We hear so much about stress these days that it really gets to sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown: “Waaa, Waaa, Waaa” But the effects of stress are really so detrimental to our bodies that I think if we truly understood the effects of stress and the 3 different types, it would be more of a priority for us to change.
Most of us understand the screaming kids, bumper to bumper traffic, blue screen of death on my computer stress because we experience it on a daily basis. But there are really 3 different types of stress:
1. Emotional / Mental Stress
This is the one we’re the most familiar with. In our western, Americanized culture, this is the norm, more than the exception and it’s slowly killing us, we just don’t realize it. The problem with this stress is it involves not only our own control of our own thoughts, but it involves the way we let people around us talk to us. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between something you say to yourself or something someone else says to you.
2. Physical Stress
This one is easier to see the impact of because IT HURTS!! Injuries, whether big or small creates stress on the body and causes the body to have to adapt to it. But physical stress isn’t just the occasional car accident or trip and fall. It can be repetitive minor stresses like postural changes during pregnancy, studying in less than optimal positions, or even a bad pillow you sleep on at night. Or it can be a lack of good activity to keep the joint fluid built up and the muscles balanced and in tone.
3. Chemical Stress
So is this pollution and pesticides? In part, but not totally. Chemical stress involves both the things we take into our bodies that negatively effect our health like the things we eat and the air we breathe, but it also involves what we don’t take into our bodies that we really do need for optimal function.
Your body has a very intricate organ/hormone system devoted to recognizing and assisting you in handling stressful situations. It is designed to cushion your body from the effects of daily stress, but it isn’t designed to do this over a consistent, long-term basis. If pushed too far, this system begins to break down and sickness or illness is the result.
Stress begins to cause an imbalance in the nervous system by firing the right side of your brain more than the left. The right side of the brain is the creative, big picture, artistic, anxiety side of the brain. Allowing your body to entertain stress for too long creates a major imbalance in this system and you create an extreme amount of right brain activity. The effects of long term stress on your body include:
Increased Cortisol release (stress hormone produced by adrenal glands, responsible for heart conditions, weight gain and many other conditions)
Increased Blood Pressure (the vessels in your body constrict and cause more resistance for the blood exiting the heart, causing a spike in blood pressure.)
Decreased short-term memory (and we label our kids with ADHD because of this?!)
Decreased Sex Drive (sex is the last thing on your brain’s agenda when you are stressed out and trying to survive).
Decreased Immune system function (as the cortisol rises, immunity goes down)
Increased Heart Rate (your body thinks something is drastically wrong when you are in stress mode, so the receptors in your heart fire and cause an increase in the rate of your heart beat)
Sleep Disturbances (how many people can’t go to sleep at night or wake up after awhile because “they can’t turn their brain off”, this is directly related to your stress levels effecting your neurology)
Blood Sugar Problems (stress effects your Adrenal Glands which are responsible for releasing simple sugars in your body to help you with energy during a stressful, intense situation. But over long periods of time, it creates insulin problems and can cause issues with hypoglycemia and Type 2 Diabetes)
Weight Gain (Adrenal Stress fires cortisol which creates what experts call “Bipedal Obesity” which is weight gain around the hips and thighs)
Depression and decrease in mood and mental function.
The list really could go on and on and on. The reason? See my post on “The Cause of All Disease” and you can see why everything that happens in the body is about either Toxicity or Deficiency.
The good news?? IT CAN ALL BE FIXED!! Within reason of course, if you change things and assist your body early enough, your body is an amazing creation that has the ability to heal itself and it will reverse the symptoms and the damage of stress. We’ll get to that. First though, lets talk about the 3 different types of stress.
So what are your biggest stressors that you don’t feel like you can change??