We've all heard about the negative effects from too much stress. But what does too much stress really mean? First we must know what stress is: it's either too much of a bad thing (toxin) or not enough of a good thing (deficiency). This can present chemically-in the form of what we eat, drink or breathe; physically-how we move or don't move; or mentally-our thoughts and attitudes. When any of these become out of balance, our body has a stress response commonly known as "fight or flight." This response was designed to change the way our body works immediately when we are faced in a life-threatening environment. If a bear attacks us, many things must be switched on instantly while other things will be switched off. This all happens from the nervous system's recognition of the environment. If we're fighting a bear, we need more strength, endurance and resilience. That means we need energy to our muscles. Here's what happens: the adrenal glands secrete corti
sol which releases sugar into the blood, at the same time, the heart rate increases to push blood faster, and adrenalin causes blood vessels to tighten increasing blood pressure. Sugar, therefore, gets to the muscles quickly for added strength and endurance. For resilience, the liver pushes cholesterol into the blood to help heal in case of an injury, and the adrenals add corticosteroids as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. The energy to do this comes at the expense of shutting down digestion, immune response, empathy, happiness and relaxation. The brain becomes hyper sensitive to look for bears (the threat). Once the threat is gone, the body bounces back towards health and balance. But what if the threat isn't a bear, but a donut? Or constant worry? Or prolonged sitting? We don't see the need to fight it and the stress never leaves. When we stay around the toxin, our stress response becomes chronic. Any of the above reactions in a chronic state will lead to a chronic illness like heart disease, diabetes, cancer,
anxiety or obesity. And medication may affect a lab number, but will likely increase the overall stress response due to the chemical imbalance. It is important to understand, the body doesn't do anything wrong-it is simply reacting appropriately to stress. By recognizing the stress, we can work to limit it or remove it completely from our environment; only then can we truly bounce back towards health and live optimally as intended.
Northwood Health Center
599 Glatt Circle
Woodburn, OR 97071