So what is the stress response. What is it for and how does it impact on our current health?
The stress response is the mechanism by which the body changes its physiology (our normal functigons) in response to a challenge, be it chemical, physical or emotional.
But why would the body have to change? Let me give you an example.
Say you were wandering around Bodmin Moor and the beast appeared and started to chase you. Certain changes would have to occur to improve your chances of survival. Such as:
Increase in general muscle tone.
Diversion of blood to the muscles, heart, lungs and brain.
Increase awareness (hearing and sight).
Mobilisation of energy stores.
Change in cognitive function (how you think).
Immune system weakened.
Blood flow to digestive system reduced.
Release of cortisol and adrenaline
This is your fight or flight response.
All of these changes are meant to be temporary. The body should then go back to its normal state after the threat has passed.
Relaxed muscle tone
Normal digestive system activity
Strong immune function
Storage of energy
Normal cognitive state
But as we have the ability to think we now have a problem.
As the nervous system coordinates the body’s response to stress we can get locked into a constant cycle of stress by worrying. We can be worried about what happened yesterday, what is happening now and what may happen tomorrow. Our body is now locked into the fight and flight response state.
This is one of the reasons we can start to develop chronic health problems. The body is not designed to be in a constant state of stress. It needs time when it can heal repair. Essentially it burns out!
So the question begs itself why?! Why are we like this? What can we do to change.
Some of the reasons why are to do with our culture. Making ends meet, the pressures of work, needing two incomes to make the books balance…..
Some of it comes from diet. The advent of processed pre packaged food, the additives, colourings and flavourings put in our food for our perceived benefit or to reduce cost of production. There are suspicions about GMO food and worries about the chemicals we spray on our crops and inject into our animals o consider as well. There are also toxins in our environment that get into the water and food that may be poising us.
The there is also physical stress. Poor posture, lack of exercise (too much exercise!), obesity, injuries.
So what can we do to help ourselves?
In order to reduce the stress in your life try to make small changes.
With diet, add more fresh fruit into your diet. Drink more water. Reduce processed pre packaged food. Eat organic when you can. Reduce the amount of meat that you eat and cut back on refined sugars and wheat.
Exercise. A 10-15 minute brisk walk once a day can help to improve fitness, reduce muscle tone and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Improve your working posture and move regularly.
And lastly if the nervous system is what controls your stress response and it is out of balance that could be contributing to your reduced health. Why not get checked today to see if there is interference in yours?