Stress & Tension go together.
We go around unconsciously stressing all day long.
First of all, our body’s fight or flight response to stress was originally designed to: quickly mitigate any potential damage imposed by short term acute injury or illnesses, like from tigers.
What Triggers Stress
Most noteworthy is today instead of tigers the triggers can include physical illness, pain, emotional pressure, overwhelm and anxiety. or psychosocial problems such as poverty, job loss, death of a loved one, or ongoing abusive relationships.
As a result no matter the trigger our immune system responds by increasing the production of disease fighting white blood cells and releasing cortisol into the bloodstream. Once the threat has been resolved, your immune system was designed to return to its baseline.
The Dangers of Chronic Stress.
As a result when chronic stress occurs, the immune system never returns to baseline but stays at the higher stimulated level. Much like revving a car engine and keeping your foot on the gas, an overstimulated immune system is not sustainable and will result in problems. Let’s take a closer look at the common effects of chronic, prolonged stress on one’s overall health…
Effects of Chronic Stress to be aware of:
Fatigue: it takes a toll on your body
Sleep disturbance: without adequate sleep we are unable to function at optimal levels and the cycle continues
Depression: Feeling lonely, helpless and out of control.
Anxiety and overwhelm
Pain: Existing pains can be exasperated
Headache: Migraines and tension headaches
Ulcers: from increased stomach acid
Bowel Issues: Ranging from diarrhea to constipation
Pre-existing respiratory problems are compromised: Stress can make it harder to breath and in some people actually trigger an asthma attack.
How Stress gets Started
You think about something stressful—work, money, relationships, family, whatever’s bothering you.
As a result, your amygdala (in your mid-brain) senses danger. Your amygdala initiates your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress.
In “fight or flight mode” your body releases adrenaline and the “stress hormone” cortisol, diverts blood away from your digestive tract, leaving you less able to digest food and absorb nutrients AND more likely to gain weight.
In this physiological “crisis mode,” you’re more vulnerable to pain—from chronic illness, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, stomach upset, and more.
While in this state of heightened physiological “alert”, your brain’s creative center is deemed “non-essential” and shuts down. Down goes your problem solving, your creative skills, your intuition.
Living on alert:
You consequently feel increasingly irritable, isolated and impatient. Your relationships suffer.
Stress affects your sleep. Your metabolism slows.
Your body secretes even more cortisol, wreaking more havoc on your digestion (and waist line), increasing your blood pressure, lowering your immune response.
After releasing too much cortisol for too long, your body goes into “adrenal fatigue.” You feel depleted, exhausted, and depressed.
Furthermore you no longer have the energy to adhere to your exercise routine, your healthy eating, meditation or yoga. Migraines, insomnia, stress-related hair loss, chronic pain, and any number of other issues become regular parts of your life.
What you can do Now before it takes you down.
The first step to relaxing your body stress is to first become aware that you are tensing. We start with doing a Stress Check
Check out 7 Step Healthy Habits Creator for more information on how and when to stress check here