The Impact Of Stress On Our Moods and Ways You Can Be Happier and Live A Happier Life More Than Ever
Chronic stress is a fact of modern life. Pressures from work, Finances, parenthood and relationship conflicts, often combined with inadequate sleep, are among our most common stresses.
Stress has been linked as a major causative factor in such serious conditions as coronary heart disease, cancer, chronic digestive disorders and late onset diabetes.
Unresolved stressful situations built up over time, can cause us problems in later life.
It's the way we react to the stressful or fearful situation/s that we see ourselves in experiencing in reality or in our mind that can effect how we manage stress effectively.
For me stress and anxiety have had a big impact on me throughout my life, and still does to this day. It's something that will never go away, but it is something that we can manage and have ways to deal with stress and anxiety when it comes up in our day to day lives.
Stress has effected my health, mental, emotional and physical health in so many ways, it's caused me to have adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, heavy painful periods and menopausal symptoms in my 30's and depression and suicidal tendencies throughout my teens and later years. I pretty much have had all of this signs of stress throughout the majority of my life.
Signs of Stress are:
Headaches and pain in the head and neck region
Chronic Pain - Aches and pains, such as chronic back pain, shoulder pain and body aches
Frequent Sickness - constantly having a cough or cold, weakened Immune System. Stress can increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury
Decreased Energy and Insomnia, disturbed sleep, increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime
Changes in Libido - low sex drive and lower levels of sexual activity and satisfaction
Erectile dysfunction and risk of infection for male reproductive organs like prostate and testes
For women, effects menstrual cycle, irregular periods, heavier, painful periods and magnifies the physical symptoms of menopause
Digestive Issues - Diarrhea and constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Nausea, vomiting or stomach ache
Appetite Changes - no appetite or a ravenously hungry or eating without being hungry, weight gain or weight loss
Depression or depressive episodes
Rapid Heartbeat - Increased heart rate and blood pressure
Acid Reflux - Increased Stomach acid
Rapid breathing and shallow breathing - breathing from the chest rapidly, instead of slowly from the stomach and hip region
Pounding heart - makes your heart pump faster and makes it work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so does your risks of stroke or heart attacks.
Sweating - Excessive Sweating
Breathing Problems - makes it harder to breathe
Stress is apart of life and we will experience different life situations at different stages
in our life, good and bad. We just need a healthy way of processing what we experience and work through it in a healthy way. Stress is overwhelm, it's a feeling that we can't cope, can't achieve it, can't make it, that it's all bad! But it's not, stress can be a great way to teach us that we can do the things we can't, that all will be okay, that we need to let go of some things that are causing us stress or overwhelm, to take a holiday, to take a break and to reassess our life and our choices that we have in our life and what we can change and adapt if need be.
When we feel stressed, we secrete higher levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol (our primary stress hormone). These hormones do double duty as stimulating nerotransmitters, which can make you more reactive to situations and other people. Over the longterm, elevated cortisol wears down the body, destroying brain cells, and can lead to adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, a condition characterised by dizziness and fatigue.
If this continues, Exhaustion, because our body doesn't have a chance to regain equilibrium and settle down to normal functioning.
Our calming neurotransmitters, which allows us to feel calm and relaxed, get suppressed, making it harder for us to feel relaxed and calm about what is happening feels out of our control, making us more anxious and stressed.
Most of us have experienced one thing after another going wrong, stressing us out to the point where even the slightest negative thing makes us want to weep or scream. This is an example of the body going through new stressors repeatedly occurring before priovious ones are resolved. The result of this physiological and emotional roller coaster is what is commonly called a "high stress level"
If you are consuming large amounts of coffee, tea, energy drinks, soft drinks all can amplify feelings of anxiety. Caffeine alone increases the bodies production of adrenaline and other stimulating neurotransmitters, and especially large amounts can mimic anxiety attacks and other serious anxiety disorders such as:
Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Is unnecessary receptive behaviour are all attempts to reduce anxiety. But it has the opposite and can increase anxiety levels in some people.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Typically involves feelings of both anxiety and depression. People can be hyper vigilant, particularly sensitive to noise, or feel emotionally numbed by intense life experiences. These events can also come from our childhood and early years of life that we have experiences that caused us fear, trauma or worry, that we haven't mentally and emotionally dealt with.
Signs of Anxiety are:
Feeling Agitated, anxious
High and raised Blood Pressure
Stomach ulcers - lesions caused when the bodies protective secretions, that normally neutralise stomach acid, are inhabited by stress
Insomnia, sleep problems, trouble falling or staying asleep
Tense Muscles, increased muscle tension
Panic Attacks - overwhelming sensation of fear, typically accompanied by rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea and fear of dying or losing control.
