Connecting with Others Improves Health and Stress Resilience
Research shows that connecting with others improves health and resilience to stress.
Stress has traditionally been viewed as one of the top contributors to disease, burnout and disengagement wreaking havoc on the body and leaving millions of people with physical, mental and emotional blockages and illness. However, many are unaware that new research shows that stress can be good for us if we change our minds about stress and connect with others. Combining life coaching and deep-tissue massage into your armoury of support can help you restore balance, build resilience towards stress and alleviate physical discomfort.
It is not often that one will seek help from a therapist, Life Coach or through social connections when under stress and personal life afflictions. There is usually a ‘burying the issue’ or a ‘going-it-alone’ approach to life’s challenges.
When the body is under stress, it becomes energised as it prepares to respond to the stressor. These feelings of anxiety, worry and increased heart rate have been attributed to cardiovascular disease. However, according to a study at the University of Wisconsin (Keller, Litzelman, Wisk et al. (2012), participants who believed stress was harmful had the highest risk of disease and death than participants who did not believe stress was bad for them (lowest risk).
According to a study at Harvard (Jaimeson, Nock & Mendes 2012) when a participant changed his/her mind about stress and believed it was helpful, it changed the body’s response to stress! The new science shows that how you think about stress is vital as it can have positive mental and physiological changes. Connection with others contributes to building resilience that leads to more effective resolve.
Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone that ‘fine tunes your brains social instincts’ and is produced when we hug, feel love and compassion. Research shows that oxytocin is a stress hormone and motivates you to seek support from people you care about. It is an anti-inflammatory agent which helps heart cells heal from damage and your stress response is enhanced through social support.
When you connect with others you release more oxytocin helping you recover faster.
What choices do we have when it comes to taking personal care when we feel stressed or need to connect with others? This research shows that we can learn to take heed by being an active, reflective witness to how stress affects us, listen to how our bodies communicate with us, change our beliefs about stress and reach out to others.
On one hand we should take time to be alone, to relax and unwind and follow personal interests. And while we all have trusted friends, family or a partner to lean on, these support bases can often have a biased perspective to provide you with sufficient assistance.
I would encourage you to make use of those contacts nevertheless as you see fit. Our Cape Town clients have the benefit of working with a life coach who is also certified in deep-tissue ‘Tui na’ massage, an ancient Chinese technique that uses acupressure points and a very deep pressure to release physical blockages after bouts of life stress.
Life coaching has become one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial industries of the 21st century as more people in developed countries search for non-clinical guidance and additional support to find solutions and overcome personal, occupational, social or emotional obstacles. Coaching is supportive, caring and works on a partnership basis as the coach becomes an ally with the client and acts as a sounding-board, helping the client find solutions through their own resources.
Massage, however, is viewed as more of a luxury infrequent treatment to relieve physical tension, and can be expensive depending on what type of venue or treatment you prefer (e.g. A Spa treatment at a 5* hotel) and yet the physical and mental relief of stress after a massage leaves one feeling more relaxed and at ease.
Connecting with coach and a deep-tissue massage therapist should be more frequent. In the east (Thailand for instance), massage is a regular exercise and helps keep physical stress at bay, as well as keeping muscles loose and relaxed.
Combining coaching and massage into your weekly or bi-monthly routine with a practitioner who is trained in both coaching and deep-tissue massage will help support you through your mental, emotional, social and occupational issues whilst alleviating your physical residue.
This is a unique approach to health and well-being and provides a rounded approach to healing. Get in touch to make an enquiry and book an appointment.