STRESS

STRESS Fact sheet

Stress is fundamentally a physical response, when the body thinks it is under attack, by releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals, such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, to prepare the body for physical action. 

This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.

We’ve all heard of fight or flight, when faced with life-threatening situations, our bodies are equipped to do both, the chemicals released allow us to face those once prehistoric animals.

However, in modern life, we have less life-threatening situations to contend with, yet our bodies still have a tendency to go into stress mode at inappropriate times, which can be detrimental to our mental and physical health if it continues.

This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.

We’ve all heard of fight or flight, when faced with life-threatening situations, our bodies are equipped to do both, the chemicals released allow us to face those once prehistoric animals.

However, in modern life, we have less life-threatening situations to contend with, yet our bodies still have a tendency to go into stress mode at inappropriate times, which can be detrimental to our mental and physical health if it continues.

Psychological symptoms

Stress can affect you emotionally, you may feel

  • overwhelmed
  • anxious
  • irritable
  • lack self-esteem

It can effect you, so that mentally, you may feel

  • worried
  • have trouble concentrating
  • are easily distracted
  • muddled minded

Behaviourally, you may find you

  • get cross with people
  • avoid people or situations
  • take to other distractions like alcohol, smoking, food

Physical symptoms

Physically stress can result in

  • headaches
  • sleep problems
  • tiredness
  • eating too little or too much
  • niggling aches and pains
  • feeling dizzy
  • digestive complaints
It’s not always necessary to seek help from your GP, but if you feel you have tried the alternative treatments  that help alleviate stress, and nothing is working for you, see your GP for further advice.
Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT) talking through your problems to help you change the way you think and behave. CBT helps you get out of a trapped pattern of behaviour focussing on the problems in the present that are causing you stress.

CBT is also used in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Prescription Medication
You’re GP may prescribe medication to help reduce or alleviate stress or if you are having problems sleeping.

Self Help via books or online courses

Mindfulness & Meditation 

Mindfulness is a mental training technique allowing you to look at what is going on in the present moment by being aware of thoughts, feelings and mood. It helps you reconnect with your body, leading to a more positive mental outlook, that breaks the cycle of stressful thoughts. So you can see things as they are, and not as you wish them to be. So you become better at spotting the build up of stress and the consequences of it. You learn that thoughts are just thoughts.

There are many courses available and a great deal of evidence to support the positive effects that mindfulness brings.

Some people choose to join an eight-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. A group-based class where you can get the benefit of guidance and support from an experienced mindfulness teacher. 

Meditation can be practised at home, at any time, and it can be of great benefit to have enrolled on a meditation course to give you the foundation to continue at home.

Deep breathing techniques  allows the body and mind to take in the correct levels of oxygen needed to maintain a healthy, balanced system.

More oxygen clears the mind and energises the whole body. Whereas, lack of oxygen leads to mental sluggishness, lack of focus, depression and anxiety.

The benefits of breathing correctly help create an energetic surge, purifies the blood and causes a relaxed state of being.

Exercise Research shows that physical activity boosts mood, self-esteem, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the risk of developing depression and many other serious health problems.

Even just a daily 20 minute walk can have beneficial effects. 


Healthy Eating 
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, preferably low in sugar, caffeine and refined and processed foods will be a step towards levelling out your energy levels and stop you developing the troughs and spikes that so many unhealthy, convenience foods cause, acerbating the affects of stress further.

Choosing the right foods to help with managing your stress will help calm, nurture, energise, nourish and restore. Allowing your body to remain balanced, healthy and efficient.

Acupuncture Evidence


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