How Stress Affects Our Health

Stress is an undeniable element today. Each person is affected in a  different way. Emotional trauma creates an unstable environment. The mind  often works overtime, with thoughts racing through our heads. Worries and responsibilities compound. How and why does this happen?

The human anatomy  has a “flight or fight” response to danger. It is this physiological  response  that has allowed us to evolve through the ages. When danger threatens us, the physical body responds. During a natural disaster or a political upheaval this ability to respond literally saves lives. The “fight or flight” response is  called  hyperarousal, or alternatively,  the acute stress response.  When danger subsides, there is no longer a need to be on high alert. Modern day stress continue to activate this response.  Mental health clinicians  recommend tai chi , breathwork. and visualization  techniques to combat chronic stress.

There are many medical conditions that can manifest through the stress portal. Diabetes, thyroid imbalance, hypertension, migraine headaches, and digestive disorders are but a few. A medical diagnosis conducted with a doctor will determine results. Your  doctor may also recommend further diagnostic treatments, x-rays, or ultrasound, or provide a referral for appointment with a professional dietitian, psychologist, or physiotherapist.

 

mental-illness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a fantastic  tool available to combat depression and anxiety.  CBT differs from traditional psychotherapy. The CBT model is based on the idea that thought distortion and maladaptive behavior are a factor in the development of psychological  disorders. This modality focuses on building coping strategies to deal with stress, along with changing unhelpful thought patterns. It is an action based therapy, focused on transforming thought and behavior patterns. CBT has proven effective in the treatment of depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Talking about our problems is important. Holding feelings in creates tension and disease in the physical body.  Connecting with others may offer strength, courage, and hope. Friends and family may have good intentions when listening to problems. All too often, we are told to “get over it”, “stop feeling sorry for ourselves”, or “forget about it, and move on”.  Our institutions program us further – We are taught and encouraged to do as we are told, be quiet and behave. A qualified therapist may be able to suggest additional strategies and solutions. There is great value in talking to a professional counselor.

Self expression is an part of daily life. Writing, drawing, or painting offer an avenue of self discovery. Learn to play a musical instrument. Make time in a busy schedule to pursue interests and hobbies.  Discover the creative capacity within. Express feelings and emotions in a constructive way.

Cultivate healthy lifestyle choices. Create a wellness plan before stress creates imbalances in the body. An excellent place to start is with a healthy and regular meal plan. Fresh air, exercise, and sunshine are good for you. Take time out  to relax with meditation or yoga. Consider holistic therapies such as Reflexology or Reiki. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep. Avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.

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