We hear it all the time - stress is bad for our health. It can increase blood pressure and cause symptoms such as insomnia and weight gain. But the "flight or fight" response we experience when stressed is our body's way of protecting us from danger, so it hasn't evolved to be harmful.
It's only when stress is long-term, and we feel that we can no longer control a situation, that it can harm our mental and physical health. If you constantly feel stressed and worried, Bach Flower Mix 71 can reduce anxiety and help you to feel in control again.
So rather than seeking a stress-free existence, take a glass-half-full approach and make stress work for you! Accept that a bit of stress can actually be good for us, benefitting our minds and bodies. Here are some reasons why short-term anxiety or "good stress" can make you healthier, stronger and more productive!
Short term stress strengthens the neuron connections in the brain by stimulating the production of neurotrophins, chemicals produced by the brain. An excellent example of this is exercise, which can help to boost concentration and increase productivity.
Psychological stresses have a similar motivating effect: many of us find that we can do our best work when a deadline looms. Plus, studies on animals suggest that stress responses can improve learning and memory scores.
A low dose of stress can help you to dodge colds - at least in the short term. As well as protecting you from injury or other external dangers, moderate stress also increases the production of interleukins, chemicals that play a crucial role in the body's immune system.
Your body is preparing to protect itself from injuries or infections, and this response gives a temporary boost to its defences. So next time your stress levels rise, remember that your anxiety could help your body resist any nasty bugs going around your office or school.
While you may hate feeling stressed and anxious, there's no doubt that learning to cope with challenging situations makes you stronger and more resilient. The first time you run up against a problem, you may struggle because you don't know how to deal with it. But the next time you confront a similar challenge, the resilience you gained from your previous experiences helps you feel in control and cope much better.
This is the idea behind some military training, where recruits are repeatedly exposed to shocks and stresses. Because they learn from the experiences and become more resilient, they are less likely to "freeze" when faced with an emergency situation.
The concept that repeated exposure to stress makes us stronger may be valid even at the level of cellular biology. Studies have found that while long term stress can damage the DNA and RNA in our cells, moderate stress seems to have a protective effect and enhances our resilience.
The secret is to see stress as a challenge to overcome rather than allowing it to overwhelm you. Sometimes we need the fight or flight response to kick in to get us started on a project. We've all been there: revising for an exam or preparing a presentation, we procrastinate until we're under time pressure.
Short term stress can also help you concentrate, whether in a creative endeavour, in a sport or at work. When you enter the state of "flow", your awareness is heightened, you're unaware of time passing, and you're entirely focused on the activity. As a result, your productivity and creativity are maximised; some psychologists believe this effect is primarily driven by the stress of wanting to succeed and achieve your full potential.
Mums-to-be sometimes worry that their anxiety will affect their babies if they're stressed, and it's true that unrelenting stress can have a negative effect. But studies have shown that children whose mothers experienced mild, short term stresses during their pregnancy had better developmental and motor skills at the age of two than the children of mothers who had not felt stressed at all.
Stress can help to grow relationships, which are the basis of mental and physical wellbeing. When people feel loved, appreciated and understood by a family member or friend, they feel less isolated.
Talking to family and friends can strengthen relationships. Supporting each other through tough times helps to build bonds that can last a lifetime. Support groups also allow people to talk about their anxieties with others who can relate to their difficulties, transforming a negative experience into positivity.
You might dream of a life that's stress-free, but in reality, a roses-and-sunshine existence might not be better. The things we achieve in life that we're most proud of are the most challenging and stressful, whether that's passing an exam, running a successful business or raising a family. If you take away stress, it's likely that you'll also take away the most meaningful parts of our lives.
It’s such a positive thing to do and hope springs eternal, so why not commit yourself to a change this year? Here’s our tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolutions.
Headaches can be a real nuisance, especially if you get them frequently. Luckily, there are many natural ways to prevent and relieve headaches without needing to reach for over the counter medication.
It's natural to compare our own lives with those of others - weighing up the pros and cons of situations helps us make decisions. But there can be a downside when you find you're constantly comparing yourself with others, envying their seemingly perfect lives and wondering why they are luckier, more prosperous, and better looking than you.
Motivation can be somewhat elusive - some days, you just can't seem to make yourself do the stuff you don't want to. But putting things off just leads to stress, frustration and a sense of guilt.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world have taken unprecedented measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. The rapid changes we've seen have had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives.
Millions of people furloughed for months are now being recalled to work. Others, who have been working from home throughout the lockdown, are returning to the office. And some jobs have simply disappeared: many people are facing redundancy and will soon have to cope with job hunting. Going back to work after an unprecedented length of time at home is quite a challenge.
If you're worried that the world is changing too fast, you're not alone: technology is constantly developing, and it can be challenging to keep up with all the changes. As a result, many people - not just the older generations - feel anxious that they might get left behind.
It's not always easy to tell if someone has depression. While some signs such as sadness, pessimism and withdrawal from social interaction are easy to recognise, other symptoms may be less obvious. And some people are very good at hiding their depression - even from themselves!
Do you feel you’re always criticising and judging everyone, yourself included? Do you feel bad about it afterwards? You’re certainly not alone! Read on to discover how you can judge less and start to accept things the way they are.
Learn how to recognise the signs of stress and avoid slipping into a burnout or a bore-out
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