Stress is something everyone has experienced at some point in their life, some more than others. Unfortunately, it has become so prevalent in our society, most people view it has a normal part of their everyday life. There are a variety of reasons that can contribute to feeling of stress, such as family life, finances, work, and the list goes on. According to new study results by Statistics Canada, last year about 27 per cent of working adults described their lives on most days to be “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to several health problems.
How Does the Body Respond to Stress?
Stress is triggered by either a physical threat or an emotional disturbance, which produces a physical response in the body. When your body senses a perceived threat (physical, or emotional), its defenses kick in as a means to protect itself. This is known as the “fight, or flight” response. The physical changes that occur as a result of this response are produced by the hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which are released by the nervous system. These hormones prepare the body for action by increasing the body’s heart rate and blood pressure, quicken breathing, and tighten muscles. These changes provide increased strength, reaction time, and enhance your focus to prepare the body to either fight or flight. This response to stress is important as it can help you survive emergency situations like fighting off an attacker. Unfortunately the body cannot distinguish between a physical threat and emotional upset.
Therefore, when you experience stress over a pile of bills, or a fight with a loved one, your body reacts the same way as it would to a life or death situation. In our society, many of us are in a constant state of stress. This long-term exposure becomes detrimental and creates a variety of health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, cancer, increased blood pressure, heart attack, GI disorders and more.
Symptoms of Stress
Facts About Stress
Ways to Reduce Stress
There are several ways to reduce and manage stress from exercise, breathing/meditation exercises, hobbies, yoga, proper sleep, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and what I am going to touch on is massage therapy.
Massage therapy can greatly reduce stress and the effects on the body. Studies carried out by the Touch Institute at the University of Miami found that massage was found to reduce levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. It was also shown to decrease individuals perceived stress and anxiety levels. In addition, massage therapy can ease the symptoms associated with stress such as muscle tension, jaw soreness from grinding teeth, reduce/eliminate headaches, improve sleep patterns, and increase the immune system by stimulating white blood cells. In addition to this it’s time to yourself where you can turn your brain off and unwind and let’s be honest, it just feels good.
This is a guest post from Jeri Denomy, RMT, located in Owen Sound, Ontario. Book an appointment online with Jeri at jeridenomyrmt.weebly.com