Stress is our body's response to a stressor, we enter into the 'fight or flight' mode. When this occurs the adrenal glands are activated producing adrenaline & cortisol, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, we sweat more, our stomach activity slows, fats and sugars are released into our bodies which can lead to a lower immune system.
We all need an element of stress in our lives so we can function in certain situations, such as attending an interview, delivering a presentation, meeting new people. However, there are times when too much stress has a negative impact, centuries ago the need for a speedy reaction was necessary but nowadays as the chemicals are not being used by our bodies, they remain in our system and this can have a detrimental affect on our health and truly highlights the importance of self care.
Take a look at this list, is there anything that resonates with you? Is it caused by Stress?
Head - Our thoughts and emotions begin to change, feelings of sadness, depression, anger, frustration, confusion, inability to concentrate, feelings of lethargy, excessive sleeping or maybe not able to sleep, anxiety and fear are just some of the feelings we may have. Behaviour may even begin to change, unable to hold back the tears, a lack of tolerance to others. What's making you feel like this?
Heart - the heart begins to beat faster which can lead to high blood pressure and headaches. Studies also show that stress can increase the cholesterol levels, not only in the short term but years later too. The risk of suffering from a heart attack and strokes also increases. Not something we like to think about is it?
Skin - The bodies largest organ, so there's no wonder stress can affect our skin! Psoriasis, acne, eczema, can all be brought on by stress. Can you remember an occasion when you woke up with a spot or flare up? Or maybe you're struggling with skin problems now!
Stomach - Irritable Bowel Syndrome, cramps, nausea, increases or decreases in weight, ulcers, food intolerances, indigestion. The brain and digestive system are connected in a complex way and the digestive system is very sensitive to our moods, sometimes the gut is referred to as our 2nd brain.
Here's a fact - When having a reflexology treatment and whilst the therapist is treating the digestive system, the stomach may begin to gurgle and rumble, it's the stomach muscles beginning to relax, Reflexology begins to make a difference instantly!
Pancreas - when stress affects this organ it can lead to increased secretions of insulin, which can in turn lead to diabetes. High amounts of work related stress raise the risk of type 2 diabetes by 45% (Diabetes.co.uk2015)
Reproductive System - The hormone cortisol inhibits the bodies main sex hormone, in males chronic stress can affect testosterone production which then suppresses the sperm production and maturation, if the immune system is affected by stress this can also lead to infections of the testes, prostate gland and urethra which can affect normal male reproductive functioning.
For females stress can impact on menstruation even halting the menstrual cycle, ovulation and impacts on the reduction of the sex drive and activity, ultimately leading to reduced fertility. Stress is natures contraceptive.
It is believed that Reflexology may help to re-balance the endocrine system, reduce stress levels and assist with a sense of deep relaxation.
Joints & Muscles - prolonged stress has an impact on our muscles, they begin to tense up, leading to aches and pains. Chronic stress results in the muscles being on constant guard, when this is the case over a long period of time it can lead to other issues for example if the head, neck and shoulders are tense this can in turn lead to tension headaches.
Immune System - The immune system is less resilient to dealing with illness, making us more susceptible to infection and the subsequent recovery takes longer. Inflammation levels are higher which leads to a wider variety of chronic health conditions.
Ultimately we can only be responsible for our own health, making precious time to relax, recharge and relish our lives! Take the time to make a 'Golden Moment' if not once a day then certainly once every week!