Is Stress Killing You?
Are you stressed? More importantly, is your stress making you susceptible to heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, low libido, aches and fatigue?
What is stress? On the surface it is something that challenges you physically, chemically, emotionally or on a ‘life’ level. Physically it may be something like an injury or repetitive high-level exercise. Chemically it may be recurrent ear infections or pesticide consumption in your food. Emotionally you might be struggling with a relationship, or on a ‘life’ level you may be feeling lost in regard to career direction or how to get your family ahead financially.
Each of these stresses alone may be manageable. You are actually designed to be able to cope with them one at a time. It is the constant, unrelenting pressure that you put yourself under all day, every day that you are not designed to withstand.
When a sudden, acute stress arises, adrenalin is released into your bloodstream. Very quickly your:
· heart rate rises
· blood pressure increases
· digestion slows
· muscles fill with blood ready to contract
· sugar is released into the blood stream to provide instant energy
This stress response was designed to help us escape from a predator, or hunt our food. It was a normal and good response to a sudden stress.
Problems arise in our modern lifestyle when there is no break between these stresses. A poor diet, long working hours, constant worry about things you are yet to even do and lack of exercise is a pretty typical day for many. Your body then becomes on constant alert, working to simply survive. Now the adrenalin kick becomes permanent since all energy sources are focused on survival. Now your health picture slowly changes to:
· high resting heart rate
· sluggish digestion, constipation, bloating
· unexplained muscle tension
· blood sugar imbalances and diabetes
· eventual relentless fatigue
· low libido and diminished reproductive function (PMS, menopause, andropause and fertility issues)
In summary, stress is not meant to be constant. Stress can lead to chronic disease and, more importantly, general unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.