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Is stress sucking the joy out of your life?

What is this thing called stress anyway?  

An important factor to remember at all times is that stress in normal. Doesnt mean it feels good though does it! Everybody at some point experiences feelings of stress. Stress is often triggers by major life changes, such as death of a loved one, relationship breakups, financial pressures, expectations from friends, family and/or work, the pressure we put on ourselves, loss of any kind and many more.

Afore mentioned are some of the major life stressors, of course we have daily stresses and pressures too. These small stressors can all add up and make a big impact if not properly managed.

Some common day to day stressors together:

  • Housework, washing and ironing
  • Kids homework and activities
  • Paying and managing bills on time
  • Keeping friends and family happy
  • Pressure to perform
  • Not upsetting those around us
  • And many more

Our physical and emotional responses to these pressures and stresses are often shown though our body. In times of stress we tense up, our blood pressure increases, our heart rate speeds up, we perspire, our metabolism changes, and our breathing rates become shallow, which restricts our oxygen flow into our body. As we can see from this list, the ill effects of stress have a negative impact on our body!

The stress response is our body’s way of reacting to perceived threats or danger. During this reactive response we secrete certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, which are the hormones that cause all those uncomfortable bodily responses. This changes and alters our autonomic nervous functions, giving our body extra energy and strength to deal with the perceived danger. Which of course is appropriate, if we are in Africa and need to run away from a lion! You may have heard this response being called ‘fight and flight’ mode. Having been given this name to help us to physically fight or flee when presented with a life-threatening event. Now a days however this response is activated when that degree of response in not appropriate. This then over stimulates our nervous system, which places extra strain on our vital organs, and if this is maintained over a prolonged period of time can result in common diseases that are found in today’s times.

Meditation and Mindfulness practices are wonderful stress management systems. When we become more effective in our management of stress we can ensure optimum health and well-being.

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