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Experiencing pandemic fatigue? We need to take proactive steps to protect our psychological well-being. Here are 8 tips based on real situations, to help you maintain good physical and mental health during this difficult time.

Stay Connected

To stay connected to others, regularly speak with work colleagues, your family and friends.

Structure your days

To reduce stress, structure your days. Take regular breaks and adapt your daily life to the current situation.

Retain your autonomy

To prevent a feeling of helplessness, plan your day as much as possible. Take charge of how you will spend your time.

Manage your time

Separate your leisure and work activities to ensure efficiency and maintain a work-li­fe balance.

Physical Activities

Look after your mental and physical health with regular physical and relaxation exercises, to ensure your physical and mental well-being.

Choose your media sources purposefully

Be selective and limit the time you spend watching the news (including deactivating notifications) to maintain your peace of mind.

Stay Energized

To keep your energy levels up and stay positive, spend some time on creative activities, and at the end of the day, review what you have achieved.

Eat a balanced diet

Keep to regular mealtimes, and opt for a light, varied and balanced diet to maintain energy levels and boost your immune system.

STRESS, just the mere mention of the term can cause splitting headaches or a chill up your spine. Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events. However, stress can become a chronic condition if a person does not take steps to manage it.

In today’s world, people in the workforce have been known to be ‘stressed out’ due to looming deadlines or an inability to do their assigned projects. It has also been exaggerated and people may say they are ‘stressed out’ over the slightest things when they are actually fine. Stress could also be a result of external factors outside the workforce such as a person’s domestic life, income issues or the current political climate. 

Stress can be a motivator, and it can even be essential to survival. The body’s fight-or-flight mechanism tells a person when and how to respond to danger. However, when the body becomes triggered too easily, or there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful. Many people often respond to stress in different ways, either mentally, physically or emotionally. The first step to relieving stress is to identify it immediately. 

Defining stress

Stress is a normal biological reaction to a potentially dangerous situation. When you encounter sudden stress, your brain floods your body with chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

That gets your heart beating faster and sends blood to muscles and important organs. You feel energized and have heightened awareness so you can focus on your immediate needs. These are the different stages of stress and how people adapt.

There are several types of stress, including:

Acute stress

Acute stress happens to everyone. It’s the body’s immediate reaction to a new and challenging situation. It’s the kind of stress you might feel when you narrowly escape a car accident. Acute stress can also come out of something that you actually enjoy. It’s the somewhat-frightening yet thrilling feeling you get on a roller coaster or when skiing down a steep mountain slope.

These incidents of acute stress don’t normally do you any harm. They might even be good for you. Stressful situations give your body and brain practice in developing the best response to future stressful situations. Once the danger passes, your body systems should return to normal.

Severe acute stress is a different story. This kind of stress, such as when you’ve faced a life-threatening situation, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health problems.

Episodic acute stress

Episodic acute stress is when you have frequent episodes of acute stress.

This might happen if you’re often anxious and worried about things you suspect may happen. You might feel that your life is chaotic, and you seemingly go from one crisis to the next. Certain professions, such as law enforcement or firefighters, might also lead to frequent high-stress situations.

As with severe acute stress, episodic acute stress can affect your physical health and mental well-being.

Chronic stress

When you have high-stress levels for an extended period of time, you have chronic stress. Long-term stress like this can have a negative impact on your health. It may contribute to:

Chronic stress can also lead to frequent ailments such as headaches, an upset stomach, and sleep difficulties. Gaining insights into the different types of stress and how to recognize them may help.

Here are some common signs that an individual is under stress:

While everyone exhibits the symptoms of stress differently, there is a common pattern when identifying stress and the exhibition of 2 or more of these symptoms should project the image of an individual who is stressed. 

Causes of Stress

People react differently to stressful situations. What is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another, and almost any event can potentially cause stress. There is no identifiable reason why one person may feel less stressed than another when facing the same stressor. Mental health conditions, such as depression, or a building sense of frustration, injustice, and anxiety can make some people feel stressed more easily than others, as to previous experiences which may affect how a person reacts to stressors.

Common major life events that can trigger stress include:

Other commonly reported causes of stress are:

There’s no end to the things that can cause a person stress because they’re as varied as people are. Whatever the cause, the effect on the body can be serious if left unmanaged. Now that we have identified the problem, it is time to find solutions. Once an individual recognizes the signs of stress, there are many tips and tricks that he/she could use to alleviate and reduce stress. 

Tips to reduce stress:

There are many methods to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. I am particularly fond of exercising as there is nothing that cannot be cured by a quick 30 minute run or jog. Jogs in the park or up a hill where the eye can see nothing but green can be the welcome change that a stressed out mind needs from our everyday concrete jungles.

