Sound familiar? How often have we felt this, or heard others exclaim their frustration?
Of course some stress can be positive and healthy, but only if it’s short-lived. Stress in itself isn’t an illness – but prolonged or severe stress can lead to serious illness if it isn’t addressed, and in the extreme it can be a killer. Josephine Firth, a registered member of the Society of Homeopaths, explores the condition and suggests a holistic approach.
Stress can affect anyone, young and old, and is a completely normal reaction that we all experience from time to time when we’re placed under abnormal pressure; such pressure turns into stress when we feel unable to cope. In certain situations, such as interviews, performances and public speaking, a moderate amount of stress can help many people to perform better. Some even thrive on the adrenaline rush that accompanies high-risk sports such as BASE Jumping, skydiving and extreme skiing, for example, but for many their experience of stress is far from positive.
Research shows that over 13 million working days are lost each year in the UK due to stress, depression and anxiety, with around 12 million adults approaching their family doctor with mental health problems. The majority of these people are suffering from anxiety and depression and much of this is stress-related.
A wide range of situations can cause stress, of course, and one person’s trigger may produce no reaction in someone else, but circumstances associated with change and with a lack of control over what is happening in one’s life are recognised as being particularly significant. These include moving house, changing jobs, bereavement, divorce and the serious illness of oneself or a loved one. Even happy events, such as getting married or having a baby, can be a source of great stress as they bring about big changes or make unusual demands on one’s time and capabilities.
However, for many people the major causes of ongoing day-to-day unremitting stress are difficulties at work, financial worries and relationship problems with partners, children and other family members.
So what happens when we get stressed and why is long-term or extreme stress harmful?
Our physical reactions to stress are due to our biological history and the need to respond to the sudden dangers that threatened us when we were hunter-gatherers – what’s known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Our bodies still respond in this way, releasing a surge of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The release of adrenaline increases our breathing and heart rate in preparation to defend ourselves (fight) or to run away (flight), and we become pale, sweat more and our mouths become dry. The short-term effects of the increase in cortisol are also positive, including a burst of energy, increased immunity and a decreased sensitivity to pain. Once the pressure or threat has passed, our stress hormone levels usually return to normal. When the stress is long-term these hormones remain at increased levels in the body, resulting in a number of stress-related physical and mental health problems. These include imbalances of blood sugar levels, underactive thyroid, lowered immunity, high blood pressure, depression, impotence and a decreased ability to think clearly.
Some of the most common symptoms of long-term stress include sleeping problems, sweating, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, decreased libido, muscle tension or pain and difficulty concentrating. There may also be increased feelings of anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, and a tendency to lose one’s temper more easily or behave unreasonably.
There is little we can do to completely prevent or avoid stress in our lives, but recognising the signs early can help us to manage stress more effectively and minimise any potential long-term effects. Alongside relaxation techniques and taking regular exercise, an increasing number of people are turning to homeopathy to help them cope with stress.
Homeopathy is a safe, natural, holistic and highly effective approach, which not only helps to alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms experienced during stressful situations such as the anticipatory anxiety at public speaking and interviews, but it can also help people who are overcoming major life traumas, and those suffering from more deep-rooted anxieties.
Because individuals experience stress in a unique way, a professional homeopath takes this into account, selecting remedies to match the individual. Homeopathic remedies are highly diluted and made from naturally occurring substances that have not been modified or synthesised, consequently they are safe to use, even in pregnancy, and are free from the toxic side-effects often experienced when using conventional medicines. Homeopathic remedies gently stimulate the body’s natural healing capacity, encouraging the body to heal itself. Remedies gently restore balance whilst boosting the constitution and bringing a sense of wellbeing, helping us to remain calm and centred during the rollercoaster of life’s journey.
for more information see homeopathyforbetterhealth.co.uk