CONDITIONS A-Z

Stress

stress2A certain amount of stress is unavoidable and it's normal to feel stressed or anxious at times. A little stress can be a good and positive thing as it keeps us motivated, lively and enthusiastic. However too much stress causes strain and tension and if those feelings persist, or affect your life, it's important to seek help. Although people react to stress in many different ways, the effects on our bodies is often the same.

Stress Overview

A physical or mental challenge such as a car speeding towards us or a work deadline looming provokes the "fight or flight" stress response, which involves physical reactions, such as an increase in heart rate and sweating, and psychological reactions, such as intense concentration. Everyone faces a certain amount of stress and it only becomes a problem when it is too much for the individual to handle. There are a wide range of therapeutic measures that aim to reduce the symptoms and to help the person better manage stressful situations.

Why Does Stress Occur?

In the "fight-or-flight" response, stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, pour into the body's systems. As digestion slows, the muscles tense up; the liver releases sugar and fats to provide energy. If these are not discharged, the effects can accumulate and affect every major organ and body system, causing or worsening existing diseases and conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, diabetes, chronic back pain, angina, hypertension, sleep disorders and cancer.

Coping with life events, such as bereavement, divorce, giving a public presentation or moving house, can be emotionally and physically demanding. In a different way, so is boredom or an accumulation of minor irritations, such as being stuck in a traffic jam and losing the house keys. The degree to which people become stressed under these circumstances depends on their personality traits and how well they have learned to cope with pressure. Stress only becomes a problem when it is too much for an individual and when it interferes with the ability to relax, cope and even enjoy life.

_____________________________________________________________________

Comapssion_meditationWhy Compassion Benefits the Immune System: There is evidence that compassion meditation, which aims to bring gentle awareness to our interactions with others and encourage feelings of empathy, actually boosts the body's immune system. more

_____________________________________________________________________

Symptoms of Stress

People vary in their capability to cope with stress on a physical and on an emotional level. Enhancing this capability in one area will improve
the other, so taking more exercise to improve physical functioning will also increase the ability to with emotional stress.

Short Term Symptoms

  • Pale face
  • Dry Mouth
  • Muscle tension
  • Faster breathing
  • Less sensitive to pain
  • More sensitive to touch
  • Wide eyes and flared nostrils
  • Edginess and feeling irritable
  • Constant run down feeling
  • Frequently passing water
  • Short-tempered or angry
  • Lack of concentration
  • Faster heart beat
  • Sweaty hands
  • Feeling cold
  • 'Butterflies'
 

Long Term Effects

  • Headaches
  • Heart Disease
  • Back Ache
  • Leg aches
  • Appetite Loss or eating too much
  • Finding life hard to cope with
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety, fear or panic
  • Indigestion and ulcers
  • Skin conditions
  • Sexual problems
  • Poor circulation
  • Chain smoking
  • Drinking excessively
  • Sleeping badly or waking early
  • Neck or shoulders aches/tension
 

Self-help For Stress

The following measures may help you deal with stress:

  • Aim for optimum health by eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise (exercise is an excellent stress-reliever).
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine and other stimulants, as well as addictive substances, such as tobacco and alcohol.
  • Make time to enjoy aspects of your life that give your mind a break from sources of stress.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family – this will make you feel supported and may help increase your self-confidence.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.
  • Anticipate times of stress and prepare yourself to deal with them.
  • List what you have to do and prioritise.

_____________________________________________________________________

Optimistic_PeopleOptimistic People Live Longer A recent study by the Mayo Clinic reported that optimistic people live longer lives, by almost 20%! Most of us enjoy being in the company of positive, optimistic people. Their sunny outlook... more _____________________________________________________________________

Counselling and Psychotherapy

If you are feeling stressed and are having difficulty coping, or believe that stress is affecting your physical  or emotional health, you may wish to speak to your doctor, who will talk to you about possible underlying causes and check your general health. Your doctor may recommend the preventative measures described and may advise you to have counselling or another form of psychotherapy.

Nutritional Therapy

Strengthen Adrenal Function: Stress can lead to weakened adrenal glands and taking steps to strengthen adrenal function does seem to help individuals cope better the stress in their lives.

Magnesium may help to alleviate stress by improving the function of the adrenal glands and by counteracting the magnesium depletion in the body that stress can induce. One study with fighter pilots found that taking 400mg of magnesium supplements a day reduced the stress induced rises in noradrenaline. You may find taking 300-500mg of magnesium per day is useful during times of stress.

Probiotics: Studies suggest that excessive stress can cause the depletion of beneficial bacteria such as, species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, in the intestinal tract. Try taking a probiotic in times of stress.

Breathing Retraining

If you are affected by stressful feelings and events, learn breathing techniques because certain breathing patterns can have an “anti-arousal” effect that reduces the sympathetic (alarm) response triggered when we are faced with potentially demanding events or stimuli. Yoga breathing patterns can reduce physiological and psychological arousal during threatening and non-threatening situations.

Touch Therapies

Effects of Touch: Research into the calming anti-stress effects of touch therapies, such as massage and reflexology, have consistently shown that they commonly lead to a reduction in production of cortisol and other stress hormones. Touch therapy has helped people with asthma, anorexia, breast cancer, burns, depression, chronic fatigue, diabetes and HIV. It is also useful for preterm infants and during labour, as well as in people suffering post traumatic stress disorder.