Avoiding Social Situations
Irrational Fears - such as enclosed spaces or heights can be a sign of a phobia
Our eating habits quickly slide and we let good eating habits go when we feel stressed or anxious or fearful, and we often delay or skip meals, leading to blood sugar level crashes. Many people succumb to a fast food meal or something sweet like cakes, biscuits or chocolate, which effects your blood sugar levels even more.
At the same time stress interfere with our absorption of nutrients and how the body processes food. Stress inhabits the release of stomach acid, which reduces nutrient absorption, while simultaneously promoting the storage of fat around the belly.
Stress effects our digestive system and creates symptoms such as cramps, diarrhoea, or constipation and IBS Issues. It alters the composition of intestinal bacteria influencing the risk of depression and anxiety and causing problems in our nervous system.
Stress generates anxiety, tension and worries disrupt sleep.
When sleep is disrupted and causes sleep deprivation it can really effect your mood and create mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders. Sometimes it has an obvious cause, such as after losing a job or after the death of a loved one.
Feelings of grief can significantly alter brain chemistry and neurotransmitter levels.
It can feel like a dark cloud enveloping the person, robbing them of their motivation or desire.
Some Symptoms of Depression can be:
Feeling of sadness combined with a feeling that life will not get better.
Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
Lack of energy
Poor sleep quality
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Many people experience "down days" which are brief periods of sadness, low energy levels, or a lack of motivation. Feeling down for a day or two is not usually a cause for alarm. However feeling down for more than two weeks may be a sign of depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder during late autumn and winter months, due to the lack of daylight hours, which reduces a persons production of Vitamin D.
It is normal to occasionally feel anxious, particularly when you are in a new job, at a party surrounded by people you don't know, or worried about job security and health.
They can leave us feeling nervous, worried, apprehensive, fearful and panicky.
Anxiety affects more than 27 million people worldwide.
Stress and anxiety are usually tightly intertwined, with stress generating feelings of anxiety and fear.
There are a Number of Ways that can Help to Support Good Moods and a happier life such as:
Quality Protein and high fibre foods such as vegetables to help promote stable blood sugar levels. Lots of leafy greens such as kale, broccoli and Swiss chard.
Opt for fresh food ideally organic foods - fresh foods have higher nutrient levels than packaged and processed foods.
Limit your caffeine and Tea intake - one to two cups of caffeine in the morning are safe for most people. However consuming more than 3 cups daily, especially in the afternoon or evening, increases your likelihood of sleep problems, which leave people more tired and sensitive to stress. Common sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, cola and non cola soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate.
Limit your intake of sweets and other sugary foods - these can cause rapid shifts in blood-glucose causing people often to become irritable when their blood glucose levels are low. Eating any sugary sweets or sugary food, even as a snack can quickly raise blood glucose levels in the body and then lead to a sudden drop of blood glucose levels and can cause you an impatient and irritable mood.
Avoid trans fats found in hydrogenated oils - used in processed foods, such as vegetable oils, non - hydrogenated vegetable oils, in baked goods such as muffins, cakes, pastries and doughnuts, margarine, lard, non diary coffee creamers, crackers, pre-made dough, microwave popcorn, crisps, fried fast food such as fried chicken, battered fish, hamburgers, french fries and fried noodles, sausage rolls, pies and pizza's. The trans-fat concentration increases each time the oil is re-used such as with french fries and hamburgers which are often cooked in vegetable oil, which is trans fat.
Berries - such as raspberries, blueberries blackberries and strawberries all are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, which helps your body cope with the impact of stress on your body.
Beans - black beans, all lentils and lima beans are all rich in magnesium, that is a mineral the body needs to provide relaxation and calm to the body.
Fish - Ideally fatty fish such as - Mackeral, salmon, herring,sardines, trout, kippers all have high amounts of omega 3-fatty acids which can help alleviate anxiety.
Nuts - such as Brazil nuts which contain selenium, which could help improve mood, Almonds and walnuts can help lower blood pressure levels. Nuts and seeds are also high in magnesium, that all help as a relaxant and better anxiety management.
Dark Chocolate - which is rich in antioxidants and full of protein and fibre and supports a healthy mood. It could help to lower stress hormones in the body, but only a good high quality dark chocolate ( I recommend eating 85-90%+ dark coco beans only) and to eat it in moderation each day, such as a small piece about 1oz. Make sure it doesn't contain any unnecessary added sugar.
