Hello and welcome. In this blog I will talk about stress and related issues which is very much in the news at the moment. I hope you find it interesting and please feel free to leave a comment.
The Truth About Living With Stress and Anxiety
A study* of 40,000 people by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) has demonstrated that around a fifth of UK adults have experienced anxiety and/or depression in their lives, with the highest results coming from the 50 to 54 year olds. mentalhealth.org** have reported that around 12 millions UK adults visit their GP to discuss mental health issues such as stress and anxiety each year, which is a huge leap from 2000 when government statistics*** showed that around 9.2 millions UK adults were reported to be dealing with mental health concerns.Whilst stress in itself is not a medical diagnosis, if left unchecked and allowed to develop it can lead to depression, extreme anxiety, a number of other severe mental health issues and even physical illnesses.
Stress in the short term can sometimes be considered to have a positive effect, for example, a surge of stress hormones can give you extra energy to get your through a physical sport or performance; a decreased pain sensitivity which is useful in the case of breaking a bone and a sharpened memory which can have a beneficial effect during an exam.
The issues come when the effects go on for too long and your body does not stop reproducing those stress hormones, even once the ‘danger’ has passed. This can lead to damaging physical and mental ailments such as:
• Blood sugar imbalance
•Extra abdominal fat stores
• Suppressed thyroid activity
• Insomnia or the need to oversleep •
A loss of confidence in yourself and your abilities
• Lower bone density and muscle mass
• Raised blood pressure
• Decreased immunity
• A ‘foggy’ mind
• Loose stools and a frequent need to urinate
• Trembling and sweating Raised heart rate and irregular heart beat.
Being under pressure, or feeling as though you are causes the stress hormone cortisone to release which would have assisted with the regular need to be in fight or flight mode far back in our evolutionary process – for example if we were under attack from a wild beast.
Though this is still required today on occasion, for example if you were to be attacked by a mugger, this response is generally not as necessary as it once was. This means that many of us still find ourselves dealing with the effects of this adrenaline rush during a simple argument, a time of upset or a difficult conversation with our boss. On one level we know there is no physical danger, yet our mind and body find themselves preparing for attack.
If the causes of your stress and anxiety are longterm, such as a difficult family situation or an unsatisfactory working environment, then you will find that you are in that fight or flight mind set more often than not due to the amount of stress hormone constantly releasing into your brain.
what can be done about it?
It seems that, until we have evolved to no longer require our biological stress fight or flight response, we are stuck with it; but until then you can learn to control your stress and anxiety so that you may benefit from the adrenalin as and when you require it, but can then release it and go on with your day once the ‘danger’ has passed. The best way to deal with the stress and anxiety, whether you are currently affected by it, worry that you may be vulnerable to it due to a recent and difficult life change or have regular ups and downs, is to start to find ways to manage it.
Learning coping strategies can help you grow in confidence and start to feel free from your current high levels of stress and anxiety, ultimately allowing you to be able to move on with your life without fear.
To make an appointment in the comforting and secure surrounding of the TBC Private Practice please contact Teresa Bulford-Cooper on +44 (0) 1363 775935 or go to tbcprivatepractice.co.uk
* http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/anxiety-depression-office-national-statistics **http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/S/stress/) *** http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=9324&Pos=3&ColRank=1&Rank=272)