Stress is the physical response to anything the body-mind considers to be a threat to our internal harmony.
These stressors or triggers can be anything real or imagined that disrupts the normal balance.
It occurs when our perceptions of events donít meet our expectations and we don't manage our reactions, and usually expresses as resistance, tension, strain, or frustration which throws off our physical and psychological equilibrium.
The body's stress response (fight or flight) involves more that fourteen hundred known physical and chemical reactions and over thirty different hormones and neurotransmitters.
When we experience stress, the body reacts by releasing the hormone adrenaline into the bloodstream which elevates heart rate and blood pressure, speeds up breathing, and shunts blood to the muscles and away from the neo-cortex (thinking brain) and into the brainstem (primitive reactive brain), shuts down digestion and the immune system, preparing us to either run or fight for our lives.
This system is designed for short-term acute stress response. After the danger has passed, the physiology returns to "normal."
Unfortunately, most of us today are experiencing chronic long-term stress.
Cortisol has become known as the stress hormone because if its extensive role in the bodyís response to stress. In balanced amounts cortisol is essential for health. When we are under chronic stress the body produces high levels of cortisol over long periods, which sears the body like acid.
Chronically elevated levels of cortisol:
There are many ways to reduce stress in our lives. These include:
A. Make dietary changes that reduce dietary stress: Americans consume poor-quality food that has been:
Food is chemical information that talks to our bodies and tells it what to do every moment. The truth is that the food we eat is so foreign to our bodies and so toxic that it creates a physiological stress response in the body: our cells don't recognize these foods and activate a stress response
B. Identify and reduce the external causes of stress:
C. Practice active relaxation.
D. Exercise: exercise erases the effects of chronic stress!
E. Get plenty of rest: Americans are chronically sleep-deprived!
Yes, it isnít the events or triggers that cause stress; it's how we perceive those events. It involves our attitudes towards what is happening, our beliefs about what "should" or should not be happening, and the thoughts and feelings we generate about any given situation that may result in anger, frustration, resentment, worry and disappointment, all negative emotions that contribute to a state of chronic stress.
Aside from the dietary and environmental stressors which we generally are unaware of, stress itself can be defined as anything you PERCEIVE as dangerous -- whether real or imagined -- that is a threat to the body or ego. Your interpretation of events -- in other words, your thoughts -- are what determine whether you experience calm, happy life or stressed-out unhappy life.
Thoughts are things and they have a direct impact on your biology: the stress response is automatic and is a biological response to perceived danger.
Once we realize that it is not really external events that cause stress, but how we perceive those events, we can change our response -- or how we think about the event -- to reduce and eliminate the stress reaction in the body. We can control it!
We are beginning to recognize and explore the mind-body connection: every cell of our bodies communicates with every other cell through a vast array of chemical messengers.
Candice Pert*2 says: every thought you think sends a cascade of chemicals to every cell of the body. We are a chemical soup. Our thoughts are directly responsible for the chemical messengers that precipitate the physiological stress response.
Begin by noticing your thoughts and especially the ANTS = Automatic Negative Thoughts: that tape that plays in the back of the mind all day long: the negative self talk.
And begin to actively change the way you talk to yourself.
Want to learn more? Call 206-384-7081 to learn ways to reduce stress levels in your life and permanently change your response to external stressors.
2 Pert, Candace, Molecules of Emotion