Improving Your Sleep to Fight Stress

July 13, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Getting enough quality sleep is one of the best weapons in the
stress-relief arsenal. There are numerous strategies for ensuring that you
sleep like a log each night, and this article discusses a number of them.
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Using Aromatherapy Stress Relief

July 12, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

In today’s fast-paced world, there is a high demand on a person’s time and physical and mental energy. Being able to stop what you are doing, sit back and just relax on a regular basis is very important to maintain a person’s wellbeing. It is not surprising that in recent years, the spa industry has grown tremendously into a multi-billion dollar business, responding to the needs of people who long for even just a half an hour of relaxation.

Spa services as well as natural stress relief therapies usually engage the different senses to calm frazzled nerves, relax tense muscles and lower heart rate in order to relieve a person from stress. Most stress relief treatments make use of the sense of touch to release stress from the body such as massage and facials.
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Cortisol – The Stress Hormone

June 18, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Stress affects health in many ways, unfortunately none of them affects well-being in a good way. Many health specialists claim, as normal human experience would confirm, that stress and depression can have negative effects on physical health. In the long run, persons under high stress can develop eating disorders and sleep disturbances.   These conditions could also possibly lead to decreased physical energy, chronic pain, and sexual dysfunction.
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Is Your Anxiety Caused by Stress?

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Is Your Anxiety Caused by Stress?

Stress is a part of life, right? It cannot be completely avoided. And to be honest, some stress can be good for you and downright fun. The stress you feel skiing down the side of a mountain for example. However, too much stress and the wrong kind of stress, can harm your health. And if you’re prone to anxiety attacks, stress can certainly make it worse.

Problems Caused By Stress

Stress, chronic and intense stress, essentially requires your body to work much harder than it normally would. It taxes you body and all of your systems. Too much stress over a period of time can cause:
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stress and gastrointestinal problems

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Most people who are in stressful situations are usually reminded to take extra care of their health. A lot of literature already exist about the effects of stress in a person’s mental health. Some, because of not being able to manage their stress, develop anxiety disorders or even depression. However, not a lot of people are aware of psychosomatic health problems which are mostly caused by a lengthened exposure to stressful events or situations. Individuals who have highly pressured work settings, long-term relationship problems, persistent financial worries, and chronic loneliness not only experience depression or insomnia but also make themselves prone to having diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and gastrointestinal problems. Psychosomatic illnesses are simply described as problems of other organ systems of the body resulting from psychological activities or reactions. One may wonder why something psychological may actually cause a physical manifestation. There should be a factor that mediates between these two systems to enable a cause-and-effect relationship; and this connection, according to existing studies, is made by the nervous system.

To understand how the nervous system connects psychological events and physical manifestations in the form of illnesses or diseases, the case of gastrointestinal problems resulting from chronic stress will be used as an example. Just today, it was announced over the news that the former prime minister of Japan was hospitalized due to gastroenteritis. According to his doctors, his illness resulted from extreme stress and exhaustion. Gastroenteritis is defined as the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which includes the stomach and the intestines. When a person experiences extreme or chronic stress, immune factors such as cytokines, neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and digestive acids such as protease are produced. Cytokines are components that cause inflammation in areas of the body with infection, serotonin affects contraction of smooth muscles, and protease controls protein digestion. These three, then, affect the gastrointestinal system causing inflammation, spastic stomach contractions and burning. The nervous system triggers the production of these substances when stressful events pose feelings or emotions similar to that of being threatened.

During stressful events, adherence of harmful bacteria to cells within the lining of the stomach are also increased. Because of these bacteria, the immune system will then be triggered further. However, according to a recent study conducted among rats, ingestion of probiotics can decrease the “stickiness” of bacteria within the stomach and prevent the immune activation. The probiotics, also called as “for life” bacteria, compete for space in the stomach with the harmful bacteria and decrease the inflammatory responses. These effects of probiotics, therefore, make it a good possible treatment for gastrointestinal problems caused by chronic stress.

In summary, this article talks about stress, mainly being a psychological occurrence, does not only impose a threat for possible psychological problems resulting from it. Moreover, stress also causes physical illnesses such as gastrointestinal problems through influencing the nervous system to activate certain reactions within the body. Certain reactions cause changes within the stomach which heighten its vulnerability to harmful bacteria. Probiotics, being bacteria that are not harmful and can be used against harmful bacteria, can then be used as treatment for gastrointestinal problems.

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10 ways To Relieve Stress

January 25, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

We are all familiar with stress. Stress is a normal response to everyday life events. It is certainly believed that a level of stress is necessary to not only function in our day to day life, but that we also need stress to reach our greatest potential. The most important first step in stress management is being aware of when our stress levels have become unhealthy to us.
Once you have recognised that there is a stress overload in your life you will be able to take appropriate action to introduce stress management strategies.

