Health & wellbeing

Imagine the scenario: It's late at night and your partner wakes feeling desperately poorly with a headache. You run downstairs, check the cupboard, and realise that you're out of painkillers. Determined to help ease their suffering, you drive to the nearest shop, reach for the ibuprofen and take it to the till.
We all know what it feels like when we are overloaded and stressed out - but how many of us really understand the long term consequences of prolonged stress?
Stress is the combination of any physical, mental, or emotional factors that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress can come from either internal or external factors which initiates the fight or flight response and this reaction has an effect on both the neurological and endocrinological system.
The saying goes that laughter is the best medicine and there's no denying the fact that our spirits lift when we smile or laugh. But why exactly is it so therapeutic and what can we do to make sure humour remains a constant component of our everyday lives?
'Should' is a suffocating presence that cannot be seen but can be felt with the momentous force of a gathering typhoon. It is the test you could never get full marks on; the boss you could never impress; the partner you could never please and a complete misdirection of your energy.
I'm going to do my best to leave out as much of the science jargon as possible because having a degree, masters or doctorate should not be required when reading a blog post. Back in 2014, research reconfirmed just how damaging chronic stress is to the brain.
OK, so let's go right back to the beginning again because it seems despite all the hard work of many upstanding individuals the fact that stress is bad (and I mean really bad), is just not quite sinking in with many people.
The phrase 'alternative facts' is preoccupying most of us at the moment. Provision of 'alternative facts' about the numbers
I used to get anxious all the time and my breathing was shallow. In any breathing exercise I'd notice it was shallow, get more stressed and consequently more anxious! Mission definitely not accomplished. With mindfulness it's different. All you have to do is take a few breaths, notice that they're shallow, accept them fully as they are and keep on breathing.
Ever so slowly, but ever so surely, Mental health is becoming something that we can discuss with increased openness and without stigma. Yet sadly, for it truly to be considered on a par with physical health, there's still a long way to go.