When thinking about stress, we usually think about headaches, fatigue, and common physical reactions like muscle twitches. As a group we react to the stress responses that are obvious and affect our well-being in the present tense, and rarely monitor the delayed or long term internal stress response and the impact it has on health. For instance, you get a headache and then you take an Advil. You can’t sleep at night, so you take a sleeping pill. We are creatures of reaction, rather than prevention and we get hit hard when the body eventually reaches its limits. The preventative measures are usually spoken so highly between friends and family, but we rarely change our habits to that will stop us from reverting back to form.
We want instant relief and compensation for our actions. I don’t know about you, but when I reach for an apple instead of a chocolate bar, or when I head to the gym instead of the TV room I rarely say to myself “my immune system is really gonna benefit from this today”. Albeit that this might be the internal dialogue that we need be having with ourselves, it usually reverts to ” my arms and stomach will really get toned if I keep this up!”.
This short-sighted lens on the world allows us to stay sick and ignorant of the consequences of regular stress on our internal organs. As I always like to tell people, ignorance is not bless; ignorance is just lack of knowledge. Go educate yourself today on some simple steps you can take to minimize the damages that take place internally without your awareness.
Reactions To Stress
Immediate: Warning, Warning!
- Brain : Stress protectively dulls the body’s sense of pain. Thinking and memory are sharpened for quick reactions.
- Eyes : The pupils dilate for better vision.
- Lungs : The lungs take in more oxygen.
- Liver : Sugar stored as glycogen is converted to glucose.
- Heart : The bloodstream brings extra oxygen and glucose (fuel for power). Heart rate and blood pressure rise.
- Adrenal Glands : The medulla secretes the fight or flight hormone epinephrine (adrenaline).
- Spleen : Extra red blood cells flow out, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen to muscles.
- Intestine : Digestion halts, allowing the body to dedicate energy to the muscles.
- Hair : Body hairs become erect, puffed-up hair animals look bigger and more dangerous.
Delayed: Red Alert !
- Brain : The hippocampus, a center of memory and learning, gets activated to process stressful memory.
- Immune System : Infection fighting is diminished, perhaps increasing available energy.
- Liver Fat : Stored energy is converted to usable fuel.
- Adrenal Glands: The cortex secretes cortisol, which regulates metabolism and immunity. Over time though, it can be toxic.
Chronic: Catastrophic Failure from self-neglect ! Please avoid this stage and change your life today!
- Brain : Cortisol becomes toxic to brain cells, potentially damaging cognitive ability. Fatigue, anger and depression increase.
- Immune System : Repeated suppression of disease fighting cells ultimately weakens resistance of infection.
- Intestines : Decrease in blood flow leaves mucous lining vulnerable to uclers. Irritable bowel. The gut is the “second brain”.
- Circulation : Elevated blood pressure and heart rate damage elasticity of blood vessels.
What do you think about when the word stress comes to mind?
For a good read about the plasticity of the brain after years of aggressive stress degeneration, take the time to read The Brain That Changes Itself.