Citrus Fruits - such as oranges, grapefruit and strawberries which contain vitamin c - Vitamin C could help ease stress levels and decrease anxiety levels.
Lots of Leafy greens - such as Kale, Broccoli, Swiss chard all packed with stress fighting nutrients and magnesium which is a mineral especially important when you are stressed.
Eggs - are referred to as natures multivitamin as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants needed for healthy stress response.
Try incorporating some of these foods into your life and meals to naturally promote stress relief.
If you struggle to eat healthy and well or with any of the above, please contact Ravi, my husband who is a fully qualified Nutritionist and Full trained International Chef for the past 20 years. He could help advise and guide you on the foods that can help you to maintain a healthy body and mind, during periods of stress or a busy schedule. You can contact Ravi here and schedule in a free 15 minute call to discuss your health and wellbeing concerns with him. He would be happy to help.
Exercise - Be Active and Move Your Body as Much as You Can:
Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress, especially if you exercise regularly and that you enjoy what you are doing. It's really important to enjoy whatever activity that you are doing such as dancing, skipping, running, walking, cycling, swimming, playing a sport etc...
Exercise lowers your body's stress hormones and helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that make you feel good and improves your mood.
It can also improve your sleep quality, confidence in yourself and your body, which also helps you to feel good.
It's never too late to start exercising. Even if you have never had a consistent workout routine, it's a good idea to start one. Even if you start off small each day, and then work your way up, will help you to feel good and healthier. Exercising is the best thing you can do to protect your brain health as you age.
Try anything that allows your body to move and to do it as often as you can.
Take Control - Get Help:
Talk to your doctor or a trained health care professional or provider that can help you to learn ways to deal with stress and anxiety more effectively and how to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings.
Talk to a complementary therapist who help clients manage feelings of stress and anxiety, some of the therapies that may help can be: Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Ayurvedic Massage, Acupuncture or Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Massage, talking therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Holistic Counselling, Holistic Coaching, Stress Management Coaching/ counselling and Hypnotherapy.
Talk to a good friend about how you are feeling.
Read books on ways to help with stress and anxiety, watch videos that can help with anxiety and stress. There are many great videos on youtube that can help, like this one:
or this one:
If you would like to talk to someone? I am here to help you. I provide talking therapies such as Holistic Counselling, Holistic Coaching and Holistic Stress Management Coaching, if this us something you would like to try? If so please contact me here and we can set up a free 15 minute call to discuss where you are and what you hope to achieve in your life. I would be happy to help. Or if you would like to try a Holistic Counselling session with me or a Holistic Stress Management Coaching Session please get in contact and we can go from there.
Take Some Time Out For You:
Take some time out for yourself, get outside in nature, go for a walk, have a massage or a facial, go for a run, sit in the park, read a book, listen to some relaxing music while laying down relaxing, have a relaxing bath, enjoy having some time out for yourself to just be. Give yourself permission to be alone and to have some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy, that makes you happy, set some time in your day to be by yourself, journal, sleep, rest, daydream, meditate, do some Yoga, go to a class that allows you to unwind, relax and let go of anything that is keeping you stuck in your life and making you feel bad.
Failing to make time for your hobbies and other things that make you happy can take its toll on your mental health and create anxiety and depression. Self-care is important.
It can make a profound difference to the way you feel by scheduling in some quality time out for you. If you can, do it daily, if not schedule a whole day once a week where you can be alone, doing the things that you enjoy and that make you happy, helping to create a healthier state of mind, body and spirit.
Make it a priority to yourself to make a change and take the steps needed to help you on your path and journey to a happier state of mind.
Try some Mindfulness Meditation sessions to help you to create more peace and harmony in your life. I offer Meditation classes in Henley-on-Thames. Either one-to-one sessions in my therapy room in Henley or online sessions, either by zoom or Skype . I offer many different types of Meditation such as: Mindfulness, Transcendental Meditation, A Quiet Mind Meditation, Self Healing and Empowerment Meditations, Self cleansing of the Chakras Meditations, Meditation for Recovery and Mind Calm Meditations.
To book any of these One-to-One Meditation Sessions please contact me (Kelly) to find out more and to book.
Or if you prefer to have a guided meditation session in your own home, in your own time? I have some super relaxing audio meditations, some are for For Anxiety, Stress, Fear and Worry or for Relaxing Deep and Restful Sleep or Bring Peace and Calmness to all Situations.
Each audio is £3.50 and you can use as often as needed or get all 3 for £10.00. Contact Kelly to get yours here.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits:
We all fall victim to a bad habit here and there. Some can have serious long-term health implications. Such as having too much Caffeine, such as tea and coffee, cola, energy drinks and chocolate. As we know Caffeine triggers the release of cortisol - which is the stress hormone. This can lead you to feeling anxious and depressed and prevent you from getting a good night sleep.
