Do you know if you are experiencing the symptoms of stress? Awareness is the first step in stress management.
If your answers to the following test give you reason to suspect that stress is taking a toll on you, remember that regular massage therapy can gradually counteract these effects. Some of the following symptoms could indicate a medical condition that warrants prompt attention. So if the symptoms persist or worsen, see your physician. If you feel overwhelmed, see a physician or professional counselor for more specific stress management advice.
The Stress Test
1) Do you experience regular insomnia?
2) Have your eating habits changed? Do you want to eat more than usual or have you lost your appetite?
3) Do you feel bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed?
4) Do you worry about bad things happening to your loved ones?
5) Do you have stomach aches or intestinal distress?
6) Do you lack energy to do the things you enjoy at the end of the day or on the weekend?
7) Do you feel listless or apathetic?
8) Are you tense or irritable at work or at home?
10) Are you easily agitated, frustrated, and moody?
11) Have you lost your sense of humor?
12) Are you increasingly forgetful?
13) Do you have trouble concentrating?
14) Do you have chest pain and/or a rapid heartbeat?
15) Do you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things you have no control over?
16) Do you feel you have lost control over your life?
17) Do your relationships or friendships feel unsatisfying?
18) Do you have a loss of sexual desire and/or ability?
19) Do you panic easily?
20) Are you often fatigued?
21) Do you get frequent colds or suffer from allergies?
22) Has your drinking or smoking increased?
23) Do you find it hard to relax or fall asleep at night?
24) Are you pessimistic and/or do you only see the negative side?
25) Have you lost enthusiasm for your work?
26) Are you nervous? Do you have a ringing in the ear? Do you have cold or sweaty hands and feet?
27) Do you have a dry mouth and difficulty swallowing?
28) Do you have a clenched jaw and do you grind your teeth?
29) Do you have skin rashes?
30) Do you procrastinate and do you avoid responsibilities?
How Stress Affects Your Body
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing--it can be a stimulus for positive change and growth. But excess stress can be detrimental. Research shows that as stress builds, you may become more susceptible to physical illness, mental and emotional problems, and accidental injuries.
Various sources estimate that 70-90% of visits to general physicians are for stress-related problems. So, knowing the symptoms of stress and practicing stress management is important to maintaining good health.
"Stress can wreck havoc with your metabolism, raise your blood pressure, burst you white blood cells, make you flatulent, ruin your sex life, and if that’s not enough, possibly damage your brain."
Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
Stress affects your body through the nervous system, which is the control center of your body. Every thought, action, and emotion reflects the activity of the nervous system. The nervous system is also responsible for the stress-related fight or flight response.
Here’s how the fight or flight response works. Let’s say that during a backcountry hike an angry cougar confronts you. You have two choices: run or fight.
Your body prepares for action: your muscles tense, your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure all increase, your liver dumps sugar into the blood stream for energy, and your adrenal glands pump adrenaline into your system. Your body also shuts down digestion, the kidneys, and the reproductive system, which are not needed for immediate survival.
Then after your successful fight or flight, your body pretty much returns to normal as a result of the intense physical exertion.
Most of the stresses we face in today’s world are subtler than a cougar. But when someone yells at you or cuts you off in traffic, your body has much the same response that it has to that cougar.
Because it’s not acceptable to either fight or run, your body does not as easily return to a normal state. The effects of such stresses build up, and over time your body spends more time in the hyped-up fight or flight state.
Without a physical outlet to reverse the daily effects of stress, stress has serious health consequences. Look again at the description of the fight or flight reaction, and you can see that continually being in this state could lead to chronically tense muscles and to heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, digestive, kidney, or reproductive problems.
To prevent health problems, it’s important to reverse the symptoms of stress. Massage therapy is one of the best stress management methods available.
Massage obviously relieves tense muscles. Massage therapy also evokes the opposite of the fight or flight response: the relaxation response, which lowers heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure and increases the blood supply to all the body’s systems, helping them function at an optimal level.
CRO Akwa Wellness
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