Giving Massage. When highly stressed individuals learn to give massage – for example, parents massaging their hyperactive children or grandparents massaging their grandchildren – both givers and receivers of the massage show reduced stress levels. In a study, grandparents reported less anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms. They also reported improved mood and self-esteem, as well as reduced pulse rates and decreased cortisol levels.

 Reflexology calms people with stressful problems, including hospitalised patients, parents of babies in intensive care and people with a range of health conditions, such as a migraine and bowel and sleep disturbances. General foot massage may also help: in many studies when reflexology is compared with general foot massage, the benefits seem very similar.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help balance an individual’s energy and possibly avoid stress. In situations of acute anxiety and concerns, acupuncture may be given daily or every other day, but in general weekly treatments are the preferred option, and benefit should be apparent in six to eight weeks.

Mind-Body Therapies

While some patients visit doctors complaining of stress, more often they complain of gastrointestinal disturbances, pain, insomnia, fatigue or other symptoms. The mainstay of treatment is appropriate counselling, lifestyle advice, reassurance, addressing specific issues and other non-pharmaceutical treatments.

Stress Management Programmes using behavioural and mind-body approaches are widely employed to reduce stress. Among the mind-body skills and therapies that have been found to be effective are regular physical exercise, clinical biofeedback, muscle relaxation and psychotherapy.

Guided imagery which combines the techniques of deep relaxation and positive suggestion, is a powerful way of managing stress. Eight studies found that, relative to control groups, guided imagery sessions were effective at reducing the physical and emotional signs of stress in groups of smokers, surgical patients, cardiac and cancer patients, and in otherwise well people who reported high stress levels. Moreover, the effects were stronger when patients practised the skills on their own.

Relaxation, practised with or without guided imagery, is highly recommended, as it can improve the ability to cope with the inevitable stresses of everyday life.

Western Herbal Medicine

Adaptogenic herbs can help with stress and its associated fatigue, debility, anxiety and depression. They improve vitality, staying power, memory and concentration, and include ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and astragalus (Astragalus menbranaceus).

The so-called nervine herbs help to support an overtaxed nervous system. They include skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia), wild oat (Avena sativa), vervain (Verbena officinalis) and damiana (Turnera disffusa).

Stress with anxiety and depression  can be helped by valerian (Valeriana officinalis), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and St John’s work (Hypericum perforatum).

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), hops, (Humulus lupulus), valerian, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and lemon balm can all help to improve the quality and duration of sleep and to ease stress and relieve nervous tension.

Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) relaxes tense muscles often associated with stress. Soaking in a lavender oil bath (add 10-15 drops of the essential oil to a hot bath) can help ease away the stresses of a busy day.

_____________________________________________________________________

Help the British Red Cross with fundraising. Check out these great fundraiser ideas

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

brain_food_3Stress Busting Foods: You may not be able to lead a completely stress-free life – very few of us can – but you can learn how to support your body to minimise the harmful effects of long-term stress...more _____________________________________________________________________

Mad_Sad_ChildAnxious Children Confuse 'Sad and Mad': Confusing an angry face with a sad one is a common and often socially costly mistake for children who are affected by high social anxiety, says a recent study published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology. more

_____________________________________________________________________

Meditation1Study Shows Meditation Changes Brain Structure in Just 8 Weeks; Participants in an 8 week mindfulness meditation class experienced structural brain changes in areas associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. more

_____________________________________________________________________

laughing220 Amazing Facts About Happiness: Scientists are continuing to unravel the roots of positive emotion. You will be surprised and encouraged by the research findings outlined... more _____________________________________________________________________

Happier_at_Work_215 Dynamic Ways to be Happier at Work If you feel like a square peg in a round hole, don't worry – you're not alone. In fact a government survey found that almost 60% of people said... more

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Twitter_ButtonJoin the 235,000 people following @famhealthguide, RSS Feed Family Health Guide brings you daily news from well-regarded sources such as JAMA, BMJ, Lancet, BMA, Leading Universities, plus articles from our own editorial team.

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

brain_food_3Stress Busting Foods: You may not be able to lead a completely stress-free life – very few of us can – but you can learn how to support your body to minimise the harmful effects of long-term stress...more _____________________________________________________________________

Mad_Sad_ChildAnxious Children Confuse 'Sad and Mad': Confusing an angry face with a sad one is a common and often socially costly mistake for children who are affected by high social anxiety, says a recent study published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology. more

_____________________________________________________________________

Meditation1Study Shows Meditation Changes Brain Structure in Just 8 Weeks; Participants in an 8 week mindfulness meditation class experienced structural brain changes in areas associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. more

_____________________________________________________________________

laughing220 Amazing Facts About Happiness: Scientists are continuing to unravel the roots of positive emotion. You will be surprised and encouraged by the research findings outlined... more _____________________________________________________________________

Happier_at_Work_215 Dynamic Ways to be Happier at Work If you feel like a square peg in a round hole, don't worry – you're not alone. In fact a government survey found that almost 60% of people said... more

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Twitter_ButtonJoin the 235,000 people following @famhealthguide, RSS Feed Family Health Guide brings you daily news from well-regarded sources such as JAMA, BMJ, Lancet, BMA, Leading Universities, plus articles from our own editorial team.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Leave Comments


Notice: Undefined variable: mcount in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_simplejoomlatabslider/mod_simplejoomlatabslider.php on line 17
MOST READ

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/familyhg/public_html/modules/mod_mostread/helper.php on line 79
Related Post Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...