Stress and its effect on your body

All or nothing – this is the feeling that if you fail in one way, you see yourself as a total failure. You then over generalize and see the single failure as a proof of your life’s whole failure.

Mental filter – this is when people pick out negative events and dwell on them to the exclusion of everything else. Eventually the positive aspects of life become rejected and ignored.

Areas of the body most vulnerable to stress

When under stress, the entire body becomes tense and posture changes. Being in a permanent state of alert can be uncomfortable and has the ability to throw the body out of balance. Tension uses up energy but the energy is unproductive.

The Shoulders

Most people hold a considerable amount of tension in this area – “carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders” is a familiar expression. The shoulders are lifted towards the ears and often remain this way causing the muscles to go into spasm. This restricts the blood flow to the head, neck and shoulders and therefore the neck and shoulders become stiff and inflexible.

The Neck

When the body is out of balance the head tends to come forward and the chin juts out. This then throws the body out of alignment as the neck muscles tense and carry the weight of the head. The neck muscles are then in a permanent state of contraction and the neck then becomes stiff and tight. The mobility of the neck and shoulders is greatly reduced.

The Head

The face is an area of the body that cannot help but show tension! The jaw clamps tight, teeth grind together and the lips tighten. The scalp muscles and the temporal muscles tighten restricting blood flow, leading to headaches, eyestrain and tension in the upper body.

Factors affecting a person’s ability to deal with stress

There are several factors that may affect the body’s ability to deal with stress which include:

Age - with age the ability to adapt is diminished and whilst a young, healthy person may respond to stress easily, an elderly client may find the same situation much more stressful.

Sleep - sleep is important for restoring energy and if sleep is inadequate, it can impair the body’s ability to deal with stress. Irregular sleep patterns and wakefulness can reduce immunity as well.

Health status - people who are mentally and physically fit are able to adapt to stress placed on them more easily than others who are not.

Nutrition – a bad diet can affect the body’s ability to deal with stress.

Psychological factors – anxiety and depression can make a person more susceptible to stress.

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