All of these changes are designed to maintain long-term health, improve digestion, conserve energy, and maintain a healthy balance in your body’s systems.

Stress management and the body means using techniques that protect the body from the effects of stress, including exercise, nutrition, regular sleep, breathing and relaxation techniques. Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 27 February 2018

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Understanding The Stress Response

The stress response or the fight or flight response, is a biological response mediated by the sympathetic part of the nervous system. During stress, the role of the sympathetic nervous system is to make enough energy available to prepare the body for emergency oxygen and increase strength and stamina. The body reacts to stress by deepening the breathing, quickening the heart rate, and sending more blood and oxygen to the muscles.

Unfortunately, the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you’re stressed over a busy schedule or a mountain of bills, your body reacts just as strongly as if you were facing a life-or-death situation. Your emergency stress response may be “on” most of the time if you have a lot of responsibilities and worries. The more your body’s stress system is activated, the harder it is to shut off.

In stressful situations, the body responds by preparing for action. It calls in energy reserves to maintain this state of preparedness. If the stressor is not relieved within a short time after entering the stress stage, the energy reserves become depleted. This leads to feelings of emptiness and lethargy, with everything becoming too much effort, bringing on feelings of depression. It is important to relax and unwind after stressful situations to protect the body from long-term exposure to stress.

Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 20 February 2018

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Understanding The Effects of Stress

Stress is difficult to define because each person experiences it differently. Things that are distressful for some people can be pleasurable for others. There are many physical and mental responses to stress. With awareness, people learn to identify their own stress warning signs and take steps to manage stress. Below is a list of some signs and symptoms of stress to help you understand how stress can affect us.

Some of the physical signs and symptoms of stress include churning stomach, diarrhoea or constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, excess perspiration, fatigue, headaches, nausea, palpitations, pre-menstrual syndrome, sense of heart pounding, shallow breathing, sleeping problems, increased colds/flu, indigestion, tension headaches or muscle tension.

There are also mental and emotional responses to stress, including anxiety, self-blame or blaming others,
catastrophising, cynicism, depression, guilt, fear, feeling unable to cope, frustration, anger, jealousy, irritability, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, impatience, lack of concentration, indecision, low confidence and self-esteem, thinking negatively or ruminating on events.

Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress related.

Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie 

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 13 February 2018

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Understanding Types of Stressors

Situations that are considered stress provoking as known as stressors. Stress is not always a bad thing. Stress is simply the body’s response to changes that create taxing demands. We often use the term stress to describe negative situations. This leads many people to believe that all stress is bad for you, which is not true. Stress can be characterised as positive or negative.

When stress is positive, we feel motivated and focused. It’s short-term stress and we know it’s within our coping abilities. Positive stress feels exciting and helps improve performance. Examples of positive stressors include promotions, new jobs, marriage, buying a home, starting a family, taking a holiday, further education or learning a hobby.

Negative stress causes anxiety or concern. It can be short or long term and we feel it’s outside of our coping abilities. Negative stress feels unpleasant and decreases performance. It can lead to mental or physical problems. Examples of negative stressors include bereavement, separation, illness, abuse, bullying, sleep problems, legal or financial problems, job insecurity, commuting or conflicts at home or work.

Stressors are not always limited to situations where external situations are creating a problem. Internal thoughts and behaviours such as over-scheduling, not saying no, procrastination, fears, worrying, expectations can cause negative stress.

Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 6 February 2018

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Sources of Stress

Stress is part of the flow of everyday life. A core part of stress management is understanding the sources of stress. We can experience stress from four basic sources: the environment, social stressors, physiological stressors and our thoughts.

The environment you live and work in can bombard you with intense and competing demands. Changeable weather can affect our wellbeing. Some people find too much or too little noise stressful. An area with a lot of pollution and crime can be a stressor. Another environmental stressor is traffic.

We can experience multiple stressors arising from the different social roles we occupy, such as parent, spouse, caregiver and employee. Some examples of social stressors include deadlines, financial problems,
job interviews, presentations, demands for your time and attention, loss of a loved one, divorce and parenting.

Situations and circumstances affecting our body can be experienced as physiological stressors. There are many types of physiological stressors, such as, rapid growth of adolescence, menopause, illness, aging, giving birth, accidents, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and sleep problems.

Our brain interprets and perceives situations as stressful, difficult, painful or pleasant. Some situations in life are stress provoking, but it is our thoughts that determine whether they are a problem for us.

Stress management is about understanding how your body reacts to these pressures and learning how to build your body’s resilience to stress.

For stress management using Indian Head Massage and Reiki, contact Tracy on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 30 January 2018

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