Building a career, a business, a family. Coping with everyday pressures and ocassional adversities- they all take their toll on our body. New research has been published recently which shows exactly what stress does to our brains.  
 
We all have an inner threshold of how much we can take before it impairs our judgement, productivity and function. This new research has also found that it actually can alter the structure of our brains. 
You can’t touch, smell, taste or see it but you can feel it – the moment you walk into any room, at work or home. A bad atmosphere; the palpable effects of negative and intense emotions; someone sitting in a cloud of silent fury and anger, a group of people smilingly on the defensive, or a couple with rigid rictus smiles together but not together. It can unnerve, unsettle and affect your decisions as well as your mood.  
 
You can catch it over the phone, it comes from all directions. For example, you hear from a client who is going through a trying time and offloads onto you. He ends the call feeling lighter and happier but you are left with a drained feeling as you have picked up and are carrying an unwelcome burden. 
 
This is especially trying if you work with someone who is always negative, complaining or just seems to be in a permanent bad mood. This can be exacerbated if your work revolves around people going through challenging times. I find that solicitors and barristers in the family law area can often be affected with difficult and harrowing cases; not so easy then to protect your attitude and emotions. 
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds higher levels of stress are associated with lower odds of conception for women, but not for men. 
 
This study of almost 5,000 women trying for a baby found those who reported feeling the most pressure from commitments were 25% less likely to conceive. 
On Wednesday 5th September, Paula Ruane was one of the first speakers in a two month line-up at the Epson EcoTank Pop-Up in Covent Garden. 
 
In an hour, Paula delivered a talk 'Fitting it all in & making everyone happy" : Guide to a healthy work-life balance'. She covered some practical techniques and tools and modelled a real life experiment of what stress does to our body and how Paula's techniques combat it.  
 
During Paula's talk it was apparent that everyone who attended regularly have to cope with the effects of stress and do not neccessarily have the know-how to appropriately do so.  
 
The Epson EcoTank conducted a survey of Britain's freelancers and found that this style of working can also be a cause for stress despite its perks. 
There are over two million freelancers in the UK. While there are many benefits of working in this way, Epson's research has found that one in four of these workers experiences depression as a result of isolated working conditions. 
 
They found that 48% of freelancers find their work lifestyle lonely; a quarter of respondents have experienced frequent periods of depression, and 21% claim that the loneliness of remote working has caused them to have suicidal thoughts. The impact of isolation and loneliness on mental health is widely recognised and this is a problem Paula has often seen too. 
 
The EcoTank Pop-Up doubles up as co-working space for freelancers to use for free- there are power points to plug in, free refreshments and coffee. It's a great place for freelancers to come and escape the isolation of a home-office. 
Having spoke about the cons, we all know that there are highs to self-employment. When asked why they had chosen to freelance or work remotely, respondents said that a better work/life balance (53%) and greater flexibility (62%) were among their reasons; some said they wanted to avoid working in an office, which they found stressful (47%). 
 
We all know that trying to fit in family life with demanding hours of working for a company can feel impossible, if this is something that you are struggling or experiencing stress at work for any other reason, Paula's techniques and tools will help. Get in touch to book your discovery session to find your personal stress triggers and map a plan to get you to brilliant and resilient. 
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Pioneering stress and resilience expert, Paula Ruane will be one of the first speakers to take to the stage as Epson UK kicks off its Epson EcoTank Pop-Up; a two-month-long retail destination in Covent Garden, London. Throughout September and October, the Epson EcoTank Pop-Up will host free-engaging, relevant talks, interactive workshops, and thought-provoking and inspiring panel sessions from some of the country's most popular parenting, lifestyle, work and student bloggers and experts. The space will also include a free to use co-working area, giving freelancers and remote workers access to free Wi-Fi, drinks and of course printing. 
As one of the UK's leading stress specialists, Paula Ruane has helped clients from all walks of life prevent, manage and combat the debilitating effects of stress for over 15 years. Her unique and proven stress prevention and resilience training programmes and techniques are combined with science-based technology including the globally recognised HeartMath programme, which has helped teams at NASA, St. Barts Hospital, Ford and IBM, among others. 
 
