Sunday, September 23, 2012
Can we ever be stress free?
Not in this life.
I always thought that my body thrived on stress. As amazing as that sounds, I really thought that I was at my best when under pressure. I had no idea what I was doing to myself.
What does happen during stressful situations?
What happens is your body goes into the "flight or fight syndrome." Your liver produces more glucose for energy for your muscles. Your body produces cortisol which suppresses the immune system. Your blood pressure rises. Adrenaline is secreted so your body is ready for action. A body full of adrenaline can do superhuman feats.
You are now "in the stress zone."
Actually, you're in survival mode.
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland. In small amounts it can heighten memory functions, lower sensitivity to pain, help maintain your internal equilibrium and give you a burst of energy. However, at its height, stress hormones are released into the body in an unprecedented rate.
When your body perceives that threat the nervous system responds by sending hormones into the body. You are on alert. Your muscles tighten, your heart beats faster, all your senses become sharper, your blood pressure rises and you breathe a little faster. It is your bodies was of protecting you.
So what if we live life in the fast lane?
Chronic stress is different than the momentary flight or fight stress. Chronic stress changes the way the body functions because we don't flip the switch that turns the flood of hormones off in our body. The heart can become more susceptible to disease from the constant flow of cortisol. Brain function can be compromised and learning and memory can also be altered. The immune system is suppressed.
If you don't switch it off your body doesn't have the opportunity to return to normal.
When the stress that you're under is greater than your body can tolerate you become more at risk for stress related disorders.
The body doesn't differentiate between physical and emotional stress. Stress is stress. When you keep yourself in stress mode it becomes harder and harder to shut off the switch. That stress I thought I thrived on? It's that Type A personality that prides itself in its ability to be super person.
Stress morphs itself into that old familiar warm and fuzzy bathrobe. It feels good to put on because its just too hard to become laid back but the price you pay for that warm and fuzzy feeling is very high. Very high. Over-achieving and perfectionist is what it is. You don't sleep right, you don't eat right and you think you're cruising through life.....
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart problems, immune problems, autoimmune problems or worse. Make no mistake. Stress can kill.
Put the effects of stress together with a central nervous system dysfunction that is found in Fibromyalgia and you have a recipe for disaster. We have to find a way to breathe through the stress. Do whatever it takes because we have to. Try yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback.....anything.....going outdoors and looking at the sky......whatever it takes to relax.
Thrive on stress?
It just makes us worse for the wear.
And it just isn't worth it.