Treating Stress with Soul Revival Reflexology

Stress compassA 20-year study conducted by the University of London concluded that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high cholesterol foods.

A study about stress and heart disease.

A certain amount of stress is necessary as it keeps us motivated and excited about life and helps us to achieve our goals. This is called eustress but may also be known as pressure. Pressure creates a surge of adrenalin in our bodies that helps us deal with impending challenges, dangers or problems.

This reaction is known as 'fight or flight', and physical and emotional changes occur in the body to help us think and act fast in order to get away from or face a threat.

How our bodies respond in a 'fight or flight' situation:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure increase in order to pump more blood to the muscles needed to deal with the immediate situation.
  • Breathing rate increases as more oxygen is needed in the body for the muscles to work faster.
  • Blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to get to the muscles. Muscles tense in order to be able to react quickly to the situation.
  • Pupils dilate to let more light into the eyes, creating sharper vision. The brain also discards any information that it deems unnecessary to the situation and so 'tunnel vision' may result.
  • Hearing may become muffled so that the ears simply concentrate on sounds relevant to the situation.
  • Perception of pain may become reduced so that a person can fight or flee for as long as is necessary to get away from danger.
  • Blood is diverted away from parts of the brain that are responsible for things like rational thought and memory, to areas used to calculate whether to fight or flee. This means that speech may be affected and memory of what happened during the event may be vague.
  • Blood is diverted away from functions such as digestion, urination or reproduction, as they are not necessary functions to enable the body to react to the immediate threat to survival.

Eustress should fade once a challenging situation has been met, and the physical effects of the fight or flight response should quickly disappear as the body returns to a normal state. However, when pressure becomes constant, excessive or outside an individual's ability to cope, then stress can develop and the body can start to become exhausted because it is in a constant state of readiness; muscles are always tense, digestion doesn't function to its fullest, memory worsens, menstruation may be inhibited, sexual desire decreases and immunity is supressed.

Despite the detrimental effect to our physical and mental self, most of us are able to live with prolonged stress for quite a while, as our bodies adapt to the altered state, and we maybe don't recognise quite what a profound impact it is having on us. It is in this state that we can become more vulnerable to illnesses and injury, and easily overwhelmed with everyday tasks.

The good news is that if the stress cycle is interrupted early enough then its negative effects are generally reversible and a normal physical state can be reached. The key aspects to dealing with stress positively and breaking the negative cycle include recognising the fact that you are stressed and finding positive ways of dealing with it in order to allow your body and mind to relax fully each day.

Self-help tips:

  • Take regular exercise - not only does it release 'feel-good' endorphins into the blood stream, it also allows the brain to concentrate on something other than the stressor.
  • Eating a healthy diet - this helps to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and will help the body to recover some of the vitamins and minerals that stress depletes.
  • Take up a hobby - like exercise this can help the brain switch to a different gear and gives a sense of achievement which will help boost self-esteem.
  • Make time to do some deep breathing which will help to slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and clear your mind.
  • Talk, smile and laugh more!
  • Treat yourself to a regular therapeutic session - such as an hour's reflexology treatment!

 

Take a Break

 

...improve your work-life balance with Soul Revival Reflexology.

In 2009/10 an estimated 9.8 million working days were lost through work-related stress.

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Soul Survivor!

 

Reflexology is very relaxing after my week at work.

Andrea A / Kent

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