Stress is on the increase, both at work and in our personal lives, in fact between 2015 and 2016, 11.7 million days were lost to the UK economy due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety, accounting for over a third of all work-related health cases.
But not all stress is bad, linked to our natural fight or flight reaction some stress can help us to react to certain things more effectively and avoid danger but too much can have some very wide reaching negative and detrimental affects on your health.
How can stress affect your health
It all becomes an issue when the pressure is continuous with no periods of relief and this can lead to typical anxiety related problems such as stomach aches, headaches, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath and chest pains.
Stress has been linked to many long-term illnesses and in fact through increased neuroscience research new links are being discovered regularly such as that stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. And whilst it is an increasing problem for many of us, surveys have discovered that 83% of us are doing nothing about it.
Stress and anxiety affects the whole body, in particular:
The cardiovascular system: A spike in your anxiety levels causes an increase in your heart rate making your heart work harder. This can cause inflammation to the coronary arteries, which can lead to a heart attack.
Gastrointestinal system: Stress can result in an increase, or decrease in food intake leading to the additional health problems associated with obesity or malnutrition, you may even find yourself eating food on autopilot. The bowels, stomach and oesophagus all suffer which can lead to ulcers, diarrhoea or constipation.
Nervous system: Adrenaline and cortisol hormone levels increase when stress and anxiety take over, making the heart beat faster, blood pressure increase and sugar levels in the blood rise.
Reproductive system: For women, stress can cause the menstrual cycle to become irregular or even stop all together. Cortisol is produced under stressful conditions and high levels of this hormone, along with fluctuations in testosterone and sperm production can cause impotence in men. For both males and females stress can cause a lack of sexual desire.
Respiratory system: There is an increased risk of hyperventilation when high levels of stress are encountered; hyperventilation is associated with panic attacks.
Endocrine system: When your liver encounters higher levels of cortisol and epinephrine, which are associated with increased stress, it produces glucose and this in turn affects the level of insulin produced which can cause diabetes.
There are various interventions that can manage anxiety effectively, such as CBT, mindfulness, meditation, hypnotherapy, self-compassion and other exercises that are all included in Calmer Sea app’s 30-step plan.
How do you know when stress is taking hold of you?
Your brain gets use to anxiety so you may overlook the vital indicators associated with it but if you persistently suffer from some of the following signs, it’s time to take action:
Hot flushes or sweating
Cold or sweaty hands or feet
Constipation or diarrhoea
Heartburn or stomach discomfort
Diminished sexual desire of performance
Lack of energy
Tense muscles in the neck and back
Weight gain or loss
Increased or decrease of appetite
Inability to relax
Disinterested in activities that would usually cause interest
Increased use of stimulus such as alcohol or cigarettes
Lack of confidence
Lack of concentration
Suspicion in others
At Calmer Sea we want to create a better life experience for as many people as possible by helping them to break down any barriers that they face and unlocking their true potential. By taking notice of your anxiety levels and following the Calmer Sea process, together, we can help you to relax and find inner peace.