“Let’s talk about stress baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about Stress!!”
We’ve all felt it, we’ve all dealt with it, we’ve all came to it, got through it and prepared ourselves for the next bought of stress that looms behind every corner.
According to the American Institute of stress, (yes there is actually an institute catered to the study of STRESS) the effects of stress go much deeper than most even realize. Some effects include; depression, heart attack, stroke, hypertension and immune system dysfunction and overall lessened quality of life. Today’s society we wake up to stress, sit in traffic on the way to work and the stress begins to grow, next is work and all the fun that comes with dealing with multiple personalities. As the day commences stress levels rise and fall just as much as hunger does.
When human beings become stressed many systems of the body suffer. Each system works in conjunction with the other to create a balance within the body. Each system of the body has its own response and its own “stress language” that allows us to either ignore what our bodies are communicating or tend to our bodies and bring them back to homeostasis. According to www.stressorg. The effects of stress are as follows! Pay attention and notice areas that you may recognize so you can make a change going forward!
The Nervous System: Upon the onset of a “stress trigger” the body immediately goes into “fight or flight” response. The body sees an oncoming threat and prepares to either RUN (flight) or get ready to defend (fight). Energy sources are shifted and the body is triggered to release the stress hormone or cortisol and adrenaline. As these hormones circulate within the body the physiological effects include increased heart rate, raising blood pressure, changes within digestion and raised glucose levels. Once the body is in a sympathetic nervous system (stressed state) the body then triggers these hormones which help direct all of the blood away from distant limbs (arms and legs) into the center core to “protect” the organs from a “stressful situation” or perceived danger.
The Muscoskeletal System: As the stress trigger continues, the body physically manifests the stress by tensing the muscles. Wherever your body holds its stress, (example; many people hold their stress in their necks and shoulders or low back etc) this becomes the first area that tenses up and can cause immediate headaches or migraines and physical pain.
The Respiratory System: Stress can impact the respiratory system in major ways. For those with respiratory concerns such as Asthma or COPD, this can be the first line of defense and manifests as shortness of breath and constricted airways. Breathing can become labored and immediate attention should be administered if it persists otherwise can potentially cause panic attacks.
The Cardiovascular System: Acute levels of stress such as running late for work or being late for an event, can cause temporary increases in heart rate as well as perspiration. Long term cardiovascular effects of ongoing stress become much more serious when dealing with the heart. Hypertension, which is the rate at which the blood flows in and out of the heart, increases which puts you at risk for heart attack or stroke. Also, increased inflammation within the heart muscle can occur. This increased stored inflammation can interrupt how the heart contracts blood in and out for distribution to the rest of the body.
The Endocrine System: this includes the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid glad and adrenal glands. Pretty much all of the glands that secrete hormones within the body. When a stress trigger is noted the brain sends a signal to the adrenal cortex (sits on top of kidneys) which produce cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for many factors in the body including blood sugar levels, regulation or metabolism, reduce inflammation and blood pressure. This “stress hormone” can have a dire effect on the body as a whole.
The Gastrointestinal System: This includes the esophagus (tube that connects the throat to the stomach) the stomach, and the small and large intestines. When under severe or acute stress we either over eat or under eat. Over eating foods that are nutrient deficient can cause acid reflux and heartburn and digestion usually slows down. The stomach can experience intense gnawing pain or nausea that can lead to vomiting which can also aid in the breakdown of the esophagus tissue lining.
Now that you have an idea of what stress can and WILL do to the body, try to focus inward the next time you feel stress. Try to understand how YOU’RE body manifests stress, where things may hurt, how your body reacts etc. In doing this you will be able to minimize the amount of stress you allow into your life. To help combat stressful situations it is very important to re connect with your breathing and staying present. Stress can literally kill, and even though there isn’t a formal diagnosis for being “overly stressed” however it is one that is the most deadly and medically unrecognized sicknesses to date. Understanding your body when it feels good is extremely important just as well as understanding it when it does not. Do not let stress steal your day today or any day for that matter!!