"Stress is the way that you feel when pressure is placed on you. A little bit of pressure can be productive, give you motivation, and help you to perform better at something. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which is unhealthy for the mind and body.
When faced with a situation that makes you stressed, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These invoke the 'fight or flight' feelings that help us to deal with the situation.
The fight or flight response was first noted by one of the early pioneers in stress research, Walter Cannon. In 1932 he established that when an organism experiences a shock or perceives a threat, it quickly releases hormones that help it to survive.
If the chemicals that are released during stressful situations accumulate from not being used, their effects are felt by the body. A build-up of adrenaline and noradrenaline increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount that you sweat. Cortisol prevents your immune system from functioning properly, as well as releasing fat and sugar into your blood stream.
Excess stress can manifest itself in a variety of emotional, behavioral, and even physical symptoms, and the symptoms of stress vary enormously among different individuals. Common somatic (physical) symptoms often reported by those experiencing excess stress include sleep disturbances, muscle tension, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, and fatigue."*
A number of people have asked me if my headache could be related to stress.
The human body is so complex that each and every one of us reacts to external circumstances in different ways. Maybe it is stress related.
Admittedly, we’re working very long hours here in Banjul: most days more than 14.
I have therefore decided to have body and head massages on a regular basis to try and relax a bit.
Luckily I am in living in The Gambia, where I can easily afford a masseuse.
I asked her to spend some time working on my temples - I told her to place a lot of pressure, especially on the right hand side, as this slightly alleviates the pain.
The intensity of the headache magnifies as soon as I lie down. Consequently, as much as I try and relax during a massage, I now become more tense and weary.