Wellness Retreat New Life Portugal Uncovers ‘Ghost Conditions’ Affecting UK

A new study conducted by New Life Portugal, a revolutionary wellness retreat, has revealed that British people are risking their health by living with ‘ghost conditions’, with over 95% suffering invisible, undiagnosed indicators of disease brought on by stress, anxiety and burnout.

Possible symptoms include tiredness, headaches, sleep problems, indigestion and blurred vision. However, instead of finding a solution to growing stress levels, the nation is increasing its stress threshold and compounding their health concerns.

80% of participants admitted that stressors associated with rising costs and bills have contributed to their declining health and worsening symptoms in the past three years, whilst 41% also put it down to a quickening pace of life. Other key drivers of stress and anxiety were shown to be parenting (24%), workload (40%) and the difficulties associated with hybrid working (14%).

Sixty-three percent of people didn't realise symptoms such as tiredness and insomnia are directly linked to stress. Which may explain why 53% of the nation ignore these symptoms, with over 80% failing to contact their GP to resolve their issues.

Dr Akila Shakir, NHS Doctor and Oxford graduate says:

"It is well evidenced that stress has significant effects on our neuroendocrine circuits, consequently causing dysregulation of every system in our body. Given the increasing challenges of modern life, these symptoms, such as headaches, insomnia, fatigue and anxiety, are increasingly going unrecognised and unmanaged…While these challenges can be seen all year round, the holidays can be undeniably stressful, so making sure we have ways to recognise and manage that stress should be at the top of our lists this Christmas."

The 'ghost conditions' vary amongst the different generations. 65% of 45- to 55-year-olds experienced suffering with headaches. 40% of under 24-year-olds experienced issues with their sleep due to everyday stressors.

The insight showed men were more likely to take days off work for health concerns than women, with 32% compared to a smaller 26%. Additionally, only 10% of people aged 55 and overtook time off, compared to nearly half (41%) of 25 to 34-year-olds.

'Pina Colada holidays' still seem to be the nation's leading solution; however this doesn't seem to be solving the problem. According to 47% of people, stress relief from holidays usually only lasts a few days upon return, with us quickly dropping back into our strenuous everyday routines.

Maria Joao Cunhal, Psychologist at Wellness Retreat and Mindfulness Centre, New Life Portugal highlights why Ghost Conditions are on the rise in the UK:

"Life has become more stressful but what is most concerning is that many of those suffering have a 'keep calm and carry on' attitude synonymous with British culture. Since the pandemic, stress levels have not only risen but so has our ability to 'deal' with those symptoms. It has become normal to battle through and show true British grit, but that can be detrimental to our long-term mental health".

Maria shares her expertise to lower stress and thus the 'ghost condition' symptoms:

  • Hum. Humming is a simple and effective way to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system response (opposite to your fight or flight or stress response). It doesn't have to be loud, it can be a soft hum on your exhale breath or humming along quietly to your favourite song. To be scientific, the vibration in the throat when you hum quickly stimulates your vagus nerve to promote calm and centeredness.
  • Practice Box Breath. This breathing practice regulates the nervous system, making it a great tool for overwhelm and focus. The technique: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds. Do for 2-5 minutes.
  • Chest stretch. This helps you to correct the bad posture that comes from sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. It can also boost lung capacity for deeper breathing, forcing more oxygen to both the brain and the body. The technique: Place your hands behind your back. Interlace the fingers, straighten the arms, and lift the arms up. Lift the chest up and tilt the head back. Breathe in through the nose and out from the mouth.
  • Connect with others and nature. An embrace with a loved one, scenic walk in the countryside or becoming involved in your local community help to connect you with the present moment and remind you of what's important. Not only does this connection make you feel better emotionally, but scientific studies have also shown that connection contributes to your physical wellbeing too.

The New Life retreat is curated by a leading psychologist and home to the industry's best gurus specialising in relationships, anxiety, burnout, depression, life-coaching and more. It is also the first destination to offer proven practices alongside the perfect blend of relaxation. Set in the scenic Portuguese mountains on a UNESCO world heritage site, guests benefit from leading holistic treatments such as yoga, reiki, mediation, and massage.


You can find out more about New Life Portugal and discover their revolutionary programs here.


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