The Health and Safety Executive define stress as the "adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them." The HSE reported in 2003/4 that 12.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety and that up to 5 million people in the UK feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work.

Everyone suffers from some form of stress, with prolonged stress causing the most damage on a physiological and psychological level.

Why do we suffer from stress
Any kind of change or even imagined change can cause a degree of stress. From the day we are born we are constantly exposed to stressful situations, starting with being separated from our mothers at birth. As we grow our interactions with others and responsibilities are constantly causing us stress. Some of the most common 'stressors' include: work life, finding work, gaining parents and peers approval, pressure to succeed at school, work or in other areas of our lives, forming relationships, relationship breakdowns, bereavements, job promotions, moving house, unemployment, commuting, environmental factors (such as external toxins, tobacco, pollution, alcohol, poor diet), exams, driving, shopping, having children, illnesses and injuries. No one is immune to stress but if we can learn to truly relax we have a greater chance of fostering our own well-being and happiness.

The effects of stress

Chronic stress can have a very negative impact on our health. Some conditions which have been linked to stress include:
Depression - thought to be due to a serotonin imbalance provoked by excess cortisol.
Damaged immune system - Stress has been linked with low white blood cell count, inflammation and an overactive immune system leading to autoimmune diseases (where the immune system attacks your own body.)
Cancer - Some studies on animals have cited excessive stress a contributing factor in tumour growth plus stress can lead to self-destructive behaviour such as poor diet, drinking or taking drugs, which could potentially increase the risk of cancer.
Cardiovascular problems - Stress can cause 'sticky blood' elevating the risk of clots.

How can Reiki help with stress
Reiki heals on all levels: physical, emotional and spiritual to ultimately create ‘oneness' within ourselves and ‘oneness' with the Universe. Reiki cannot only help dramatically with specific physical problems and illnesses but in addition Reiki heals on an emotional level to ensure that any physical problems caused by stress and emotional trauma, do not return. Reiki teaches you how to relax and when you are completely relaxed your stress diminishes. Reiki also helps your body to function at optimum levels, reducing the risk of developing illnesses.

When you either undergo Reiki treatments or learn a Reiki course you begin to see everything from a different perspective. Past emotional traumas are healed so that they can no longer prevent you from self-development and having the freedom to be yourself. Click here for more information on stress.

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