We all know what it is to feel stressed. Life these days is stressful, with so much to juggle and cope with. The pace of life is fast and we don’t always have the support that we need. Work can be a major source of stress as can managing a healthy work-home balance. Sometimes, we just need help in managing the stress; The MindTraining Clinic offers various forms of stress management training, from proven Relaxation Therapy Sessions, to longer-term stress management training which provides the skills to help you cope with the stressors in your life.
What is Stress?
Quite simply, we feel stressed when the demands on us exceed our ability (or our perceived ability) to cope with them.
The stress reaction was originally ‘designed’ to help us; it is the fight or flight reaction that is familiar to many of us. Stress prepares our body to stay and fight or run away; for our cave-dwelling ancestors, this was exactly what was needed when faced with the stress of seeing a lion or grizzly bear about to select its human prey. The stress reaction causes chemical changes in the body, often fuelled by adrenalin, that allows a huge surge of extra energy to be released within the blood; our hearts pump faster to ensure that this lovely energy is rushed quickly to the parts that need it most like the limbs or brain. This allowed our ancestors to fight the attacking wild animal, or (if they had sense) to run like the wind to escape.
Nowadays, few of our stressors require us to fight or run away but the bodily reaction to stress remains the same. Our stressors are also more frequent and possibly even constant. This means that our bodies are frequently or even constantly in stress mode which leaves us with a range of symptoms:
|Symptom||Why does it occur?|
|Aching limbs||The build-up of glucose in the limbs can make our arms and legs feel heavy and tired. In addition, we tend to tense our muscles in preparation for flight or fight and this tension causes pain.|
|Headache||Blood supply increase to the brain too to enable us to think more clearly, but build-up causes headache.|
|Neckache||Again, we tend to tense our neck muscles when stressed, causing pain.|
|Tiredness||We feel tired because we have been burning up so much extra energy.|
|Dry mouth||Flow of saliva is reduced to mouth|
|Stomach ache/butterflies||Blood is diverted away from this area so digestive mechanism are reduced - this can lead to digestive problems and discomfort.|
|Dizziness||Although we breathe more quickly when we are stressed, we tend to take more shallow breaths and thus we do not breathe in as much oxygen as deeply as when we are not stressed. This can lead to a slightly reduced supply to the brain, causing dizziness.|
When we remain stressed for long periods of time, or our stress levels rise very frequently, we may experience more serious effects.
|Condition||Reason for its development|
|Hypertension (raised blood pressure)||This is the result of the heart continually working hard at pumping blood around the body extra quickly.|
|Cardiovascular disease||The increase in Blood Pressure can cause physical damage to the delicate lining of some blood vessels. The point where vessels branch into two (branch points) are particularly vulnerable and if the smooth vessel lining is torn, access to fatty acids and glucose (which is increased during stress response) is allowed. This causes a build-up of fatty nutrients underneath the tear in the walls of the vessels. This process gives rise to plaques lining the blood vessels. Plaques occurring in arteries supplying the heart can lead to heart attacks. If they obstruct the flow of blood to the brain they can cause strokes.
|Stomach ulcers.||Poor digestion for long periods can result in stomach problems. In addition, there will be an excess of acid in the stomach.|
|Exhaustion||Due to the rapid mobilisation of energy which gives short-term benefits but long-term exhaustion.|
|Skin disorders||Rashes and allergies can result due to the continued decrease of blood to the skin.|
|Frequent colds or flu||Stress can result in lowered immune system making the person more vulnerable to disease.|
The good news is that stress can be beaten. Using a combination of techniques, including Progressive Muscle Relaxation Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, The MindTraining Clinic can train you to cope better with the stressors in your life so that you feel less stressed and have fewer stress symptoms. Call us today to book your first appointment.
The MindTraining Clinic
198 Bury Old Road
Tel: 07958 554509