Ok, we all get stressed at times….so whats the deal? Well, while the occasional bout of stress will have no long term effect, people that seem to get in a pattern of regular stress are really doing their bodies no favours.
So just what happens when we get stressed?
The moment we become stressed … the hypothalamus is triggered which then communicates with the pituitary gland. In turn this communicates with the adrenal glands making them produce stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. Once this has taken place the sympathetic nervous system is triggered…producing the fight or flight mechanism or the “stress response”.
As soon as we experience stress our bodies go into this mode and it can not distinguish between the real threat of danger or emotional reactions, (which most stress is). So regardless of whether your being attacked by a tiger, going through a divorce or at your wits end over work, it all triggers the same response.
So I can hear you thinking, yes…and what does it matter? Well when the sympathetic nervous system has been triggered, your internal energy system is shifted away from self repair. Mechanisms such as the inflammatory response, cellular repair and the immune system are turned off as these are not needed at the time of “fight or flight”. Blood pressure is increased, heart rate is elevated, panic attacks and anxiety can kick in, adrenaline is increased to name but a few. So when you are in a state of stress regularly your body becomes out of balance due to the response and you significantly increase your risk of many illnesses such as high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, anxiety, poor sleep, the list can go on and on.
So how do we stop it?
The easiest thing for me to tell you would be to avoid or remove yourself from the situations that are making you become stressed to start with, but then that leads on to another technique completely. Alternatively, you need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which can stop the cycle of chronic stress. One of the easiest ways to do this is through breathing exercises or simple meditation. Details of which can be found on my site http://www.formindbodyandsoul.co.uk/pages/articles/stress-busters.php
Like I said at the beginning, occasional bouts of stress are fine but when we are in a chronic cycle of stress, we need to listen to our body’s reactions and balance ourselves before illness can start to take hold.