Duration: 60 Minutes
The definition of good health is a sense of well-being. But all too often we get caught up in a cycle of stress that leaves us functioning below our best, leaving us feeling tired, anxious and unhappy. The increasing demands of modern life can put enormous pressure on the body and mind.
Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood, providing more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger, but if the stress is in response to something emotional, then there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. When stress is long-term it can affect you physically, emotionally and spiritually, impacting on your well-being.
What Causes Stress?
Many different factors can cause stress — from physical (such as fear of something dangerous) to emotional (such as worry over your family or job.) Some of the most common sources of stress are:
Survival Stress – exposure to stressors prompts an immediate biochemical reaction known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, causing the following responses – increased heart rate and blood pressure, raised blood-sugar and cholesterol levels, disruption of digestive processes, suppression of the immune system, emotional and muscle tension.
Internal Stress – Have you ever caught yourself worrying about things you can do nothing about or worrying for no particular reason at all? This is internal stress and it is one of the most important kinds of stress to understand and manage. Some people become addicted to the kind of hurried, tense, lifestyle that results from being under stress.
Environmental Stress – This is a response to things around you that cause stress, such as noise, crowding, and pressure from work or family. Identifying these environmental stresses and learning to avoid them or deal with them, will help lower your stress level.
Fatigue and Overwork – This kind of stress builds up over a long time and can take a hard toll on your body. It can be caused by working too much or too hard at your job(s), school, or home. It can also be caused by not knowing how to manage your time well or how to take time out for rest and relaxation. This can be one of the hardest kinds of stress to avoid because many people feel this is beyond their control.
Much of the stress we experience is based upon our own perception of a situation; therefore, sources of stress can vary greatly from one person to another. What any individual perceives as a stressor is a stressor for that person, regardless of another’s evaluation of that situation.
It is clear that stress has a significant effect on health. It can affect the onset of, or susceptibility to, a disease and also one’s recovery. Chronic stress has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity and alcohol and substance abuse.
Damage caused by chronic stress
Many people are unable to find a way to put the brakes on stress. Chronic low-level stress keeps the HPA axis activated, much like a motor that is idling too high for too long. After a while, this has an effect on the body that contributes to the health problems associated with chronic stress.
Persistent adrenaline surges can damage blood vessels and arteries, increasing blood pressure and raising risk of heart attacks or strokes. Elevated cortisol levels create physiological changes that help to replenish the body’s energy stores that are depleted during the stress response, however, they inadvertently contribute to the build-up of fat tissue and to weight gain. For example, cortisol increases appetite – people will want to eat more to obtain more energy. It also increases storage of unused nutrients as fat.
How to counter stress:
There are many methods to counter the damaging effects of on-going stress and to manage one’s responses to stressful conditions, such as:-
- Relaxation and correct breathing
- Mind control – understanding the impact our thoughts have on our energy field
- Physical activity
- Non-outcome based activities
- Social support
To book a stress-management treatment, please call Helen on 082 896 3534 or email email@example.com
Please be advised that should a booked appointment not be kept, or not be cancelled at least 12 hours before the appointed time, a cancellation fee of R300.00 applies and is payable.