There are as many ways of reducing stress as there are ways of feeling stressed. Each of us has a different personality and different physical make up. Each of us responds to stress differently. Most of us have been able to find what helps us reduce our stress levels and manage our life stresses fairly quickly. For some it might be a walk along the beach, a motorbike ride or sitting reading a book. Managing stress can include everything from a full on physical activity to sitting quietly reading or listening to music.

Here is a list of 10 ways to help you reduce your stress levels:
1. Positive self talk – helps you tap into your inner strengths.
2. Relaxation – maybe reading, dancing, fishing, give yourself permission to do something you really enjoy every day.
3. Meditation – you can go to classes, learn from a book or cd or learn with a friend
4. Aromatherapy – use the time proven gift of scents to help you unwind and relax
5. Exercise – some people find that exercising burns off the excess stress hormones.
6. A balanced lifestyle – look at your work/life balance and make the necessary changes
7. Dealing with anger – anger management is a big thing in stress management. Learn how to control those feelings of anger, and your life will be much smoother.
8. Manage your drug and alcohol intake – using drugs and alcohol will not change the cause of the stress, it often just creates more stress in your life.
9. Yoga – is a combination of both meditation and exercise which puts you in tune with your body.
10. Reflexology – for hundreds of years people have been using massage of specific areas of the feet in many combinations to help with physical and emotional issues.
One of the most important things to remember is to do what works for you. You are the only one who knows exactly how you are feeling and coping with any given situation. Understand your own management strategies, use them and know when to get help if your strategies are not working. You do not have to suffer or feel alone.

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bodily reactions to stress

January 25, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

4 bodily reactions to stress

We often talk about stress and our body’s reactions to it. Do we really understand what is going on when we experience a stressor in our lives? Do we know what our body’s response to a stressor is and, more importantly, why it is responding that way? To start to be able to answer these questions, we need to look at, and hopefully understand, what our four bodily reactions are to stress.

Whenever we experience a stressor, or event, our body goes through a whole series of chemical reactions. Our physical response to a stressor is governed by the autonomic nervous system, which is, in turn controlled by the hypothalamus. What a lot of us do not understand is that stress is a physical response that is experienced as an emotion. The form that the physical response takes varies on the nature of the event. This means that in some situations, we may feel frightened and overwhelmed, while in others we feel inspired and exhilarated.

When we experience a stressor our hypothalamus sends a signal to the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary gland, both of these respond by stimulating our bodies organs to change their normal activities in the following way:

1. Heart rate raises, blood pressure rises, your blood vessels constrict, blood sugar levels rise and blood flow is directed away from your extremities.

2. Your breathing becomes deeper and faster and air passages dilate, this allows more air to enter your lungs.

3. Your digestion process stops and you sweat more

4. Your adrenal glands will secrete adrenaline which in turn stimulates your heart and other organs.

When all of these events take place in our body it means that our body is prepared to deal with the stressor. When viewed all together, these responses produce a heightened mental and physical state of alertness and readiness for action. This is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

It is interesting to note that whether we choose to confront a stressor or run away from it, our biological response is going to be the same. This biological response is also the same regardless of the nature of the stressor, whether you are confronted by a man in a dark alley with a gun or going for your driving exam, you body will respond to the stressor the same way by stimulating your body to respond to the stressor.

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Symptoms Of Stress

January 22, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Symptoms Of Stress

Stress and anxiety have been with us since the dawn of time. With the increase in pressures of modern day living, more and more of us are suffering from the negative effects of stress in our day to day life.

When discussing stress it is important to remember that some level of stress is necessary for us to function in our everyday lives. It helps to motivate us, and we all need motivation to survive and prosper in life. It is important, however, to develop and maintain a happy balance between too much and too little stress. Interestingly enough, people who are underperforming and bored with their routine are just as vulnerable to the effects of negative stress as are people in high stress situations.

Generally speaking, symptoms of stress can be broken down into three categories – Psychological symptoms, Physical symptoms and Emotional Symptoms. These symptoms are an indication of the exsistance of moderate to severe stress. The presence of stress would be indicated by a combination of a few symptoms, rather than just one of the symptoms.

Psychological Symptoms of stress include:
Confused thinking, poor decisions, poor attention, disorientation, slowed thinking, memory lapses, forgetfulness, undue daydreaming.

Physical symptoms of stress include:
Tension headaches, dizziness, palpitations, choking sensations, churning in the stomach, vomiting, hand tremor, sweating, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, nervous diarrhoea, frequency of passing urine and pins and needles in hands.