Swap it for caffeine free drinks and other healthy snacks like fruit and nuts.
Smoking - Nicotine can change the brains chemistry, increasing heart rate and blood pressure, which leaves you feeling anxious and irritable. People who quit have lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
Drinking too much alcohol can affect the production of chemicals in your brain that helps you to manage stress effectively and are vital for good mental health. It is known that drinking alcohol regularly can actually make stress worse and harder to cope with. It can also increase feelings of depression and anxiety and make existing mental health problems worse.
Not drinking enough water - Keeping your body hydrated benefits your total body health and wellbeing. Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, mood stable and your mind and body motivated. Water accounts for 60 percent of our body. So keeping your water intake up is important for a healthy mind and body.
Skipping Meals - such as breakfast can have serious consequences for your weight and energy levels and blood sugar. Or eating late at night can cause indigestion and cause interference with sleep.
Spending too much time on the couch watching TV - especially late into the night and early morning. People who spend too much time sitting down — be it during a daily commute, or in front of a computer or TV — may be at increased risk of anxiety. Studies have linked sedentary behaviour with health problems, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. But there is less research looking at how too much sitting might affect mental health. So binge watching your favourite TV shows can be bad for your mental health and can stop you from sleeping. It can affect the time it takes to get to sleep – as the bright light disrupts the body’s natural rhythms.
Plus the content of what you are watching and consuming with your eyes and ears such as violence, gore or suspense may leave you feeling anxious and could contribute to tossing and turning at night.
Using your phone before bed - Using a mobile phone before bed can disrupt your sleep and interrupt the amount of sleep that you get. The bright screens signal to your brain that it's still daylight. While light might be the main issue, often the content may have an impact on sleep too. Lack of sleep, effects how you feel and can also effect your mental health and wellbeing long term. It's important to leave your phone outside of your bedroom and to put it on silent or on airplane mode, so that you don't get disturbed in the night.
Spending too much time on social media - Using too much social media increases FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, and isolation. In turn, these feelings negatively affect your mood and worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. The use of social media is very addictive. Once you sign up, logging out becomes a problem. Many people have been addicted to social media, meaning they are always on their phones and computers liking, commenting and tweeting. It becomes impossible for people to spend more than an hour without their phones. Social media use can also promote loneliness and isolation. Cutting back on your social media usage through your day is important for the health of your mind and your general mood.
Over spending - Money and mental health are connected. Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle. Managing our money correctly takes concentration, will power, forward-planning and control. Ultimately, we need to integrate the conversation of money into our understanding of mental health. Because no matter how big, or how small, a constant worry about money is a mental health issue.
Whether it’s affecting your sleep, your libido, your relationships or your ability to earn, we must take money seriously as a mental health trigger. Take a deep breath, share your worries, and if you’re feeling tight chested, know you’re not alone.
Eating too much fast food and unhealthy food - It's an easy trap to fall into now and then and its important to not get into the habit of eating these foods everyday. They often lack important nutrients and heavy on saturated fats. Most experts agree that these extreme fluctuations in saturated fats, sugar, salt affect your blood sugar levels which only serve to make us feel worse during stressful periods. Giving in to junk food cravings like ice cream would most likely worsen your stress even though we think we believe they help us fight stress and make us feel better after a tough and stressful day. They actually do the opposite and make us feel much worse.
If you feel that you need some professional help to get you cutting back on your unhealthy habits? Me and my husband Ravi could help you. Ravi is a qualified Nutritionist and trained Chef for the past 20 years. He can help you and coach you through any issues you may have on food and unhealthy eating. And I; Kelly am a fully qualified Holistic Life Coach as well as a Personal Self Improvement Coach.
If you would like our help in improving areas of your life, please get in contact with us to find out more here... We look forward to helping you.
Create a Work/Life Balance:
Having a healthy work-life balance is important for protecting your time and energy each day and for a happier and better life. To build a working and home life that works for you.
Turn off technology at the end of the day. Make a rule not to answer any emails in the evening and to be present with family. Take part in a sport or hobby after work to help you to unwind and let go of your day.
Creating boundaries between your work and home life is imperative to a work-life balance to be successful.
Work smarter not harder - to make the most effective use of your time and energy.
Focus on the most important tasks that need doing each day, and devote your entire focus to the task at hand. Multi tasking doesn't work and can actually reduce your productivity by as much as 40%. Put your phone away, close browsers and concentrate on one task at a time, until it is completed. Doing too much can overwhelm you and cause you to become stressed and frustrated and not really accomplishing what you set out to achieve.