Paula's 45-minute interactive workshop at the Epson EcoTank Pop-Up, entitled 'Trying to fit it all in and keep everyone happy?', will focus on the stress and overload that is experienced by more than half a million workers in the UK. The effects are endemic according the Health and Safety Executive, 12.5 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2016/17. 
 
"Most of us are trying to fit way too much into our lives, and trying to be all things to all people," explains Paula. "Add to that the multiple distractions we have from mobile technology that means most of us have emails, messages and calls coming through 24 hours a day, and it's no surprise we are overloaded. 
 
"I'm delighted to have been invited by Epson UK to speak at the EcoTank Pop-Up. There is great synergy in the work Epson is doing to make life easier for businesses, students and families through innovative technology. I will be demonstrating the fascinating real-time physical effects of stress and how it can impact our mental, physical, emotional and intellectual resilience. We'll look at what that means; many people will identify with feeling ill as soon as they take holiday or making bad decisions due to overload. 
 
"In less than an hour, visitors to the Epson EcoTank Pop-Up will learn profound, deceptively simple but immediately effective ways to manage stress and overload and feel instant benefits. I will also be sharing a wonderful time management tool to take away." 
 
Paula Ruane will be speaking at the Epson EcoTank Pop-Up on Wednesday, 5 September 2018 at 21 Long Acre, Covent Garden from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. To book your free place on the workshop visit eventbrite. 
 
About Paula Ruane 
 
UK stress and resilience expert Paula Ruane has made it her life's mission to help people through her unique approach to stress management and resilience training, combining pioneering techniques including HeartMath, which is used by teams from NASA to the NHS. 
 
As one of a select group of accredited HeartMath practitioners, Paula's pioneering approach is at the cutting edge of stress management. Aside from the small scientific and medical communities that have already been introduced to it, not much is known about the many fantastic benefits of HeartMath - but it's slowly finding its way into the public consciousness. 
 
Using this innovative, science-based technology, Paula utilises the data provided by HeartMath and then uses it to create a customised stress management plan for each of her clients. By producing quantifiable feedback, she is able to monitor the individual's progress and set achievable targets that can alleviate the symptoms of stress and increase overall resilience. 
 
About Epson Eco Tank Pop-Up 
 
The Epson EcoTank Pop-Up is a two-month-long retail destination in Covent Garden, London delivering engaging, relevant talks and thought-provoking and inspiring panel sessions at free events during September and October 2018. 
 
The EcoTank is a revolutionary innovation in printing. The ultra-high-capacity ink tank system holds three years' worth of ink - the equivalent of 94 cartridges worth of ink is included, enabling users to 'fill and forget'. The Epson EcoTank minimises waste, is environmentally friendly and removes the hassle of replacing cartridges or worrying that ink will run out when you need it most. 
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Despite many employers turning to yoga and mindfulness classes to help relieve stress among their workforce, over half a million workers across the UK have suffered work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. What’s more, it is one of the two most commonly reported causes of sickness absence. 
 
Add to this the estimated loss of 12.5 million working days a year, and you can see why employers are looking for ways to manage work-related stress. For instance, some organisations are offering yoga and in-house meditation classes to help their workforce de-stress, or mindfulness training to help staff cope with pressure at work. But are these alone actually effective in preventing or managing work-related stress? 
 
 
 
What is Stress? 
At some point, we have all said “I’m feeling a bit stressed” or “I’m stressed out”, but what do we really mean? 
 
Stress can be defined in a number of ways but at the HSE, we define it as: “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. 
 
Our definition distinguishes between stress and pressure as it is generally accepted the latter can be considered good for us and can act as a motivational force helping us achieve our goals. But it is when this pressure becomes excessive over a prolonged period, with no recovery time, that it can lead to stress, anxiety and depression and physical health conditions including heart problems, stroke, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. 
 
