Stress and loneliness have made headlines again in the news recently. Figures have shown over 1 million of us in England are lonely and well over half of the rest of us are chronically stressed. If you fall into these categories (and most of us do), it’s worth remembering that our mental health has a very direct impact on our physical health.
Put simply, muscular aches and pains are highly linked to time of stress, anxiety & unhappiness. But did you know that this pattern can create more permanent physical pain?
What actually happens…
When you are stressed, anxious, unhappy or body feels it is in danger, it produces stress hormones. This is perfectly natural (it’s our fight/flight mechanism to protect us). The problem is that if we carry on being stressed/anxious etc. this mechanism doesn’t switch off.
Over long periods of time, this can be dangerous to our health as it changes our very physiology. The study of epigentics has shown how the expression of our DNA is altered by nutrition, environment and thoughts. So when the fight/flight mechanism (sympathetic nervous system) is switched on, our relaxation mode (parasympathetic nervous system) does not function well.
Our relaxation mode sends the “happy” hormones (dopamines, endorphins, oxytocins) around our body, assisting the immune system and the repair process. When this isn’t working well, our healing capacity is significantly reduced.
What can I do?
1.) Understand that your mental health and physical health are one and the same thing. The Japanese have a word “Karoshi” meaning death by overwork !
2.) Help get those “happy” hormones switched on. Do something to make you happy! What have you stopped doing that used to make you happy?
3.) Studies show that good relationships are often the most important factor in mental wellbeing. Is a relationship or lack of relationships causing an underlying problem?
4.) Take charge of your health. Osteopaths, Physios and Sports Injury Therapists can help release the tension from your body, but we are not with you 24 hours a day. Work out what is adding to your tension and address it.
If you need help with any mental or physical health issue there are lots of people that can help. You are not on your own. The therapists at The Harrison Clinic would be happy to advise you in the strictest confidence.