Its stress awareness month throughout April. Its a word I think we have all heard and used, and is often seen as a bit of scapegoat, bit of a catch all. What many don’t realise is the massive impact it is having on our bodies. Stress is a survival response, to help us stay alive by physically responding to our threatened life (fight, flight, freeze), the problem now is that our stressors are no longer physical threats, but deadlines, money worries, bad work relationships, even some TV shows can trigger the stress response in us, the “FOMO” phenomenon, do you feel you’ve lost a limb when you are away from your phone? Are you aware of what stressors you are dealing with? Do you know how your body is reacting to life?
It can affect our emotional, cognitive and physical body: obsessive thoughts, overthinking, inability to concentrate, fuzzy feeling, feeling angry or down a lot, inability to enjoy the things you used to, getting frustrated with things that don’t normally bother you, palpitations, IBS, heartburn, frequent colds/minor infections, clumsy, procrastinating? All of these symptoms, and many more can indicate that we are not managing our lives well and as such stress hormones start to cause chronic issues.
Sometimes we need a bit of outside help: I am offering FREE group acupuncture sessions at various dates and times throughout the month. Book now to avoid disappointment, places are limited.
These sessions will not be free for much longer, so get them whilst you can!
Most therapies have been shown to help deactive the stress response – who doesn’t love a good massage!
Creating a time daily to sit quietly does hugely improve our ability to handle stress, as it helps our body understand there is nothing to run or fight. Let your body know that you are safe enough to simply rest in a quiet space and think about your toes (a body scan if you like!) or count your breathes, count the cobwebs on your ceiling if you must, but focus on something that is hear and now and not emotion inducing. There are lots of apps out there now too for meditating, I often use YouTube, but I have tried and used Headspace, Calm, Insight timer. I set reminders to do these things otherwise I get too caught up in whatever drama show im watching!
Getting physical helps to release that pent up tension, and we are creatures designed for movement – every runner i have ever worked with reported finding the head space when running to be very therapeutic (and they suffered when they stopped cos of injury and had to see me!), I ain’t a runner (like you can’t tell!) – but taking my wee dogs out a walk somewhere quiet does the trick for me, connecting with nature and enjoying the quiet. Yoga, swimming – whatever it is make a commitment to exercise regularly as well as creating time for quiet regularly!
The most difficult one for me is disconnecting myself from my phone – constantly switching between different apps, playing games mostly, but also facebook and instagram, yet hardly ever using my phone for its original job – speaking with friends and family! Its a good idea to set a time to put down the devices and focus on something more ‘real’ – teen anxiety is higher than its ever been and links are being made to social media – and some doctors are prescribing a removal from all social media to treat their anxiety.