The effects of stress and how can I manage it?
December has arrived which means Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are only a few weeks away. As exciting as the idea of a break from the office is, the weeks leading up to Christmas can be very stressful. City workers have end of year reports to write, business meetings to attend and on top of all that, they must find the time to brave the crowds at Oxford St to buy their loved ones a Christmas present. If that wasn’t stressful enough, the realization that your in-laws are coming to stay with you for a week over Christmas should be the nail in the coffin.
Stress can affect people in a variety of ways. There is a psychological aspect as well as a physiological/musculoskeletal aspect. For many people, it can be a combination of both. The aim of this blogpost isn’t to add to your stress. But rather, to help you to understand some of the science behind it as well as some strategies to help manage symptoms.
What is stress?
Stress can be caused by several triggers: money, work, relationships to name a few. When we are exposed to these triggers, the body enters a shock phase. The body, in particular the hypothalamus, reacts by producing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
These temporarily increase energy levels by releasing glucose into the blood stream as well as elevating the heart rate and blood pressure. This is your body’s fight or flight mechanism. Other bodily functions, such as the digestive system are temporarily suppressed. This explains why people often have no appetite when stressed and often rely on alcohol or tobacco.
The body does a good job of regulating these hormone levels and gradually returns to a state of equilibrium or homeostasis. From here, blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
However, if you are exposed to stressful triggers on a regular basis then your body does not get the chance to return to its state of equilibrium.
This can result in several health problems:
Psychologically; feelings such as:
Lack of motivation
Physically; symptoms such as:
High blood pressure
Change in sex drive
When people are “stuck” in this state of stress, for example being in a toxic relationship or unhappy work environment, they develop coping strategies. Some are effective, whereas others – such as alcohol abuse and outbursts of anger – can magnify the problem.
How to manage stress:
There are a variety of ways to manage stress. Keep in mind different strategies work for different people. Examples of effective strategies include:
Regular physical activity/exercise
Listening to music
Here at Ultra Sports Clinic, we can help you with a number of these strategies. Our physiotherapists and chiropractic team can diagnose and treat cervicogenic headaches – a common stress-related condition. This can be done with manual therapy, which aims to loosen tight muscles and improve joint mobility.
Our biokinetics is an expert at exercise prescription. You can be given an individualized rehabilitation program that aims to improve posture which will reduce the impact of stress-related tension. Our Sports Massage Therapist can provide relief to your tight muscles with 30 or 60 minute treatments.
Or why not see one of our Rehab Specialists in our state of the art gym?
The picture below shows you the psychological benefits of exercise; which includes increased production of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine.
If you’re not sure which health practitioner is right for you, then why not take advantage of a free 15-minute body review. One of our highly qualified practitioners can assess you and direct your management going forward.
Remember: Life doesn’t get easier; you just get stronger
Call us on (0) 203 893 5100 or book your appointment online today.
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