When you’re under stress, your body reacts by releasing hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine (read more about these here) – this assists the body with the “fight-or-flight” response. Your heart rate and breathing rate go up and blood vessels narrow.
Whilst this can sound like an intense physiological response, occasional stress is a normal coping mechanism and can be good for us in the short term. However, chronic excess stress can begin to impact our bodies in a number of negative ways.
How does stress affect your health in the long term?
Stress over a long period may contribute to a range of health problems including:
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- sleep disorders and many other symptoms
In contrast to the stress response, relaxation techniques slow the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body.
Thus, it is believed that applying the regular use of relaxation techniques could offset the negative effects of stress, simply because one cannot be both relaxed and stress at the same time. By regularly training your body to relax, you can combat stress and learn coping mechanisms so that it can never get the better of you.
How to deal with stress?
When dealing with stress it is important to examine certain areas closely to see if adaptations can be made with your management team to help reduce stress in your life.
As part of National Stress Awareness month, we have put together a Sense Self-Service guide that will allow you to do your very own personal health check. You can download your copy here. https://www.sensemassage.co.uk/pdf/Sense_Self_Service_2016.pdf
In the Self-Service Assessment, we discuss the importance of the main pillars of health to draw your attention to how well you are taking care of yourself in each of these categories. The sections include:
- Exercise and Movement
- Nutrition and Diet
- Supports and Aids
- Physio and Massage
- Fitness Trainers & Wearables
The idea is to be as honest as possible and taking the Self-Service test is a great step towards making some great changes in your life. So, have a think, and be proud that you’re taking ownership of your health!
We’d definitely recommend doing the Self-Service with a friend, partner or family member to enjoy it most – the important thing is to have fun with it! Plus, you can help each other work out some good goals and action plans to help keep you motivated and improve.
Work Related Stress
There are several work-related factors that can cause an individual to become excessively stressed, either from being chronically stressed or by being put under extreme pressure over a short period of time.
Some of the causes of work related stress include:
- Excessive demands
- Extreme workloads
- Unclear job description
- Lack of work control/ little flexibility
- Lack of peer support
- Poor environmental working conditions
- Neglected work relationships
- Overwhelming emotions/mental state
- Regular work & system changes
- Poor communication
- Unobtainable goals
As part of a strategy to manage stress within the workplace, it’s key to try to combat these issues before they arise - and many businesses already have checks in place to ensure these issues are minimised as much as possible in the day-to-day working environment. As part of a strategy to manage stress within the workplace, it’s key to try to combat these issues before they arise - and many businesses already have checks in place to ensure these issues are minimised as much as possible in the day-to-day working environment. For some ideas on how you can manage stress within your business, or for some advice on how to deal with stress caused by your place of work, check out our article on How to Manage Stress at Work.
Understanding what is causing your stress is key to knowing how to combat it, so take the time to take a step back and assess your situation. Talking to others can help you do this, writing down your problems, or seeking help at work from your manager or peers. To get some ideas on how to manage your stress levels, check out this post from the NHS which outlines 10 great ways you can address stress.
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