Give yourself regular short breaks, like 5 minutes every 1 hour. This will optimise productivity and help you to concentrate on the task at hand.
Make time for exercise - set a time in your day that you can dedicate an hour or more to exercising. For me I do my usually working hours in the morning and before lunch time around 11.30am I will head outside for a 30 minute walk around town and my area and then come back for my lunch. This is great because Im not only getting out the house, getting fresh air, but its allowing me time for myself to move my body, to go for a brisk walk to feel more energised and refreshed. Sometimes I need to do a few jobs in town such as visit the bank or get the weekly shop. This allows me to head out get what I need and walk back home. After lunch and doing some more work like seeing my clients, I will book in some afternoon exercise around 4.30pm or 5pm depending on my day and how busy I am with bookings. I will then do some home workout like some HITT exercises, resistant band training, cardio and skipping and some yoga stretching for an hour. Each day doing something different and I don't often do it everyday. I alternate days, one for exercise and the other for rest. But I will always do my daily 30 minutes or more walks each day. Because exercise really helps my mood and keeps me in a good place where I feel good about myself and life. It's something we all need to be prioritising in our lives.
It is estimated that exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of depression by up to 20%. Try to make your exercise plan flexible and make it fit around your timetable. Try to strike a balance between cardio, weights, resistant bands and relaxing workouts such as stretching or yoga, to best reap the benefits.
And Learn to say no - saying no can have a very positive influence on your life and is essential for work-life balance. Saying no shows that you value your time and your energy. It also shows that you understand what it is that you want, and makes it easier to fill your life with activities and people who bring you true happiness and fulfilment.
Creating a healthy balance between work, rest, play and recharging, is essential to leading a happy, healthy and productive life, both at home and in the workplace where ever that may be. And more important than ever in this day and age.
There are many ways to create a work - life balance, if you find that you often struggle with this, know that you are not alone. If you would like to work on this more then book a free 15min call with me to discuss what your needs are and what you wish to achieve. Sometimes talking to someone can help you to bounce off ideas and give new insights on how to manage life better and easier than you may of been doing before. Contact Kelly here to book a time to chat. I look forward to helping you in any way that I can.
Be Positive and Accept the things you can't change:
There will be people, situations and events we don't like and that we aren't able to change or have any control over. So our best option is to learn how to accept things and to deal with them, whatever they may be.
Accepting things as they are allows us to become more positive, to worry less, embrace change, to let go, to surrender and to give us a greater appreciation and gratitude to what is, a more compassionate perspective on things.
Acceptance isn't resignation or giving up. We can continue to keep moving forward, but accepting things that are beyond our control. Allowing us to feel more peace and joy in our lives.
Such as letting go of the past - we can't change the past, what happened in your past happened, so our only hope is to learn how to accept what is and our past and to move forward. You have to let go at some point to be able to move forward.
To learn new ways to cope - with a difficult issue or a crisis in our life. To make a more conscious decision about how to deal with a difficult situation and how we can manage our emotions more effectively when things go wrong. To learn from the difficulty that is presenting itself and how we learnt to overcome it. This helps us to grow and develop into a healthy human being able to cope in any situation that you could face. Like many of us can at some point in our life. Having ways to cope can be really beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
All that we can control is your effort and your attitude to how you see things. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself. Put your energy into more productive exercises. Eliminate unhealthy coping skills such as complaining to others, drinking too much, eating too much or spending too much.
If you find it hard to accept and let go of situations or things, please contact me (Kelly) to discuss where you are in this situation. Sometimes talking about it to someone who can understand or acknowledge your situation, and help you to find new ways of seeing a situation in a different light, can be all that is needed to help you to move forward with you life, and to achieve a greater sense of peace and calmness. However big or small the stressful or challenging life situations is.
Kelly could help offer the insight and direction that you are looking for.
To book a 15min free call with Kelly please message her to schedule some time. Kelly is a qualified holistic Counsellor and a meditation teacher, she could help to teach you ways to be positive and to accept what is in your life right now. Contact Kelly to find out more
If any of the above interests you and you would like to learn more ways to improve your mood and happiness in your life, please contact Kelly or to book a treatment or service that Kelly provides such as Holistic Coaching, Holistic Stress Management Coaching, Holistic Counselling, Meditation, Nutrition with Ravi Singh, Massages or anything else. Please contact Kelly to discuss your needs.
Looking forward to hearing from you and if this has helped you to improve
Much Love and Light to you!
Pure Bliss Holistic Therapies