When we are stressed, our body responds as though we are in danger and releases hormones that speed up our heart and breathing, to give us a burst of energy. This is known as the fight-or-flight stress response. Our bodies recover from normal short-term stress through relaxation, calming touch, emotional release, and social support.
When stressful situations last over a long period of time, without adequate recovery, this chronic stressed state can lead to new or worsened health problems. Kaiser Permanente recommends figuring out what causes stress for you, so you can then take steps to reduce your stress or handle it better. These are common causes of stress that they list on their website:
- Health challenges, especially if you have a chronic illness
- Emotional issues such as anger, depression, grief, guilt, low self-esteem
- Problems in your relationships or feeling a lack of friendships or support in your life
- Major life changes such as the death of a spouse or family member, losing your job, getting married or divorced
- Having a family member who is under stress, or being a caregiver to an elderly or ill family member
- Conflicts with your values, e.g., you value family life but aren’t able to spend much time with your family
Social and Work Issues
- Not having enough money to cover your expenses
- Living in an area where overcrowding, crime, pollution, or noise are problems
- Facing discrimination based on your race, gender, age, or sexual orientation
- Being unhappy with your work or having a job that’s too demanding
- Losing your job or not being able to find work
At Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, we encourage getting regular massage and bodywork because it is especially helpful in relieving the damaging effects of stress and influencing the overall health of the human mind-body in many positive ways.