"I wouldn't have got through this year without you Sara. The work we've done has been life-changing."
The human stress response is designed for fight or flight. Both are physical actions: fighting or running, and nature enabled us to survive acutely stressful situations by diverting all the body’s resources into survival:
Pupils dilate, alertness heightens, muscles tense
Blood supply diverts away from digestion and to the muscles & brain
Breathing & heart rate increase
Blood pressure increases, blood sugar and heart rate increase due to adrenalin release
Cortisol keeps blood pressure & sugar levels high
Non-essential body-functions cease, and all your resources are directed towards survival: digesting breakfast isn’t going to increase your chances of survival at this instant, nor is being fertile or having good immune function.
The heightened alertness and increased strength from adrenalin and cortisol provide our best chance of beating the beast in the jungle: your body becomes a coiled spring, tensed and ready to respond instantly to the slightest trigger.
Stresses we face today aren’t the kind of stresses our stress response is designed for.
The thing is the stresses we face today aren’t the kind of stresses our stress response is designed for. The bodies we stand up in today are cavemen’s – we haven’t evolved much since then physically, but our lifestyles are incomparable. The majority of the stresses we encounter on a daily basis aren’t immediately life-threatening.
Modern stresses are different: lower level, longer-term and lingering. Constant deadlines, crowded commutes, children disrupting sleep, financial pressures, guilt, – all of these things are mentally or emotionally stressful.
Other 21st Century stresses include: sugar, inactivity, allergens, infection, nutritional imbalance, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, anxiety, depression and pain, as well as electromagnetic stresses such as televisions, computers, mobile phones and fluorescent lights.
21st century stress is cumulative, disruptive to healthy body function and damaging.
Significantly lower immune function
increase cholesterol and blood pressure, contributing to risk of heart attacks and strokes
Trigger or exacerbate digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Cause or aggravate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
Bring about or exacerbate menstrual disorders - heavy bleeding or absent periods
Initiate or intensify anxiety, panic attacks or depression
Worsen a variety of existing conditions including headaches, migraines and menopause
Did you know that...we all have a relaxation response that opposes the stress response and we can choose to turn it on.
Dr Herbert Benson, American Cardiologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School has written and researched this subject extensively. In clinical trials, his programme has been found to
Having studied the work of Dr, Herbert Benson, and worked with relaxation and breathing techniques I know how effective it is in reducing stress and making a busy life manageable.
In addition to teaching relaxation techniques, based on Dr. Benson’s work, I use a combination of dietary advice to stabilise mood and energy levels, herbal medicine to support the adrenal glands and calm the nervous system together with the relaxation techniques, makes a powerful package you can use whenever you need to, wherever you are.