Stress is a growing problem in modern society; in fact, it is estimated that 25% of absenteeism from work is related to stress. Here at A.Vogel Talks Stress, our mental wellbeing advisor, Marianna Kilburn, provides information on stress, its causes, symptoms and treatments, as well as handy hints and tips to reduce your stress. There is also a Q&A service where Marianna answers any stress-related questions you have.
All of these lead to the same physiological response in our body and the release of stress chemicals such as adrenalin into our bloodstream. The purpose of these chemicals is to make our minds more alert and prepare our bodies for action.
This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ reaction and is one of the primitive reflexes we have left over from our cavemen days. Back then, stress came about when we faced a large animal – we had to make the decision whether to run away from it or fight it so that our family could eat for a few days.
Stress can also be caused or exacerbated by the menopause. If you are going through this time of life and feeling more stressed than usual, this may be because the hormonal changes in your body have altered the chemical activities in your brain, making you less able to cope with stress.
Identifying the cause of your stress is the first step towards helping you find a solution. You can do this by examining your life to determine exactly what is putting you under so much pressure.
Stress also gives rise to emotional symptoms. These include feeling tired, drained, irritable and unable to switch off. In general, these can take a bigger toll on your life and those around you than physical symptoms.
If you are worried about your symptoms, especially if they are affecting the way you think, feel and act, seek medical attention.
Two groups of factors determine how well we cope with stress – these are known as external and internal factors, and are also sometimes referred to as ‘stressors’.
External factors generally lie within our environment and the people around us. If work, relationships, friends and home life are making us feel happy and secure, we are able to cope with stress better
Internal factors are what we are born with, otherwise known as our personality. This determines how we react to the stresses we face. We know looking around us, that some people just appear to cope with stress better than others.
How well each person reacts to stress can vary from one day to the next. This is because factors such as our general health and fitness levels, emotional state, nutritional balance and the amount of rest and sleep we are getting have a major influence on how we cope with stress.
People under stress find that they cope better after mastering a number of stress management techniques. In addition, you may find that herbal remedies can be effective in helping you manage your stress symptoms.
These are generally preferred to conventional medicines as they are not associated with the same level of side effects. Valerian and Avena sativa are the most common herbs used for counteracting the symptoms of stress.
Marianna works in central London as a Trainer and In Store Health Adviser for A Vogel. She is also a Practitioner Life Coach with both personal and professional experience in stress management. She has a passion for helping people tap into their inner wisdom and maximise their potential for good health. Marianna’s aim, in these pages, is to share tools and tricks for well-being and encourage a search for personal solutions to life’s challenges.
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