One thing that is often overlooked by many is the need to get enough sleep or rest. Working into the late hours of the night is very unhealthy as it stops the body’s natural process in eliminating toxins. Another problem that often plagues individuals is the need to unwind on the weekends by spending hours partying or gaming into the night. Many think that this is the solution to stress but it is actually counterproductive as the body is not able to get enough rest. Doing fun things you enjoy is necessary but moderation is the key as too much fun does not give the body enough time to rest.

At Hi-Bliss, our hydrogen therapy helps reduce stress as the tiny hydrogen molecules are able to penetrate the epidermis and neutralise free-radicals that cause inflammation. Our certified physiotherapist will further help alleviate stress with light manipulation and exercise techniques suited to your condition. A visit to one of our centres would do with helping you de-stress. 

Let’s look at the effects stress has on our bodies and the simple ways to manage and relieve chronic stress in the next blog.

Learn more how Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy can help reduce Stress here: https://wordpress-851564-2937612.cloudwaysapps.com/treatment-services-stress-relief/    

Sources

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. 

For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that causes your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it could put your health at serious risk. 

Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being, leading to several complications, including:

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.

stress

Your central nervous system (CNS) oversees your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles, so you’ll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure. As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. You’re more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux thanks to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers (a bacterium called H. pylori often does), but it can increase your risk for them and cause existing ulcers to act up.

Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.

Stress is exhausting for both the body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose your desire when you’re under constant stress. If stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels can begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase risk of infection for male reproductive organs like the prostate and testes.

For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Improving your ability to handle and manage stress

In order to manage your stress, first you have to identify the things that cause you stress — or your triggers. Figure out which of these things can be avoided. Then, find ways to cope with those negative stressors that can’t be avoided.

Over time, managing your stress levels may help lower your risk for stress-related diseases. And it’ll help you feel better on a daily basis, too.

Get Moving. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully (focusing your attention on the physical sensations you experience as you move).

Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face, a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when you’re feeling agitated or insecure and soothe your nervous system. If you don’t have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.

Engage your senses. Another fast way to relieve stress is by engaging one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. The key is to find the sensory input that works for you. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Learn to relax. You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can control how much it affects you. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditationdeep breathing and massages activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities can reduce your everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Eat a healthy diet. The food you eat can improve or worsen your mood and affect your ability to cope with life’s stressors. Processed and fast food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.

Reducing the intake of alcohol, drugs, and caffeine. These substances will not help prevent stress, and they can make it worse.

Time: People should set aside some time to organize their schedules, relax, and pursue their own interests.

Get your rest. Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. At the same time, chronic stress can disrupt your sleep. Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep so you feel less stressed and more productive and emotionally balanced.

Noticing signs and symptoms is the first step to taking action. Most people have an activity that helps them relax, such as reading a book, going for a walk, listening to music, or spending time with a friend, loved one, or pet. Joining a choir or a gym also helps some people relax.

Learn more how Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy can help reduce Stress here: https://hi-bliss.com/our-wellness-programs/    

Sources

Migraine is a brain disorder related to disturbances in the brain homeostasis and it leads to activation of the trigeminovascular system, stimulation of cerebral vessels’ nociceptors, and further signal transmission in the brain. Thus, further signal transmissions result in the stimulation of particular regions of the brain responsible for the clinical manifestations of migraine (triggering pain symptoms, experiencing pain or neurological symptoms). In short, Migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Typically, episodes affect one half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and lasts from a few hours to 3 days.

In the modern world, almost everybody suffers from a migraine disorder. According to WHO, half of the adult population will face migraines at least once within a year. Approximately 15% of the world encounters migraines. Migraine, which is the primary headache disorder, is a tensional and medication-overuse type of headache which hold a high population of health-related disability.

How to know if your headache is a migraine?

If you encounter headaches with the symptoms listed below, you might be having a migraine instead:

migraine

The four phases of a migraine 

There are four possible stages to a migraine, although not everybody will experience all four phases. The four phases are the Prodrome phase, Auro phase, Pain phase and Postdrome phase. 

Prodrome phase

Migraine symptoms may begin one or two days before the headache itself. The following symptoms may occur:

Aura phase 

The aura occurs after the prodrome phase. Clinical characteristics of the migraine aura include transient visual and sensory disturbances (uni- or bilateral) as well as motor symptoms due to recurrent brain dysfunction. Visual disturbances are reported most frequently. Aura may contribute to the so-called migrainous stroke, i.e. an episode of cerebral ischemia with neurological deficits. During an aura, you may encounter visionary, sensational, movement and speech problems.  These symptoms stem from your nervous system and often involve your vision. They usually start gradually, over a 5- to 20-minute period, and last less than an hour. You may experience:

Pain phase 

Also known as headache attack phase. The attack phase is most acute or severe of the phases when the actual migraine pain occurs. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. About 80% of people have nausea along with a headache, and about half vomit. 

Postdrome phase 

After the attack phase, an individual will often experience the postdrome stage. During this phase, there are usually extreme changes in mood and feelings. These can range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy, to feeling very tired and apathetic. A mild and dull headache may still persist. 