It is no surprise that an industry has built up to create solutions to work-related stress. Its focus tends to be on wellbeing; promoting mindfulness ; helping people already experiencing problems. 
 
As a result, some organisations are now drawing up wellbeing strategies and encouraging their employees to take up yoga or meditation and to just eat better and exercise as a means to de-stress. These solutions do not remove the cause of the work-related stress, meaning they cannot solve the wider issues in the workplace. 
 
 
Resilience Training 
Whilst resilience training does not remove the cause of stress, it teaches your employees proven tools and techniques to cope with the effects of stress. Resilience means being able to cope through prolonged periods of stress.  
 
With stress resilience training you can expect: 
improved productivity and performance 
reduced absence 
greater motivation 
 
To find out how Paula Ruane can help your employees, get in touch
 
Source: Personnel Today 
 
In numerous different animals, cognitive ability, including learning and memory, is often negatively affected by stress. But not all individuals of a particular species are equally good at cognitive tasks to begin with, and they respond to the effects of stress in different ways. 
 
Take pond snails – specifically Lymnaea stagnalis – for example. They, just like other animals (including humans), remember things about different aspects of their environment. They remember smells that are associated with good things to eat, for instance, as well as negative experiences which may be associated with the risk of being eaten themselves. But not all snails are equally good at remembering. Some snail populations, originating from different rivers or ditches, are much better at forming memories than others. 
Teachers are taking absence due to stress. Following a freedom of information request to Bexley Council in London, it was revealed that a total of 297 days were lost to stress. There has been widespread reporting on excessive teacher workloads but what should schools do about it? 
 
Bexley Council revealed how many teachers were required to take time out to recover from stress following a freedom of information request. 
 
The authority was asked for the most recent data for “the number of teachers on long-term stress leave during the last year.” The council said: “In maintained schools 11 teachers were absent in the past year due to stress including depression and anxiety. The total days lost were 297.” 
 
"Fibre is [a] stress beater," states The Sun, while the Mail Online says: "high fibre diets may make you less stressed because your gut affects your brain". Both are reporting on a study that explored whether eating more fibre might help the body to combat stress. 
 
The researchers were particularly interested in the potential role of short-chain fatty acids. These are small molecules produced when the digestive system breaks down high-fibre foods, such as fruits and vegetables. They are known to have a beneficial effect on biological processes such as the metabolism and immune system. So, the researches researchers wanted to see if these effects could also relieve stress. 
 
 
Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone, and it plays a role in many bodily functions. 
 
Cortisol also plays a role in: 
regulating the body's sleep-wake cycles 
managing how the body utilises carbohydrates, fats, and proteins 
reducing inflammation 
controlling blood pressure 
 
Here are some practical ways of lowering cortisol levels to help ensure that your body is able to manage stress levels. 
 

Why high cortisol levels are a problem 

The body relies on effective communication between the following three parts of the body to release the correct amount of cortisol: 
the adrenal gland, controls many different hormones 
the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body 
the hypothalamus, links the nervous system to your hormones 
 
Between them, they stimulate the production of cortisol when the body needs it and block it when the levels need to drop back down. 
 
Both too much and too little cortisol can have an adverse effect on the body. 
 

High cortisol level symptoms 

Too much cortisol can cause the following symptoms: 
fatigue 
impaired brain function 
weak immune system 
changes in mood, such as feeling irritable or low 
rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen 
 

Natural ways to lower cortisol 

People trying to lower their cortisol levels should aim to reduce stress. 
 
You can do this by removing yourself from stressful situations or learning how to cope with stress better. 
 
You can learn to recognise the triggers for stress and try to manage these proactively to reduce instances of worry or anxiety and decrease feelings of tension. 
 
People who learn how to cope when stressful thoughts arise will manage their cortisol levels better. 
 
If you are concerned about your stress levels and the impact that it is having on your health and performance, book a discovery session with Paula Ruane. 
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