Stress and how it can affect you

It is coming into my favourite time of year Summer, and the Oh so wonderful Christmas period! This time of year for me is about winding down and relaxing before we start a new, but for some people this time of year incites stress.

What is stress?

Stress is a normal healthy response we have to certain situations and in some ways a little bit of manageable stress may actually help us through a brief difficult moment or allow us to perform under pressure.
In a heightened state of stress our body goes into fight or flight mode (hyper-arousal).

In this state the body’s nervous system causes a chemical response in our adrenal glands. The body produces an excess amount of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol preparing us for a potentially life threating situation where we may have to fight or flee.

Our bodies were originally designed this way to protect us from dangerous situations or animals, like lions and tigers and bears. It is not often these days for most of us that we are fending off such creatures, never the less, this system is still in place and protects us from any dangers we may face today.

In this day and age though most of us would say that the most common stressors are work, family, financial and societal pressures we face on a regular basis. These stressors do tend to build up and as they do so do our stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

Most of us can say we have experienced occasional heightened states of stress but what we don’t realise is that increased stress hormones in the body are becoming the norm.

Increased adrenaline and cortisol levels can have affect our immune, digestive, cardiovascular and muscular systems, not to mention our overall feeling of well-being, or in this case, not well-being. Stress can also be a cause of poor sleep.

What do we do then to get us through the day? Coffee!!! A lot of us rely on a good cup of coffee or 4 to get us through all the daily activities. Well guess what? Caffeine is stimulating or adrenal glands too!

How can we reduce stress?

There are plenty of ways we can de-stress our bodies. Simply taking a little time each day for ourselves doing something we enjoy and having a little bit of me time.

Another fantastic and proven way of de-stressing our bodies is through massage. It is an hour of feel good you time! Not only does massage promote the relaxation of skeletal muscle, the parts of our bodies which do all the work, take all the tension and carry us around every day. Massage promotes production of feel good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin!

Remember to take care of your selves and your stress levels during the silly season and if all else fails, come and get a massage! Contact us to book an appointment http://bit.ly/1KC8cAT

~Sarah Trew, PMPP Remedial Massage Therapist

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