Researchers have found evidence that the expression of physical symptoms can be connected to chronic workplace stress.
Do you experience any of the following on a regular basis?
1. Tension headaches or migraines.
2. Digestive problems like heartburn, gastric reflux, constipation, IBS.
3. Back, neck or shoulder problems.
4. Immune related issues such as being susceptible to viruses regularly.
6. Do these symptoms get worse on Sunday night?
7. When you have extended time away from work do your symptoms improve or clear up?
If you answer yes to any questions number 1-5 and yes to 6 or 7 you might be experiencing physical symptoms related to chronic work stress.
Workplace stress is often connected to emotional and physical symptoms. Could your symptoms be related to a workplace where you feel under appreciated, overworked or without any control to improve or change things?
Do you experience any of these emotional symptoms on a regular basis?
1. Depression-lack of energy, feeling of hopelessness, overall sadness.
2. Anxiety or Panic-feeling like you need to flee a situation, feeling uncomfortable in your stomach or chest, or a feeling like you are floating outside of your body.
3. Engaging in unhealthy behaviours on a regular basis or binge basis like overeating, drinking too much, gambling, shopping, exercising too much or using drugs.
4. Do these symptoms seem to get worse on a Sunday night?
5. When you have extended breaks from work do these symptoms diminish or disappear?
If you answer yes to either 1-3 and then 4 or 5, you might be experiencing work stress related symptoms.
Chronic stress has been identified as the underlying contributor to many disease processes. Below are the top 5 symptoms of chronic stress. Can you identify any that have “been hanging on” for more than a few weeks?
1. Lack of energy or motivation to do more than get through your day.
2. Rage or anger that erupts out of context with the situation.
3. Physical symptoms like body tightness, headaches, digestive or back problems.
4. Patterns of eating too much, drinking too much, shopping too much,gambling or doing drugs.
5. Breakdowns in relationships that used to be enjoyable.
If you can say yes to two or more of these symptoms stay tuned for my stress identification exercise and begin to manage the chronic stress in your life.
Passion is that internal flame that inspires us to move forward in life with positive energy. The positive thoughts and feelings generated by experiencing what we are passionate about helps us temper whatever life throws at us. It is the energy that we use to dream, plan and experience our life and it makes us who we are.
I often have clients who come to see me because they are not happy in their life. When we talk about what they love to do very often it is passion that is missing. Lack of passion may have it’s roots in early childhood in a family that did not encourage, support or provide opportunities for individual experiences or expression. This pattern later continues in adulthood as focussing on the needs of others at the expense of providing emotional opportunities for yourself. Does this sound familiar?
If you have not yet identified your passion give yourself opportunities to “try out” experiences and see if anything excites you.
My own personal passion is riding horses and I was fortunate that my family gave me plenty of opportunities and support to experience this regularly.
I have been working for the last 3.5 years with a quirky, spooky horse. I recently was able to take him to a jump schooling day and it was such an amazing experience that all I can think about is doing it again! That kind of enthusiasm and satisfaction evens out negative experiences or pressures in life.
Give yourself an opportunity to say say to exploring something you are passionate about and your mind and body will thank you.
Since our mind and body are connected, what we think and feel emotionally has a direct line to our physical health.
The top 6 physical diseases with a link to chronic stress are:
1. Heart Disease
2. High Blood Pressure
4. IBS, Colitis, Crohns
In coming articles I will help you understand the connection and how to start managing your life differently to give your body every opportunity to stay healthy.
Our community can be a source of strength, encouragement and promote healthy behaviours or it can contribute to the chronic stress in our lives.
When we look at statistics for healthy aging around the world, which we can use as a marker for physical health, interesting connections are highlighted.
1. Having a sense of community either religious, spiritual or family oriented.
2. A healthy diet that follows either a vegetarian or more Mediterranean flare with limited animal protein.
3. An emphasis on healthy lifestyle including daily exercise.
In communities where people are routinely living into their nineties the above are common factors. Some communities are in Japan, some in Italy, Greece, the United States and Canada. It is less “where it is” and more of the community mindset.
Take a moment and reflect on your community. What can you do to enhance the health behaviours of your community?