Migraine Causes

Scientists believe that migraines can be caused by changes in the blood flow of the brain. Migraines start when overactive nerve cells send out signals that activate the trigeminal nerve (the nerve that supplies sensation to head and face). Activation of the nerve triggers the release of certain chemicals such as serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). CGRP results in the swelling of the blood vessels in the lining of the brain. This releases neurotransmitters that create inflammation and pain.  

The following factors may cause or trigger migraines:

The factors above are reactive oxygen species ROS (or free radicals) in our life which are unavoidable. Imbalanced free radicals and antioxidants in our body will cause oxidative stress which can cause a migraine. When oxidative stress builds up in our body, the following will happen:

Free Radicals and Migraine

Oxidative stress has been known to be implicated in the pathophysiology of migraines. A study has found that increased oxidative stress is associated with migraines and contributes to migraine-related metabolic risk like nitrosative stress, an atherogenic lipid profile and hyperinsulinemia. All these oxidative stress buildup will influence brain homeostasis and inconsequence which triggers hypothalamus activation. This will lead to disruption and alteration of cortical and brainstem excitability which will result in brainstem activation. All of this will cause migraine pain. In conclusion, oxidative stress may represent a key event in the pathophysiology of migraine and is a suitable therapeutic target.

A study has found that individuals with migraines have higher levels of oxidative stress. These speculated theories pay significant attention to oxidative stress, as it has been understood as a disturbance in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production–degradation balance. As such, this phenomenon is involved in the etiopathogenesis of numerous diseases such as atherosclerosis, reduced kidney function, or ischemic stroke. Recently, it is also considered to be one of the factors leading to the development of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, e.g., multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease.

Risk factors for oxidative stress

Hydrogen Therapy and Migraine 

Molecular hydrogen, which is the most powerful and smallest antioxidant, can penetrate through the blood-brain-barrier which is located deep inside our body and enter the cells of the brain to neutralise the inflammation and damage caused by oxidative stress. It works by regulating oxidative stress and antioxidant level in the brain, stabilizing neuro-chemical dysfunction, eliminating factors contributing to insulin resistance in the brain and reducing the chronic inflammation. With these, it reduces the discomfort caused by migraine and also reduces the frequency of migraine attack.

In other circumstances, tightness on the neck and shoulder muscle which is caused by improper posture can also cause migraines as muscle tightness can restrict the blood flow to the brain, decreasing the oxygen that is able to reach the brain cells and activating the trigeminal sensory nerve that leads to migraine.

A combination of hydrogen therapy and exercise programs are able to soften the tightness of the affected muscle, thus promoting blood circulation to the brain area and neutralising oxidative stress in the brain which can reduce the frequency of migraine attack. 

Hi-Bliss hydrogen therapy provides the hydrogen and physiotherapy treatments to treat migraines caused by poor blood circulation towards the brain area. These treatments can help to improve blood circulation towards the brain area and the manipulation done by our physiotherapist can help further soften the affected muscle tightness. We use hydrogen gas to suppress the inflammation caused by free radicals and promote the healing process in the affected area. Our physiotherapist provides manual therapy and exercise to the client so that it can help the body absorb hydrogen more effectively.

Exercise is also very important to the body. Regular exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines. The body releases endorphins when exercising and they are the body's natural painkillers. Exercise reduces stress and helps individuals to sleep at night. 

Stress and inadequate sleep are two migraine triggers. Some people may get headaches or migraines when they exercise. One possible reason for this is that a part of the physical reaction may be the elevation of blood pressure. This is not a reason to avoid exercising. Instead, headache and migraine patients need a plan to prevent headaches or migraines when they exercise.

Learn more how Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy can help reduce Stress here: https://hi-bliss.com/our-wellness-programs/

Sources

Stressed Out?

Just about everyone who you talk to nowadays will complain about being “stressed out.”  Thirty years ago, no one ever even used this term.  Today, however, it is a staple in most conversations.  We often refer to ourselves as being “stressed out” when we discuss our careers as well as our personal lives.

Recent studies indicate that even children are “stressed out.”  Little kids, who shouldn’t have a care in the world, are becoming “stressed” due to activities at home or at school.  In most cases, they are simply inheriting the stress from their parents.

Psychologists who deal with “stressed out” individuals blame the current situation on everything from the foods we eat to our society.  Most agree that people today attempt to do “too much” and end up getting burned out.

We all experience stress during the course of our lives.  There is a difference, however, in being constantly stressed out and experiencing stress due to a certain situation.  Anything that dramatically disrupts our lives is a cause for stress.   Most people recover from the stressful situation after it has been resolved or over a period of time.

Read on to learn more on how Hydrogen Therapy can help relief the Stress – the Natural, non-invasive, pain-free, medication-free way.

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