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I recently heard the expression ‘pernicious malady’ being used to describe something and it struck me immediately that the speaker could have been talking about stress. It is something that creeps upon us and becomes normal to us but without us realising just how harmful the long term effects can be. I frequently hear people say they’re “just a bit stressed, y’know?” it is something that we all have in our lives and accept.

Stress in itself isn’t a completely bad thing. During times of stress hormones are released into the body’s systems which enable you to deal with the current threat, which used to be being chased by a dinosaur but nowadays is more likely to be the school run, moving house or work. Once the threat has passed the hormones return to normal levels, however, the effects of long-term stress is when harmful illnesses (pernicious malady) can occur.

Stress affects how your brain and body works, how you think, feel and how you behave, which is why it is crucial to recognise the signs of stress and address them at an early stage. It is incredibly easy to accept feeling tired, wanting to withdraw, being restless, having intimacy and sleep problems as part and parcel of living a hectic life, but they are all symptoms of being stressed. Once you become aware of the symptoms of stress you will be able to find ways of managing them and will be able to take action to prevent harmful illness striking.

A client recently mentioned that she was a bit anxious about an upcoming event so we discussed stress. She was certain that she wasn’t stressed but when we went through the list of symptoms above she was shocked at how many she recognised in herself. Stress creeps up on us, so now that you have a list of symptoms you can refer to, make sure you use it to check in with yourself every now and then. It might be that you have some stressors in your life at that time but being conscious of them will mean that you can be proactive in reducing the stresses in your life.

There are some wonderful resources online about managing stress such as guidance on avoiding unhealthy habits or improving your work-life balance and even more resources on how to bring those changes about. For a start here is a link to 4 great TED Talks on the management of stress (NB: Igandic Reiki is not responsible for any external links).

But of course I shall recommend Reiki as being the first port of call. Sometimes situations seem impossible to change but you have the power to change how you react to that situation. It might be a long and drawn out process, but if you practice self-care along the way the better you will withstand it, and the less harmful that stressful period will be. A set of Reiki sessions will give you the head space to begin the process of tackling your stress and the causes of it.

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