Stress and Anxiety- How it affects your health

This is a topic that I am very familiar with. Although I am a yoga instructor and have taught many classes on guided imagery, relaxation and mindful intention, as the old saying goes, “we teach most what we need to learn.” Any good teacher, or writer for that matter, may probably tell you that we are constantly learning, addressing our own hypocrisies, and finding out new things to teach and share through our own experience.

As a kid I remember certain instances of having anxiety, like being on a high board at the pool and suddenly not being able to move forward or go back down the ladder. Or as a teen, dealing with migraines and stomach problems, and working while trying to finish high school and living away from home. Then as a young mother, raising a child on my own while working two jobs and going to college full-time. Some days I felt like I just couldn’t do it all.

Later, when my son was in the hospital in a coma after he was in an accident- the stress was so immense my hair would come out in handfuls when I would take ten minutes out of his ICU room to go take a shower. There are many times in my life that I have had first-hand experience with stress and anxiety. There are many reasons I was drawn to yoga and meditation and often have to revisit all that I know to keep it an active and living part of my world.

Everyone has stress, whether it is from being overworked or in a job that they do not feel fulfilled by, or on the other side of the coin, being unemployed or underemployed. Many people struggle with money-issues throughout their lives. Others may have difficult home lives, or be predisposed to anxiety due to family history and chemical imbalances in their brain. Some people have multiple factors that cause them to feel “stressed out.” Or maybe they just have occasional stress from being stuck in traffic, a messy house that needs to be cleaned, or running kids to soccer practice while trying to figure out what to make for dinner after getting home from work. We are an overworked, under-active, overloaded, sleep deprived society, so the connection to stress related diseases and symptoms is becoming more and more common.

In a recent study by ComPsych, it showed that 33 percent of employees felt tense or anxious most of the time. Anxiety is shown to be the 7th most common health problem in the United States.
“This is significant because anxiety can cause or worsen several of the health problems that rank above it, including high blood pressure (No. 1) and headaches (No. 6). Anxiety and chronic stress also can lead to poor dietary and lifestyle choices, which in turn can cause serious health problems.”

Anxiety can show up as symptoms of other issues such as arm pain or tingling in your limbs, chest pains, heart fluttering and, as noted above, can increase risk of high blood pressure, headaches, and even make someone more prone to sickness and less able to recover from other ailments. Anxiety and related symptoms can have a serious negative impact on individuals and cost employers a great deal of money and productivity due to sick days and presentee-ism. Finding ways to manage stress like massage, yoga, meditation, and taking vacation time is an important part of staying well. Getting enough rest, exercise and eating well are also proven ways to help alleviate stress. If you find that you are having chronic stress symptoms, it’s important to talk to your health care provider and talk about other ways to help you feel better.

Liz Jones is a wellness professional in Rockwall, Mesquite, Wylie and surrounding areas. She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. Liz Jones can be reached at: [email protected]

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