by Helen Mawson
Stress is at an all time high in the UK, with more and more people being signed off work with symptoms of stress, and more people reporting illness connected to stress. The ever increasing demands on our time and resources all play a big part in contributing to our increasing stress levels.
In this article I will share some information on stress and why the body responds the way it does when faced with stressful situations. I will also share some useful tools and techniques that can help with stress.
What is stress?
The stress response is the bodys way of responding to a threat when we feel threatened our nervous system responds to this by flooding our bodies with stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones get the body revved up to take flight or to stay and fight. This response is a primitive one hard-wired into us. It was necessary for our survival when we were presented with life threatening situations like predators! Unfortunately, for our health the same response is firing up when we are faced with things that are not life threatening and this stress response is happening much more regularly. We are now in a situation where our bodies are flooded with stress hormones on a regular basis which causes all sorts of problems.
Symptoms of stress:
We all respond differently to stress so symptoms differ from person to person, symptoms will also be different when stress has been present for much longer.
Some common symptoms may include;
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate / palpitations
- Feelings of dread /doom
- Crying spells
- Digestive problems
- Impaired immune system
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in eating patterns
- Changes in behaviour
- Feeling overwhelmed / overloaded
- Dizziness / light headedness
- Communication problems
How I work with stress:
I often use a combination of the therapies that I work with in practice in order to treat stress and its symptoms. Often I will use the Bowen Technique and specific procedures that are very effective in helping the body recover from stressful experiences. Often the trauma of a stressful event is locked into the body at a cellular level. Bowen seems to work well to release these memories and patterns that can be causing problems, sometimes even years after the event. I may also offer advice and test clients for specific remedies and nutritional supplements that could help with the symptoms that they are experiencing. I will also most likely recommend self-help techniques that clients can use for themselves on a daily basis to help ease their symptoms.
Self-help tips to help with stress:
My go to remedies for stress and calming the nervous system include;
- Rescue remedy or 5 flower remedy. This is a great remedy to have in your medicine cupboard or handbag. It is a combination of 5 of the Bach flower remedies and really does help to calm the nervous system. Use when you are feeling like you need some extra support or after a difficult situation.
- Mimulus. A Bach flower remedy used to treat fears, particularly fears of known things. This remedy is useful for things like upcoming exams, driving tests, meetings or any event that you fear.
- Argent Nit. A homeopathic remedy that is used to treat apprehension and anxiety especially regarding an approaching event.
- Aconite. A homeopathic remedy that is excellent for intense fear, shock, and anxiety.
Sometimes when we are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals the symptoms of stress can be exacerbated. A mineral that is often deficient and that can be used to very good effect in treating symptoms of stress is Magnesium. This mineral is required by around 800 enzyme systems that promote thousands of biochemical reactions in the body. Stress seriously depletes magnesium levels so it really is essential in treating this problem. In practice, I often test clients using Kinesiology muscle testing for deficiencies and recommend the supplements they can use in order to help.
De-stress (af/fe) points:
The de-stress points are located on the forehead and the middle of the head. When these points are held, the stress response is diluted. These points are physiologically wired into our stress and fear response and when held help reduce stress, anxiety and fear.
- The first points are located on the forehead about a thumb width from the hair line on most people you will feel a bump on either side of your forehead. The second point is located on the midline of your head on your crown.
- If you are finding it difficult to locate these points, simply put your head in your hands by placing your palms on the forehead and hold your head.
- While holding these points you need to think about the stress that you are facing i.e. the situation that has occurred or that is yet to occur. It is useful to get as stressed, upset or wound up as is possible while holding the points so it can diffuse as much of the tension as possible.
For more techniques like this please check out my Wellness Workshop.