Are YOU stressed?
Even if you live on an idyllic tropical island it is very difficult to escape from stress completely. Not that we would want to. Stress is a natural thing and can serve a useful purpose. It can motivate a person to achieve more than they might otherwise do, perhaps to get a promotion at work or to run the last mile of a marathon. However, too much or long term, stress can be debilitating and can seriously interfere with job, family life and health.
So how do we know if we are stressed? There are a number of tell-tale signs that we should look out for. One of the most common is difficulty in sleeping. Maybe we wake up in the middle of the night with our mind racing and we can’t get back to sleep. We instinctively know how this is different from being woken up by a dog barking or a door slamming and is often caused by our brain trying to have too much rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). It is during this REM sleep that our subconscious works on our behalf to sort out those things which are causing us worry and concern, and so keep us mentally healthy.
Other give away signs are headaches, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, upset stomach and irritability. Of course all these symptoms can occur for a variety of reasons and so it is always best to seek advice from your GP to make sure that there is no physical cause.
When we get stressed our body reacts and a surge of hormones are released. In particular adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. These stress hormones are released to help you to deal with pressures or threats – what we call the "fight or flight" response. Once the pressure or threat has gone, your stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you're constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to the symptoms of stress and potentially to a range of more serious health problems. What are these? I’m afraid that you will have to wait to next time to find out. In the mean time just.................relax.
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