Stress has been described by the World Health Organisation as the major “health epidemic of the 21st century” and health experts believe that it may contribute to many life threatening illnesses such as diabetes, dementia and some types of cancer. In our busy high technological world people often describe themselves as being stressed in a way that is just a normal and accepted part of daily living.
In fact being under pressure can be a useful drive that helps us to take action, to feel more energised and to get results. However if we start to find ourselves becoming over whelmed with stress then these feelings can start to become a problem. We often start to develop symptoms which we associate with stress such as tiredness, headaches, an upset stomach,and aches and pains to name but a few. This is because when we start to feel stressed emotionally our bodies release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This is the body’s autonomic way of preparing to respond to a threat which is sometimes called the “fight or flight response”. If we often feel stressed then we will produce high levels of these hormones which can make us feel physically unwell and can affect physical and mental health on a longer term basis.
Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure to reflex points on the feet which can help to balance the mind and body and bring about a deep state of relaxation whilst also improving mood, aiding sleep, relieving tension and giving a sense of balance and well being which allows the body to heal itself. Reflexology may also facilitate the release of deep rooted anxieties and emotions enabling our body and mind to perform at its best.
Practical Self Help Techniques
If you start to experience symptoms of stress such as headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia or an irritable bowel try to do something more positive, such as:
- Start to introduce deep breathing techniques during the day to calm the body and mind. Try breathing in for five seconds and then breathing out for five seconds. Try to imagine your breath filling every part of your body.
- Start to take up some regular form of exercise such as walking or running up and down the stairs rather than taking the lift. Try to take regular breaks from your desk if you have a sedentary job.
- Practice establishing some boundaries and learn to say “No” if you feel that you are taking on too much