Focus onJust put your feet up and beat stress...
Stress is an emotion that evolved to help us adapt to situations of tangible danger, the nervous system readies the body for action to either fight or escape.
Much of modern day stress, however, is social and psychological and serves no useful purpose. A certain amount of stress doesn’t damage your health but prolonged stress, where you don’t feel in control, can leave you feeling exhausted and can affect the immune and cardiovascular systems.
When you are in a state of chronic stress the immune system becomes suppressed and the body is susceptible to incoming illness. No one condition is associated with stress, but stress exposes your vulnerabilities and exacerbates certain long-term chronic conditions, for example, many digestives disorders, asthma, eczema and insomnia.
What can you do to combat the effects of stress?
Relaxation is the answer. Relaxation techniques have been shown to stimulate the ‘parasympathetic’ nervous system which is responsible for rest and renewal. The heart rate slows and breathing deepens allowing the cells and tissues to be nourished. Energy stimulates the digestive and immune systems and your mind calms down. Stress has the opposite effect, it stimulates the ‘sympathetic’ nervous system diverting energy away from the digestive and immune systems, the heart rate increases and you are likely to feel anxious and overreact.
How reflexology can help
Relaxing at regular intervals counteracts over stimulation of the ‘sympathetic’ nervous system. Reflexology brings about deep relaxation and with it, the ability to combat the emotional and physical symptoms of stress in modern-day life. Reflexology restores balance so that the circulation can flow round the body and supply nutrients and oxygen to the cells, allowing the body’s organs and systems to function more normally, which in turn helps to boost the immune system. Reflexology can be used on its own or as part of an wider approach with other activities such as, meditation, yoga and hypnosis that influence the mind and induce relaxation.
Stress management treatments
For chronic stress it may be helpful to try and change the way you perceive the source of stress by finding a stress reduction programme, such as, the more formal treatments of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is about altering thought processes that may be unhelpful or Coping Strategies that help you to manage your time more effectively.
Information on CBT is available from
British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
And the Royal College of Psychiatrists