• Stress and the health benefits of relaxation.

    Stress and the health benefits of relaxation.

    Stress is a stimulating response to external challenges. The kind of stress that enlivens you and helps you meet the demands of daily life, is good stress. When there is too much external stimulation however, the brain activates the fight or flight response. Commonly this response is triggered in non life threatening situations and this is when good stress turns into bad stress.

    If you continue to experience high levels of stress and fatigue without resting and recovering, it quickly begins to have a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing.

    Some obvious signs that good stress is turning bad are:
    Anxiousness or worry about the past or future
    Emotionally reactive, argumentative, or defensive
    Feelings of heaviness and lack of motivation
    Negative, pessimistic or overly judgemental
    A constanty racing and darting mind, difficult to stay focused
    Struggling to perform tasks because you are too tired
    Always in a rush, not fully completing tasks
    Unable to listen to others perspectives
    Poor sleep.


    Rest is the best anecdote to stress, and massage is a great way to get it. Massage triggers a relaxation response. When this is triggered it allows you to rapidly recover from stress and fatigue and increases your resilience, vitality and overall wellbeing.

    Making massage a regular habit is a really effective way to stay on top of stress levels.

    Relaxing protects your heart


    While researchers aren’t sure exactly why, the research is unanimously in favor of relaxation for your hearts sake. There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet and lack of exercise

    Relaxing boosts your memory


    Research showed that short bursts of stress impaired the centres of the brain involved in memory and learning.

    A number of studies have also found that stress increases the amount of certain proteins in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s, possibly accelerating development of the disease.

    Relaxing keeps you slim


    Cortisol increases appetite, and may even specifically encourage junk food cravings.

    Relaxing lowers your risk of a cold


    Study’s show that chronic stress lasting more than a month but less than six months doubled a persons risk of catching a cold.

    More recent research has tried to figure out why, and results point to inflammation. It appears that stress hampers the body’s ability to fight inflammation, by making immune cells less sensitive to the hormone that ‘turns off’ inflammation.

    Relaxing lowers your stroke risk


    A 2007 University of Cambridge study found that people who coped the best with stressful life events had a 24 percent lower risk of stroke. It may be partly due to the fact that people who handle stress well often are healthy in other ways, like exercising regularly and not smoking.

    A 2011 study examined the specific effects of work-related stress, and found that among middle- and upper-class men, psychological stress caused about 10 percent of strokes.

    Relaxing keeps you safe from depression


    In humans, the prolonged presence of stress hormone cortisol can reduce levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to depression.

    Relaxing helps you make better decisions


    It’s no surprise that when you’re under stress, you might not always be thinking so clearly. But a 2012 study found that stress seems to actually change how we weigh risks and rewards, and can cloud our judgment when we are faced with important decisions.

    Counterintuitively, stressed out people actually tend to focus on the positive and may ignore the cons of the decision they’re about to make

    The compulsion to get that reward comes stronger and they’re less able to resist it

    Relaxing eases acne


    It’s a vicious cycle: You’re stressed about that presentation at work, so you break out, and then you’re stressed about the breakout! Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but stress seems to up the amount of oil in the skin, clogging pores and causing acne, according to WebMD.

    Flare-ups of other skin problems, like psoriasis, have also been linked to stress, and can be equally stressful themselves. But relaxing really helps: A 1998 study found that psoriasis plaques cleared up more quickly in people who regularly meditated.

    Relaxing will keep you in the mood


    One of the big reasons that women lose that lovin’ feeling is stress, but men aren’t immune either. In fact, Kinsey Institute researchers found that stress zaps the libido in around 30% of men (although another 21 percent said it actually increased their sex drive.). “Men are more likely to see sex as a stress reliever, whereas for many busy women, their husband’s desire is just another demand on their time and energy,” Alice Domar, Ph.D., director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Boston IVF told Ladies Home Journal

    Relaxing could slow breast cancer


    While research on the effects of stress on cancer growth are largely inconclusive, there is some evidence pointing toward a link between stress and breast cancer aggressiveness.

    Relaxing not only seems to delay the progression of disease but may also speed recovery.

    And if you’re currently cancer free, relaxing now can keep you healthy later. A 2003 study found that stress may double a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer down the line.

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