Are You Underestimating the Negative Impact of Stress?

By Faith M. Coppola

Oct 29

Stress is something that most of us deal with so often, it has become an accepted part of life. But because it’s so common, we easily forget the impact it can have – and then we wonder why we can’t get anything done.

As a massage therapist and Reiki healer, I can tell you the science of what happens in your body that makes stress such a negative impact on productivity. Then I’ve got a great story to tell that shows how getting rid of stress can improve productivity in an instant.

First, the science part:

Have you heard of cortisol? That word often comes up when people talk about stress in the brain and body. Cortisol is the hormone that’s responsible for the fight-or-flight instinct: When there’s an impending danger, cortisol gets sent throughout your body, including to your brain where it shuts down analytical thinking. Because if you’re in a dangerous situation, you don’t have time to stand there and analyze your options – you need pure instinct to tell you how to fight or which direction to run. Cortisol also slows down digestion and other functions, so that all your energy can be diverted to fighting or running away.

Stress is basically a ongoing feeling of impending danger (usually emotional danger, not physical), which means cortisol is constantly pumping through your body. Based on what I said in the last paragraph, this means that your ability to think clearly is constantly impaired the whole time that you’re stressed. (Which is a little scary to think about some of the important jobs that people do when they’re stressed, right?)

Now, let me tell you this story of how quickly you can get your productive brain and body back when you take care of your stress:

I had a client who was struggling to finish her book. She’s a business coach who travels the world, mentoring top executives worldwide, with clients all over Europe and completely throughout the US. She has been coming to see me for regular massage therapy treatments for about 5 years now.

During one of our sessions, this client explained to me her exasperation over finishing her coaching book that needed to be completed about six months prior. She said she felt drained and exhausted and mentally stuck. Her usual appointment is a therapeutic massage from me, but that particular day I asked her if she would like to try a Signature Healing Massage. She would get her regular therapeutic massage that she loves, which helps her lower back from sitting at her desk all day and her sore neck from staring at her computer screen, but I would also pair it with Reiki energy healing. I have used Reiki on myself many times when I write my novels and get stuck on a scene, and I just knew it would help her, too.

After completing the session, she told me her head was buzzing with energy and she felt electric. “But calm,” she said. “Somehow peaceful in that storm of energy.” She went home and wrote chapter after chapter on her book – and when she was done, she still had energy for another big project: painting her stairway.

I love how Reiki energy healing can be paired with a massage to take the benefits to the next level. It not only releases muscle tension and calms cortisol (as I wrote about in a previous article) but also gives that mental and emotional recharge that I love so dear. And isn’t that amazing how quickly and dramatically things changed for my client with just one session?

If your old way of thinking was that you don’t have time to take a break, then maybe after reading this you’ll be ready for a new way of thinking. Stepping away from your stressors, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can actually make you more productive – if you use the time in a way that calms you down, like listening to calming music or taking some long, deep breaths.

In addition to small daily breaks, one massage per month can do wonders for how your mind and body handle stress. Who knows – maybe you’ll write a book too? LOL. Even if that’s not part of your plan, I’m sure there’s some big goal that a massage can restore your productivity for. Why not book yours now?