Chronic Stress – The Modern Epidemic

Blame it on modern times,

but every second person seems to be struggling with some symptom of over working or being overly stressed out. I have noticed how so many seem unable to cope with their daily work/life load, and worst of all is that it doesn’t end there! Chronic Stress seems to be the ‘norm’ to so many.


Common effects of stress include:


Muscle tension,



Lack of motivation,

Social withdrawal and even


Chronic stress, which means constantly living in this stressed out mode, can increase your chances of a heart attack and stroke. And some experts even believe it can make you more susceptible to dementia and Alzheimer’s! Chronic stress can equal chronic diseases, as simple as that really.

So what exactly is stress?

As it works in nature, it is actually there to allow us to remain alert, motivated and able to adapt. A cluster of neurons in the brain reacts to stress, such as traffic, and argument with a loved one. This triggers the body’s fight or flight response. The problem is, our brains have been reprogrammed by modern society to react to every day stress the same way it would to an attack. In short, it is tension, the feeling of constantly being under pressure and freaking out. Our natural body uses stress to keep us surviving but we have taken that to a whole other level. Our bodies actually do not know when we are safe and able to relax.

I want to give you some tools to better equip you for those tough times, when you are under pressure
and unable to claw your way out:

Firstly, meditation!

I know this is one you have all heard about but are probably too scared or skeptical to try. Practicing awareness and mindfulness is a way to train your brain to respond better to stress. There is proof that there is a significant drop in stress hormones when people practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation is the practice of quieting your mind, and mindfulness can be reached in this mode. It is the practice of ‘being’ mode.

Free yourself from automatic responses and experience observing in sensing mode. There is a lot of research out there on mindfulness and health so don’t disregard this one.

Secondly, exercise.

Any exercise that you enjoy really as exercise itself releases endorphins that act as natural anti-depressants and make you feel good. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you break a sweat you will get this high.

Next up, something simple

Like taking a hot bath with candles, bubble bath or bath bombs. Diffusing essential oils can allow you a space of bliss and relaxation. Anything in self care that makes you smile should be a practice you do every day! Go on, buy yourself those flowers.

Lastly, the food you eat.

Anything that can throw your blood sugar up and down is bound to create problems, as are inflammatory foods. Foods high in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, avocado, and leafy green vegetables will do the opposite and will reduce stress in your body.

How wonderful is the world that we live in, that although there is so much that can put us in fight or flight mode there is also so much magic that can allow us to feel balanced again?

Let me know what you try!

Until next time, keep that stress low and those good vibes high



Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.healthandfitness

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