Is Stress Impacting Your Health?

Stress: The commonly used 6 letter word unveiled… 

We are all subjected to stress at one time or another in our lives. In today’s busy lifestyles we are probably subjected to it more than we have ever been in the past and more and more on a daily basis. Some stress is beneficial. It keeps our minds active, our blood pumping and our problem-solving skills in check.

Stress causes a fight or flight response within us, where our stress hormones are released from our adrenal glands. These hormones are known as adrenaline, epinephrine, cortisol and noradrenaline. These are released to protect us from danger, if a bear or lion might be chasing us, so to speak in cave man terms. When cortisol and adrenaline are released, the liver is prompted to release glucose from its stores to provide fuel to move rapidly and trigger the brain to kick into action and the heart to beat faster to pump blood to the muscles. This creates elevations in blood pressure.

This process is great in short bursts.

Like anything, too much of a good thing can also be harmful. Prolonged, frequent and long term stressors can send our stress hormones into overdrive, deplete output from our adrenal glands and cause havoc throughout our body. This havoc can present in the form of elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels (contributing to diabetes), and neurotransmitter depletions making it even more difficult to respond normally to stressful and emotional situations and contribute to reductions in libido and reproductive function due to the body switching off its parasympathetic systems and turning on its sympathetic nervous system. This switch also switches off digestive processes in order to focus on the task at hand, leading to symptoms of IBS, constipation, reflux and more.

It is extremely difficult to find balance in a rapidly changing and busy environment, with work, children, study, continuous moving of houses, finances, relationships and even things as small as driving a car.

It is important to take a moment each day to stop, reflect, take some deep breaths and enjoy life.

Go for a walk alone if you can, or with a partner, where you discuss the next exciting thing in your lives or take your kids to the park and play with them on the swings. Walk in fresh air along the beach, listen to some light music, read a book, do some light exercise or yoga. Anything that will allow you to just be at peach and let go of all the stressors in life even for just a moment.

Speak with a health professional on breathing or relaxing strategies that you can fit into your busy schedule.

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