Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain that can be caused and created by a number of adverse circumstances, and whilst most people deal with feelings of stress throughout their week, or even daily. However new research has found that over a third of working adults are reporting high levels of stress on a regular basis. Stress can take a toll on many aspects of your health and have a wide range of symptoms, including reduced energy levels and triggering headaches or chronic pain. Looking for the signs of long term stress will help you to recognise the symptoms and facilitate your move towards a solution. Look out for symptoms of stress which can include:
Studies have found that stress can contribute to headaches. A stress headache is characterised primarily as pain in the head or neck region. Over half of reported headaches are triggered by stress, making it the second most common headache trigger. Other common headache triggers include lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and dehydration.
Aches and pains are a common complaint that can result from increased levels of stress. As your stress levels increase so do your levels of the stress hormone – cortisol. This hormone is associated with chronic pain.
If you feel like you’re constantly battling a case of the sniffles, coughs and frequent colds then reduce your stress levels. Stress may take a toll on your immune system and can cause increased susceptibility to infections.
Chronic fatigue and decreased energy levels can also be caused by prolonged stress.
Difficult emotions can have a direct bearing on your sleep and stress can affect your sleep quality and that sleep deprivation can fuel further stress and irritability. Stress induces a range of bodily reactions in the brain and nervous system, endocrine (hormone) system, and the immune system. The stress response is known as hyperarousal in which the brain and body operate as if “on alert” all the time. Hyperarousal is the central underlying driver of insomnia.
Digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation can also be caused by high levels of stress.
When you feel stressed out, you may find yourself either with no appetite at all or ravenously raiding the refrigerator in the middle of the night.
There are many ways to help relieve stress, the key is finding the technique and practice that resonates and appeals to you. You can try practicing mindfulness, calming exercises like Pilates, or other longer-term healthy practices.
Some solutions can be as easy as paying attention to yourself and paying attention to how you are feeling.
Pay Attention to how you are feeling
Toxicity of technology isn’t just about #bekind or FOMO, technology can also affect the levels of stress on your body because of sitting and staring at screens for a prolonged period of time which causes strain on your body and your mind. Paying mindful attention to your body and your thoughts doesn’t just change how you experience your feelings but also how they flow and affect your body.
On a simple level, paying attention will also make you more aware of how you are holding yourself and the uncomfortable position you are in.
On a deeper level, you’ll begin to notice pockets of tension in your body and what you emotions you are holding onto in that area. For example, a stressful day at work, or a difficult conversation will immediately raise your shoulders. Another simple example of an emotionally directed feeling in your body could be a family incident that sits in your tummy as anxiety.
You can change the way you feel with physical exercise and getting outside and being with nature, walking and when you incorporate mindful awareness with this activity changes will happen and it will enhance all aspects of your life.
Being aware and noting how you feel will help to create harmonious control on your body and how it moves, and knowing your mind and your thoughts will help you to release those thoughts more quickly.
Following your own bodily and emotional clues are the heart of understanding your body and yourself.
Sometimes your tension isn’t simply because you have strained your knee, back or shoulder. Your body’s strain isn’t always linear—it builds up in your muscles for many reasons, including past injuries, surgeries, emotional scars, traumas, and long term stress. Once you’ve started to understand your body, you can move in ways that feel nourishing. This is very similar to intuitive eating. Like food, movement is a nutrient. Your body needs it, and so does your brain.
Pilates mindful movement starts with paying attention to where and how your body would like to stretch, and for how long. You’ll start to notice that you don’t need reminders to adjust your body position or take breaks from work or a constant seated position. Your body, your own cells will send you the message, and your brain will be ready to receive it.
Over time you will create a physical and emotional memory that sits deep within your body, that your body and mind will return to, naturally. Feeling calm, serene and peaceful and not be shaken by any adversity or change in your life, isn’t always easy to manage. We all get caught up in the emotion of a stress event, that is why the events I organise are so popular. They are the middle ground and for many attendees the first step towards a more mindful approach to life and an introduction into a guided meditation practice.
Trust the process.
Emotional triggers can be diminished your long term success depends on knowing who you are and why you react to certain challenges. Find out more about what makes you tick and understand your own personal growth.
Your success depends on starting a small, new routine. A routine habit that will ease the strain. Would you like a positive approach to your health and well-being? Book a time that suits to chat You will come away from our conversation feeling inspired, motivated and ready to grab life and deal with whatever it throws you, I guarantee. Whether you decide to work with me or not you will become very clear in your goals and have a clear awareness of where you need and want to go. Let’s chat – click here to book your time
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References: (1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377029/ (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6054324/