In this months blog, we explore the ways in which stress can affect our bodies as well as our minds.
Stress is something we all experience at some point in our lives. It is our body's way of dealing with anything perceived as threatening or difficult. There are many things we face every day that can contribute to stress. These include financial or work problems, relationship issues, health concerns, and major life changes such as moving house or losing a loved one. Even environmental factors such as noise pollution and overcrowding can have a negative impact. Everyone has different triggers and coping mechanisms for stress, so what may be stressful for one person may not be for another. Our bodies are deeply connected to our minds and when stress becomes chronic, it can negatively impact our physical health.
Stress affects the human body in a variety of different ways. When we experience stress, our body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which trigger the fight or flight response. This can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, sometimes leading to panic attacks. Prolonged stress can lead to chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, digestive issues, and a weakened immune system. Stress can also impact our behaviour and habits, causing us to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or substance abuse. Overall, stress has a significant impact on both our physical and mental well-being.
So how can we combat the physical symptoms of stress? Dealing with physical stress is about being more attuned to your body's signals. A number of sessions we offer at CA explore this and the connection between the mind and the body. For example, we offer Qi Gong classes on a weekly basis. Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese healing practice and focuses on specific movements to cultivate energy (qi) and focus our mind/intention (yi) to move our qi through the meridian pathways to release tension and clear blockages. Qi Gong can be practiced by people of all ages and aims to treat the whole person to establish energy balance and spiritual harmony as a way of self-healing. We also have monthly Sensory Awareness sessions. These are guided sessions with simple everyday movements that help us to be more aware of our experiences and presence. Helping us to become more awake to what is happening in us and around us. Exploring how we respond to sensations we feel, for example, our breathing, balance, and movement can help us to feel more grounded in our life. Our 1:1 Compassionate Companion sessions explore Somatic Movement, which encourages our body-mind to work together through movement awareness and experiential body practices. If you are suffering from physical symptoms of stress and if you would like to give one of our sessions a try, please visit our Sessions web page to find out more.