3 Physical Symptoms Caused By Work Related Stress
Stress, anxiety and depression are common topics at the moment sadly. Is it because there are more ways to hear about it, or is it that the pace of life is stretching us beyond our mental capability? The expectations that are placed upon us from other people can certainly fuel our stress levels, however the expectations we put on ourselves can have an equally damaging effect. Perfectionism is a wonderful thing to strive towards but completely unrealistic and I am certainly guilty of this too.
I was quite good at disguising my emotions in the workplace as I wanted my colleagues to see I had everything under control. I rarely had the confidence to express an opinion so instead I internalised my feelings around anything that knocked me out of balance. My body did a great job at storing up a mountain of suppressed emotion and I started to become quite physically unwell, mainly with neck problems and RSI (repetitive strain injury). Not only did I have work related stress, I was also topping up my adrenaline at spinning class 3 times a week. I was on a complete hormonal overdrive.
When I left my job due to redundancy it was a chance for me to begin to piece back together my health, I discovered many revelations along the way and have since reversed the majority of ache and pain in my body by bringing back balance and harmony into my daily routine.
The clients who come to me reflect a similar story to mine and as always they inspired me to write this article. Here are 3 common physical symptoms that could be related to your work and daily life. Once acknowledged hopefully you can take the necessary steps to bring some balance back into your life too.
Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
In the book Healing Back Pain by Dr John .E. Sarno, he explains very well the physiological effects that suppressed emotion has on the body. Dr Sarno refers to common, chronic pain in the body (particularly back and neck) as a psychological symptom called TMS – Tension Myositis Syndrome. As part of our human make-up we are hard-wired to suppress emotions, so literally in fear of “feeling” an emotion, the brain creates a physical pain by starving the muscles of oxygen so that they become tense, restrictive and painfully ache. People then become fixated on the problem and so it gets worse. The book is full of successful case studies, including myself. I have spent a fortune on back pain solutions and by the time I had got to the 5th chapter of his book, the majority of pain had diminished. The power of the mind!
If your health is normally in tip-top condition and you are eating a nutritionally balanced diet, there is no reason why you should be susceptible to every virus that trickles through the workplace. The body is an amazing machine and can often be quite resilient to germs. However if your body is overflowing with stress hormones it can upset the natural balance of your physical system. The subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems such as anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive problems and sleep disruption. In addition, if you aren’t getting a good sleep at night, this will create a whole host of other side effects because during sleep is when our body does most of its healing and psychological processing.
Are you getting job satisfaction? Do you work in a stressful environment or have a horrible Manager? Perhaps you are there right now or you have been amongst the wolves before!
When we think happy thoughts they resonate through our body, so if we are unhappy at work or in home life, the emotion filters into our physiology and weakens it. The result can manifest in many ways but certainly on mood and mindset. Ultimately we are responsible for the decisions we make and actions we take. There is always a better way to be, do and have. If you are having bouts of anxiety at work, look to your environment and the people around you. Are you in the best place you deserve and doing what fulfils you? The impact that another person’s behaviour has on your stress levels can be a huge weight added to your shoulders (shoulder pain) particularly if you are not familiar with expressing your feelings and emotions. As a result anxiety can build up and cause many problems and although we cannot change another person’s behaviour, we can change the way we respond to it. When you know this, you gain your control back. So what can you do to bring your stress levels down? What needs to change and how can you make it happen?
To end, I must add that I am not a Doctor but write from my own experience and as always through my clients who are my greatest teachers. <3