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Keep that Stress at Bay!

Do we really know the impact of stress?

Do we know that stress can make our brain more susceptible to mental illness?stress

Stress, no matter its cause has been found to alter brain activities in ways that can have a long-term lasting detrimental effect on our mental health. There are several ways stress produces lasting damage to our mental health and one of these is by indirectly interfering with the normal functioning of our bodily chemicals which are called neurotransmitters. These chemicals in turn directly impair the function of the pre-frontal cortex of our brain, which is the area known to be home to higher level of thinking in man. Now what happens is that when these normal functions are disrupted, our reflective tendencies become inhibited while our reactive tendencies takes over and these automatically results to being consumed by feelings of anxiety, aggression and even depression.

Stress however does not only have damaging effect on our mental health but it also has negative lasting effect on our body, mood and behaviour.

Ways stress can affect our body:

  •   Having constant headaches
  •   Chest pain
  •   Experiencing fatigue
  •   Change in sex drive
  •  Developing sleep problems
  •   Stomach upset, and having muscle pain.

Ways stress affects our mood:

  •   Producing feelings of anxiety
  •   Restlessness
  •   Lack of motivation or drive
  •   Causing irritability
  •   Anger outburst and overwhelming feelings of sadness.

Stress doesn’t leave our behaviour out of its reach as it also finds a way to cause overeating or under eating, social withdrawal, which can in turn lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Here are 5 tips to help you “de-stress”:

1.  Remember: This Too Shall Pass! Stress can lead to excessive worry, nervousness, dread, upset stomach, or difficulty breathing. The first step to overcoming negative feelings and stressful situations is recognizing that you are experiencing a very common emotional state most commonly identified as anxiety and that in fact it WILL PASS! Fighting the anxiety can make it stronger. Paradoxically, accepting that you are feeling anxious helps activate the body’s natural relaxation response.

2.  Diaphragmatic Breathing: This is an effective way to activate relaxation response as its goal is to decrease the heart rate. It’s been observed that a rapid heart rate can be lowered with deep breathing techniques. The most commonly utilized strategy is breathing by contracting the diaphragm, a horizontal muscle in the chest located just above the stomach cavity.For more information, visit

3. Check Your Diet: Little do we know that what we drink and eat impacts greatly on our emotional state and food containing caffeine and alcohol have been found to be highly associated with stress/anxiety triggered state. When any of these is consumed on a regular basis, it can cause anxiety, trigger panic attacks, and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability. In light of this knowledge, it is important to decrease consumption of these stressor ingredients and also create a log for our daily meals which we would decide to carefully observe so as to take note of those causing more harm than good whenever they are consumed.

relaxed-woman4. Get Moving: Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine. Being on  the move daily and getting more involved in sporting activities has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. You can choose any of the various sporting exercise that best suits you and make a decision to commit yourself to it dedicatedly.

 5. Get More Sleep: You will be surprised at how losing just a few hours of sleep can increase the feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion and so getting the right amount of sleep on a daily basis is absolutely important if we desire to be rid of stressful and anxiety prone situations.

Now that you have the tips to keeping stress at bay at your disposal, be sure to make them a part of your lifestyle

Have a stress- free day!

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Mindfulness Meditation: Your Passport to Optimal Health

Our last post highlighted how  mental capabilities can be improved with Mindfulness Meditation. Mindfulness meditation has tremendous benefits and it is  becoming widespread in schools and hospitals. According to US Today, many hospitals  are now teaching mindfulness meditation to patients to relieve stress and pain. Research also suggests that  the practice can alleviate  pain, improve concentration, boost  immune function, lower blood pressure,reduce anxiety and insomnia, and even help prevent depression.


With all these benefits, you may be wondering how Mindfulness meditation can boost your health. Mindfulness meditation among all the numerous benefits serves to reduce stress and there lies an unbroken link between Stress and Illness.  Many people complain of  body aches, pain, head aches, high blood pressure and its presenting symptoms and are quick to take self medications or visit the doctor without knowing that the symptoms they feel  are stress induced. With a whooping 75 % of doctor visits considered as being stress related, let us examine the relation between stress and illness.

Stress and Illness

Stress occurs when one is faced with a situation that proves difficult to manage.  When  you can’t manage the stressful situation or feel that you can’t meet the demands of that situation, your body goes into a  fight or flight response which triggers muscle tension,  increase in blood pressure, and heart rate and release of stress hormones. These responses increase the demands placed on the organs of the body and reduces the efficiency of  the immune system while giving room for infections and diseases especially when the body is continuously presented with stressful situations.

How stress leads to illness

Thus, stress can not only your  affect your emotional health leading to anxiety disorders and depression but it can also be injurious to your physical well being.Research has revealed that several  health problems are associated with stress as  stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of health conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems (ulcer), and asthma. Stress also fast tracks the aging process by 7 to 19 years .

So STRESS LESS today and enjoy the many benefits of Mindfulness Meditation which include:

  • ¨ Reduced stress levelsrelaxing-nature-scenes
  • ¨ Boosted Immunity
  • ¨ Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • ¨ Reduced depression and anxiety
  • ¨ Improved sleep and digestion
  • ¨ Increase in energy levels
  • ¨ Pain reduction
  • ¨ Decreased inflammation

Click on the image to the right to sign up for a FREE Mindfulness Meditation Training.