Stress is the way that you feel when pressure is placed on you from physical, psychological or chemical factors. Each of us has a different threshold and varying reactions to stress and therefore the causes are numerous and highly individual.

In general, some pressure can be good to motivate and help you perform better whether that's during a sporting activity, at work, or with your daily activities. Too much for too long, however, can often lead to an unhealthy state of mind, body or behaviour. Excessive stress undermines performance, can make people ill and is costly to employers.

Stress Hormones

The body's natural reaction to stress is for the nervous system to respond by releasing a flood of hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, which help us fight or flee the situation. It is a normal, unconscious response to the sense of danger, emergency or challenging situation in which we find ourselves, and it is our body's way of coping and protecting us. By virtue of what they do, some of these hormones put us into a state of alert by increasing blood pressure and the heart rate as well as the amount of sweat that we produce. Others shut down emotions not necessary in emergencies and the result is that growth, reproduction, digestion and the immune systems all go on hold and blood flow to the skin is reduced.
Once the stress response has been activated, it stays in a state of readiness. In many cases during daily life however, we are not in a position to either defend ourselves or escape the problem and so these excess hormones build up over time.

Physical Reactions to Stress
An excess build up of these hormones and chronic exposure to stress can lead to health problems such as:
Heart disease
Pain and tightened muscles
Digestive disorders
Sleeping problems
Respiratory disorders
Autoimmune diseases
Skin conditions such as Psoriasis and Eczema

Psychological Reactions to Stress
In the UK, anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems, and the majority of cases are caused by stress.

Often these psychological pressures can cause us to exacerbate the problem in a number of ways, for example:
- over eating for comfort
- taking stimulants or drugs to lift the mood, which inevitably have after effects including disturbing sleep patterns
- excessive physical activity which can lead to burn out

In 2007/08 an estimated 442 000 individuals in Britain, who worked in the last year, believed that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill.

In 2007/8, there were an estimated 13.5 million lost working days due to work-related stress conditions

Labour Force Survey (LFS); Health & Safety Executive 2008

Any of the treatments offered by In Touch can help reduce the effects that stress and stress related conditions have on your body.
Although these will vary from person to person, some common causes include:

• Major life changes
• Work
• Relationships
• Financial problems
• Family & Children
• Lack of Time
• Competitiveness
• Physical or Emotional Overload
March, 2015
Marathon and half marathon training schedules are well under way now - Roxanne is going to be running (or some may say 'shuffling') around Silverstone Half Marathon later this month. Remember if you've upped your training recently it'll serve you well to plan in an occasional Sports Massage to your routine to avoid injuries.

  Coming soon.
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