What is Stress? It is Life can just be a rollercoaster ride for most individuals. Please see below, The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. Difficulties with personal lives, business, work and finances are just some areas that stress becomes too overwhelming. It lists the highly stressful situations at the top, see below:
Fight or Flight
Periods of intense stress causes the body to move into a state of distress, the adrenals start churning out stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. The body shuts down unnecessary body functions, digestive secretions are reduced. This is to adapt to the situation, e.g. running away from a lion. However modern stress is sustained for long periods of time, which is harmful for health.
In times of stress, cravings for sugar increase as it increases serotonin, the feel good hormone. The body is seeking a way to compensate from stressful emotions or situations.
High stress levels also impact on sleep quality. This can lead to restless sleep or insomnia. This indirectly impacts on mood.
Long term stress causes the depletion of cortisol in the adrenals, leading to adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can lead to poor thyroid function, weight gain and low energy levels.
Tips to manage stress:
Reduce the major stressor – this can feel uncomfortable as it may include changing your job, reducing your work hours, etc. Go on a short holiday. Other strategies include practicing daily Mindfulness helps to manage stress on a daily basis. This can include mindful eating (chewing slowly, taking note of every smell, texture and taste), a short 15 minute visualization meditation, a Mindfulness exercise with me.
All patients are entitled to a 15 minute mindfulness session with each consultation. This helps to reduce stress levels significantly.