So we know we might be stressed.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Stress is a complex, multifactorial condition which affects a person on several levels. You may start off feeling one or two symptoms – however this condition is progressive if left untreated, so the longer you are stressed, the more symptoms you may experience, and the more prone you will be to other opportunistic illnesses. Even mild levels of stress have been linked to long term disability, so it is better to prevent stress from occurring than waiting for it to become a major issue.
These are some of the symptoms:
Cognitively, you might notice…
You find it hard to concentrate.
You worry a lot more than usual.
You feel down frequently, or you feel over anxious frequently.
Emotionally, you might notice…
You feel tearful.
You feel angry.
You feel less confident than usual.
Physically, you might notice…
You feel more aches and pains, more tension in your muscles and you may grind your teeth.
You experience panic attacks and nausea.
You experience constipation, diarrhoea or IBS.
You feel indigestion, heartburn or stomach ulcers.
You feel physically tired even after rest.
Behaviourally, you might notice…
You feel you have no time for relaxation or pleasurable activities.
You become forgetful and prone to accidents.
You are absent from work more often.
You suffer from insomnia or wake up tired from sleep.
Your behaviour and speech become more aggressive.
Information from International Stress Management Association UK.
Ok, so you recognise some of these conditions or behaviours in yourself. What can you do?
Treatments for stress
For most of us, once we recognise that something needs changing in our lives, we can look to see how we can resolve the problem. It may need the support of friends, family or a doctor to help us move forward in the right direction. Possible changes include a healthier diet, reducing the amount we drink or smoke, and drinking more water. It could be necessary to take some form of exercise (which releases endorphins), or to analyse our working day – do we need to be running around like a headless chicken or can we delegate? If you are the type that’s always giving, it is important to find a bit of “me time” as well. We need to boost our own energy levels.
Depending on our levels of stress, it may be that more help is needed; it could be talking to someone (counselling, psychotherapy, anger management, life coaching). This is where, as Reflexologists, we know our therapy might be of help in reducing stress and anxiety levels. By working the feet or hands, full of nerve endings, we are boosting the circulation, helping to give a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing. You may sleep deeper and better, so all in all your mood may improve and you will feel your life is moving in the right direction.
For some people the Alexander Technique may help; for others, medical intervention may be necessary.
With ever increasing levels of stress, it is important for us to take responsibility for our own lifestyles and healthcare needs; if we can, we are in a much stronger position to deal with what life throws at us.
Teresa Murray MAR