How Stress Relates to Health
Optimal health requires looking at the body as a system. To properly support this system, nutrition and exercise are crucial components, but so is something else – the body electric. Everything we do is controlled and enabled by electric signals running through our body. Essentially this is the body’s pathways of communication.
Imagine a work environment where each individual has a specific task to perform with communication being foundational to an efficient and optimal outcome, but somewhere along the line a breakdown in communication occurs. The task to be performed and carried out would continue for a while, with increasing difficulty and less ease until intervention is unavoidable. The human body is no different.
The body is designed to repair and heal itself, but stress patterns can cause a disruption in communication and hamper its ability to do so. Stress is typically thought of as being emotional or mental, but there are many other forms that the body perceives as stressors as well. Some examples include: environmental toxins, illness, injuries, unhealthy lifestyle patterns, and even simply the hustle and bustle of our modern society, filled with its endless technology and stimuli. Virtually anything that places a burden on the body can place it under a state of stress.
What does stress do?
Our bodies are designed to go into what is called fight or flight mode when confronted with a threat. A threat can be perceived or real; the body’s reaction is the same for either scenario. During this process the body rapidly mobilizes a large amount of energy and diverts it to systems necessary for survival, leaving other systems with less than optimal energy. When stress remains chronic it causes the body to remain in fight or flight mode.
Over time, the body transitions from a state of alarm to a state of adaptation, and eventually a state of exhaustion.
Chronic stress is a known precursor for a vast array of health ailments, such as anxiety, lowered immune function, and impaired digestion; while stress reduction has been shown to have positive effects on both emotional and physiological well-being.