Emotional Symptoms include:
Undue anxiety, mood swings, low self-esteem, sudden anger, feeling alone, feeling guilty, wanting to hide, easily startled, easily upset, undue concerns.

Stress is one of the most common causes of general illness and disorders in the world today. It has become that much a part of our everyday life that many of us have learnt to ignore many of the above symptoms and continue on with our lives. Stress does, however, seem to sneak up on us without warning, often leaving in its wake long term effects on both our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Because we all have different personalities and different life experiences, life events will affect each of us differently, even at different stages in our lives. It is important to be aware of, and monitor for yourself, how you are feeling at any given time in your life. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between feelings of stress which may be moderate to severe, and depression. It is often worthwhile visiting your local medical practitioner to discuss appropriate treatment methods with them.

One thing that we can be absolutely sure of, stress has the potential to dramatically affect our emotional wellbeing. Stress is one condition that does not discriminate against age, race, gender or financial background. We are all equally susceptible at any stage in our lives.

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What is Stress?

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

What is Stress?

Stress can be classified as a pattern of emotional, behavioural, physiological, and cognitive reactions to real or imagined threats in our lives which are thought to be blocking a goal or threatening our wellbeing. Stress is not a direct product of the modern era, although the amount of stimuli that we have to contend with today certainly impacts on our overall stressors. Stress can be looked on as a behavioural mechanism that our ancestors learnt when confronted with wild animals or enemies in times gone by. In our current lives, stress still helps us confront or escape from threatening situations.

The stressors, or events, that we have to deal with in our modern world include ones that may be classed as catastrophic- floods and bushfires – or they may be classed as trivial like not being able to find a car park when you are late. Stressors are not always bad. Some such as athletic events and exams can have a positive effect on our behaviour. Generally when a stress is experienced for a long period of time, it can then have a negative effect on both the person’s psychological health and physical health.

Stress is probably the most common cause of general illness and disorders in the world today. Stress has become such a part of our lives that many of us ignore the symptoms and continue on regardless.

Stress will affect everyone at some stage of their life. For many of us, it will become an integral part of our lives. Chronic or long term stress can be so serious that it causes ongoing illnesses, affecting our work performance and reducing life expectancy. The general affects of prolonged everyday stress have been linked to many types of psychological problems and mental health disorders including depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and eating disorders. Chronic Stress has also been linked to poor academic performance, insomnia, nightmares, sexual difficulties, alcohol abuse, and general unhappiness. Of course stress is only one of the many factors contributing to these psychological problems and disorders. It certainly is worth thinking about the link between stress and long term illness.

Stress, both chronic and acute, is a serious and common problem which seems to catch up with all of us at some time. It is the direct result of either external or internal conflict or pressure. Irrespective of what causes stress in our lives, stress is an increasing part of our lives. Once you have recognised that you are suffering from stress overload, there are skills that you can learn to address the problem

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Communication and Stress

January 12, 2011 by  
Filed under About Stress

Communication is probably one of the most common activities that we engage in on a daily basis, and yet it is the one which we pay the least attention to. Misunderstandings between us and our family, friends and work colleagues is probably the most common cause of stress in our lives. These often simple misunderstanding can result in mistrust, confusion and hostility, all of which may have been avoided by clearly communicating with others.

There are a number of ways that we can communicate with each other. Our communication style can be honest, open, based on trust and well meaning, or it can be manipulative, deceptive and confusing. The way we communicate is influenced by our own personal needs in any given situation, and our overall perception of the situation we are in. We often misinterpret and misunderstand what we are hearing because we have our own thoughts happening during the conversation

Sometimes it will be a simple matter of changing the way we interact with others that will cause a significant reduction in the stress levels of both parties. It is certainly worth looking at ways that you can improve your own communication with others.

Some simple tips for improving your communication:

• Listen carefully to people, be interested in what they have to say
• Look at people when they speak to you, be mindful of your own and their cultural beliefs on eye contact
• Speak in short clear sentences
• Allow them, and yourself time for thought
• Choose the right time and place for what you are wanting to say to them
• Communicate at a time that they can be receptive to your conversation i.e. avoid discussions when they are tired or preoccupied.
• Say things the way they are, with respect to their situation

If you are able to follow these basic communication guidelines, you will surely notice a dramatic improvement in the way you perceive others and the way they perceive you. Practicing the guidelines will help you not only reduce your own stress levels; people around you will feel more confident and comfortable with you as well.

Start practicing some of the tips and see if there is an improvement in the way that you feel over the coming weeks. They are very simple things to introduce into your everyday life, buy once you start to incorporate them, your life at home and work will become much smoother. Communication with others is something that we are unable to avoid in our everyday life, it will be better for all if we learn to communicate well with each other.

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