My Dear Parishioners,
We have become so health conscious these days that almost everyone is either going on walks in the morning or evening, or drinking several glasses of water each day, or avoiding fats and red meat in the diet. These measures calculated to ensure better health are all commendable. This week however, we wish to focus on another aspect of health which can be a little tricky and insidious, but requires practical application all the same.
Our subject this week is: How Your Body Reacts to Stress and Anxiety. Stress is part of everyday life. Even ‘good’ stress can affect you by leaving negative consequences such as fatigue and body tension. The body’s response to stress is its conditioned habit of coping with difficult situations.
The physiological changes associated with stress and anxiety are initiated with the brain’s interpretation of the experience. The brain then sends a message to a gland in the brain, which then sends a message to another gland in the brain, known as the master gland. From there, hormones are released that relay messages to other glands in the body, which also release hormones like adrenalin. If the stress reaction is brief no significant damage is done. However, if the stress reaction lasts a long time, other stress hormones are released, which begin to affect negatively the immune system and the body becomes more susceptible to infection and disease. The weakest part of the body will be the first to show signs of dysfunction as the ravages of chronic stress take their toll.
We must remember however that the body’s initial response to stress is the same whether the stress is positive or negative. It is the experience of prolonged stress that is damaging.
It is physically and psychologically impossible to be stressed and relaxed at the same time. Therefore, the goal is to create a state of relaxation. When the body has been exposed to acute stress for too long or stress has been chronic (one difficult situation after the other), the body forgets what it feels like to be relaxed. To restrain or to recondition your body, undertake the following: 1.Adequate sleep 2. Good nutrition 3. Laughter and recreation 4. Aerobic physical activity (walking or swimming is great). 5. Deep breathing techniques. 6. Relaxation techniques. Further, the mind needs to rest and to be distracted so that there can be relief from body tension. Meditation, deep relaxation, and the other reconditioning factors listed earlier help to alleviate tension in the muscles/body and the mind. The result is as follows: 1. An increase in energy 2. A sense of well being. 3. Balance in lifestyle.
For emotional, psychological, and physical health, learn to relax physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Do not worry about things you cannot control, let go of issues that belong to someone else, be effective in your life by accomplishing tasks and then moving
on, and practise good self-care behavior.
If you have developed a programme for managing anxiety and are consistently practising it you are probably feeling much better. Because change is difficult, people need to feel motivated to do things differently. Sometimes when people start feeling better, they quit following through on the changes in their behavior. This often leads to a relapse in symptoms.
With all good wishes and prayers