The biggest mental health threat facing the world today is stress. In the face of growing economic uncertainty, stress is rearing its ugly head in the form of anxiety.
The private and public sector are both aware of the tremendous impact that stress related illnesses have on their work forces; with billions of pounds being lost because of them every year.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and a situation that one person finds stressful may not be stressful to someone else. Therefore, almost anything can cause stress and it has different triggers.
Sometimes, just the thought of something, or several small things that build up, can trigger stress. Some of the most common causes of stress include things such as moving house, bereavement, financial trouble, relationships, and problems in the work place.
However, sometimes there are no clear causes of stress. Some people naturally feel more frustrated, anxious or depressed than others, which can lead to them feeling stressed more often. We should remember that although stress is in the mind it manifests itself in physical symptoms. When we are stressed our body reacts to it. For this reason, an understanding of holism can help you fend off the effects of stress.
Holistic teaching describes the interaction between the mind and body and has been developed over a number of years. Many researchers into holistic therapy have been slow to cotton on to its benefits, but recent studies have demonstrated its effectiveness.
Holistic therapy involved treating the mind and body as a single organism because of the connection between what we feel and how we think. Negative thoughts manifest into negative behaviours and vice versa.
Some treatments focus on group therapy and meditation, while others focus on a combination of techniques, such as relaxation training, meditation, hypnosis and cognitive behavioural therapy. Holistic therapy used to be seen as a ‘quack’ science by the medical community but is now used in many of the world’s top medical institutions.
If you are looking for proof of the mind body connection, try the following exercise.
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a shiny, ripe, yellow lemon. Now, picture taking a knife and cutting a slice of that lemon, smelling its aroma as you do. Next imagine taking that slice of lemon, bringing it to your lips and sucking the juice from it.
Most people will react to this mind/ body connection ‘test’ by experiencing a sour sensation, grimacing and perhaps even salivating more. Since the mind and body are intimately connected, the body responds to the imagery of the lemon as if it were a real experience.
The body responds to the mind’s messages, both in thought and image form, based on its prior experience and knowledge of lemons.
To manage your stress, improve your health, and ultimately gain a sense of inner peace, you must be willing to make a commitment to yourself to make a difference to yourself. You must also be willing to risk thinking and behaving in a healthier, more effective ways.
We need stress management techniques the most, when we are least able to use them. The time to learn to manage stress is when you are at your most relaxed. Learning holistic interventions and incorporating them into your lifestyle before stress becomes a problem will ensure that when stress does arise, we will have a healthy coping strategy to deal with them.
If you get angry, start shouting and swearing as a reaction to stress, then the body will react in a negative way. You need to become open to the idea that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to respond to a situation.
Relaxation is one of the best ways to sooth both body and soul. When you are stressed, your muscles often tense, which can cause muscular aches to develop later on. When you feel yourself getting stressed, shrug your shoulders a few times and shake out your arms and legs.
This will help to loosen your muscles.
Some people find that it helps them to relax if they imagine a peaceful place, such as a desert island or a tranquil lake. Imagine yourself being there and the scenery around you. Diverting your mind to a calming environment will help to distract you from the stress and relax your body.