I know 2 people who had a heart attack and died after a phone call. In both cases the phone call related to a financial situation that was unsolvable to them at the time. This is just an example of what can happen when stress overrides a possible solution. In times of stress the hardest thing to do is to be logical as the state of panic impacts our ability to analyse properly.
From the first paragraph it should not be difficult to understand that stress is a major leading cause of disease. In a state of stress or even mild stress we enter into a state of fight and flight. Learning to pin point your stress triggers is a great start to getting on top of why you become stressed in the first place.
Is stress just a normal part of life?
Positive stress such as an athlete going into an Olympic event, tennis final or even a lawn bowls final can be beneficial to the end result, because that positive stress creates a focus and a visualisation of what is to come. All other thoughts are put aside as the nerves are only focused on the event.
If you have ever had an event or plays on your mind over and over, that when the thought pattern continues to be fed by thoughts such as; “how dare they, what right did they have, who said they were better than me, who do they think they are, I was only a child, why me” these are only an example of thoughts that grow and grow until they
totally consume every part of your thought.
Everybody has events that they wish did not happen and the individuals who learn to move on do more for their health than diet and exercise. Thoughts can be devastating and a leading cause of stress. Stress is a leading cause of disease, therefore when you think about it your thoughts can be your state of health.
Negative Stress has detrimental effects on one’s health
Ancient man stress would have been a fear of being hunted by predators.
Modern man stresses about things such as being late for that appointment or rushing to complete a job before a deadline. Gone are the days of short acute periods of stress, today are the days of long, chronic stressful episodes that are detrimental to our health.
For this we will look at the animal kingdom. When a herd of horses are startled by a predator, they will immediately enter fight and flight and start running. They will run for maybe half a mile at the maximum pace they possibly can to escape. Then they will all stop and look around and if the predator is not to be seen they will relax and go back to eating grass. Situation resolved.
A cat hunting may miss his target so does his mind run wild with? Did I jump high enough? Should I attack from the left? Am I getting too old? Am I losing my skills? Should I see a psychiatrist? Do I need more time in the gym? A cat does none of the above they simply have a big shake, forget about it and move on.
Being in an constant state of fight or flight makes it impossible for the body to function properly. When we are under stress many of our body systems naturally slow down or shut down completely. Stress can only be tolerated by the body for so long before it begins to suffer. Fight or flight was only ever intended for a short burst of use by the body but when activated and overused for extensive period of time, bodily functions (in particular our digestive and immune system) suffer greatly and therefore lead to long term detrimental health effects.
When your body is under chronic stress and has been avoiding those essential bodily functions for too long, the natural instinct of fight and flight is overriding some of your natural bodily functions.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM & STRESS
Our digestive system is very sensitive to stress and you may even notice when you enter into a state of stress you may feel heavy in your stomach or the need to eat is suppressed and you simply just don’t feel hungry? Our digestive system was designed to break down food to get nutrients to the cells and give us energy. When we are in a state of fight or flight our digestive system shuts down and our body is simply not extracting the much needed nutrients it needs from food and we end up malnourished even though we have eaten.
ARE YOU LIVING IN A STRESSED STATE WITHOUT EVEN REALISING IT?
Chronic fatigue is a high achievers award, this is the award we get when we neglect ourselves and over act our fight and flight for long period of time. It may be difficult for some to realise that they live in a state of fight and flight because it has become the ‘norm’. When you live with chronic stress for many years it will have detrimental effects on not only your health but your relationships and your sense of wellbeing.
RELAX, YOUR BODY WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT!
Stress is always going to be there at some level. You can try to avoid it but if that cannot be done then one has to find ways to deal with stressful situations.
Learn simple techniques of mindfulness and practice this to be more conscious of the ‘now’ moments. This can assist you to create calmness and help reduce your stress levels.
By practicing mindfulness while walking, talking, eating and breathing it is possible to be more conscious of the moment of now, which can help to create calmness and help reduce stress.
YOUR WORST ENEMY
Caffeine may be your worst enemy when stressed. Heightened levels of stress can be linked to adrenal fatigue. The danger here is grabbing a coffee looking for energy. However too much stimulation from caffeine can further supress the adrenals and will only weaken the body system even more.
There is no need for fight or flight to control your life, it is only a matter of taking control of what had control over you. Once you are back in control the chance of being really healthy increases in leaps and bounds.