How stressed am I?


Stress can be both a good thing and a bad thing but what is it really doing to our physical health if we are stressed on a constant basis day after day?

Most of us know that certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or lack of exercise could jeopardise our health but what we do need to pay more attention to his stress. If switched on for too long stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellbeing and by learning how chronic stress affects our mind and body our awareness will identify the importance of finding ways to reduce the stress load.

Hormone levels

The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas where it is needed most in an emergency. Typically, this will be muscles, heart and other important to organs. But when these hormones remain high due to persistent low level stress, they do affect most areas of the body.


Most of us occasionally suffer from butterflies in the stomach! This is caused by nerve endings and immune cells in the digestive tract when they’re affected by stress hormones. It is no surprise that stress affects your digestive system in other ways as well therefore, for instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.


Under stress your heart pumps faster. The stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert oxygen away from the extremities and towards your muscles to help you move quickly. This raises your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises so does your risk of stroke and heart attack.


When you’re stressed you’re probably not sleeping well, but stress can affect sleep in other ways - in particular if you’re producing stress hormones. Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and declines through the day but when you’re constantly under stress this pattern can change, meaning that you wake up tired but can be buzzing at bedtime. Has this happened to you?


Although little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk, one theory is that cortisol alters the body’s sensitivity to insulin which makes stress a risk factor for diabetes. Studies have looked at stress as a pathway to developing diabetes and found evidence that chronic stress can initiate changes in the immune system that may result, or increase the likelihood of, develop developing type two diabetes


Health experts can’t agree whether or not stress causes cancer and most of the large-scale studies are inconclusive. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, these are habits which do increase the risk of cancer.


As anyone who has frozen in the middle of a speech knows, stress reduces your ability to recall information. What is less known is that over time, chronic stress can lead to memory impairment; in fact they can shrink your hippocampus which is the part of the brain that regulates in motion.

If you are stressed about your stress levels then please visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

2020 resolutions

Don’t leave it until New Year’s Eve to make those resolutions to improve your life, health, work and general behaviours for next year. Give it some thought now and prepare to break all those bad habits that you’ve developed during the course of 2019.

We all promise to give up our bad habits and replace them with new and better behaviours. It might work for a week or two in January but slowly we slide back into old, familiar and far more comfortable ways. So, how can you make those changes lasting ones?


Planning is all important in life for the likes of family routine and socialising but it also works if you want to implement change. Pick your important goals and schedule time to achieve them whether that’s regular exercise or eating in a more healthy way. You will be surprised how much easier it will be to make healthy habits a part of your everyday life if you plan in advance and make time for them.

Don’t be too ambitious.

Patience is the key to success when it comes to implementing change so choose one or two goals that are the most important to you and decide what healthy habits are needed to achieve them.

Sometimes changing one thing will need will lead to another. For instance, if you improve your diet and start eating more healthily you may find that you have more energy to exercise.

Long-term thinking.

Quick fixes simply don’t work. Studies have indicated that without long-term guidance quick fixes like fat diet that we all hear about do not provide lasting benefits

Habits whether they are good or bad, will emerge due to repeated actions over time.


Motivation is essential when we want to work towards implementing change but for most of us motivation is something that comes and goes. So we have to be prepared for those times when motivation is at a low ebb.

This is where family and friends can help. Having an exercise partner will encourage you to carry on with that exercise even when you don’t feel like it because not to do so would be to let your friend or family member down and you don’t want to do that.

Make sure that you put all such appointments in your diary so that you can’t simply say “sorry I forgot”.

Even if you do fall short of your targets and intentions don’t beat yourself up about it! Tomorrow is another day and you can start again with renewed motivation and enthusiasm.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

High Blood Pressure

Do we actually know what high blood pressure is? Many of us are aware of the dangers of having high blood pressure but do we actually understand what it means?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries as it is being pumped around the body by the heart. When your blood pressure exceeds an upper limit for an extended time, you have high blood pressure also known as hypertension.

In adults high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure and/or a diastolic pressure however to get a true picture it may be worth getting your blood pressure measured more than a single time because stress, particularly when you visit the doctor can cause it to rise.

The dangers of high BP

Because the heart, brain and kidneys can withstand increased blood pressure for long periods, people with high blood pressure may feel perfectly well for many years. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing damage. If it is not controlled, high blood pressure can overload the heart, accelerate the artery clogging process And this in turn can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney failure.

Checking your blood pressure

It is recommended that all adults should have their blood pressure checked once every 1 to 2 years, although anyone with past or present high blood pressure, or a direct family history of it, should have it checked more often.

Adults who experience symptoms of hypertension such a swollen ankles and fingers, breathlessness, blurred vision, frequent bleeding nose and persistent morning headaches, should have the blood pressure checked immediately.


While it is true that many people need drugs to control high blood pressure, others can reduce it with lifestyle changes.

A healthy diet alone maybe all that is needed to reduce blood pressure. A study in the US showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods as well as being high in fibre and protein, is sufficient to significantly reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.

For anyone with more severe hypertension it is advised that along with a healthy diet they live with their alcohol and salt intake, lose weight, and exercise regularly.

If in doubt, visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

Your relationship with your mobile phone.

Do you have a healthy relationship with your mobile phone? Are you able to lead completely separate lives and not be inter dependent on one another?!

If you are, then you are one of the rare breed that is not totally reliant on their mobile phone, and will not suffer from Nomophobia when they are parted either by accident or design. However, if you are one of the majority who aren’t, then when you leave that phone at home by mistake you will probably spend the rest of your day fretting and fidgeting – does that describe you?

These days most of us carry our mobiles with us and rarely turn them off. Our phone is often the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and the first thing we check when we wake up. Incoming emails, texts and other notifications constantly disturb us and one study reported that the average user checked their phone at least 85 times a day. Is this describing you?

Our phones can be our main lifeline to family, friends, business colleagues and other networks. However the best human relationships are the face-to-face ones with another person and phones can never replace those meaningful connections.

How many of us have seen couples in a social surroundings, such as a restaurant or pub, sitting across the table from one another but with both of them being on their mobiles, more in touch with Facebook and football than with each other?

Even the very presence of phones seems to prevent deeper and more meaningful conversations. One study has found that people feel less connected to other people in a conversation when a mobile is present. In other words, when it is sitting on the table next to them. People feel that if this phone was to go off the conversation would be cut short and the phone call or message would be far more important.

Constantly checking your phone can easily become a habit, but it is one that you can break.

Do a phone fast:

·       Start with one or two days a week without using certain apps such as Facebook or other social media platforms.

·       Begin and end your day by not looking urgently at your phone. Read a book when you go to bed rather than scan the latest Facebook news.

·       When you’re out eating with friends, family or your partner make sure that everyone's mobiles are out of sight or even better, left at home.

·       Try taking a break from your phone for a certain length of time each day. It is a routine you will learn to enjoy!

Nomophobia Is a real condition we have written about elsewhere so try to bring yourself back into the more social world and experiment doing without your phone for periods of time during the day, week, month, it will be good for you in the long run!

Mayfair we care.