How Stress Hurts Your Health
We all suffer occasionally from stress once in a while, but eventually it dissipates. When stressors attack in a prolonged manner, without a significant break, the prolonged stress buildup becomes a habit. Prolonged stress forms a sense of inner threat to the well-being of the person, and it changes gradually but negatively, the physiology of the body. A disease can form in such conditions.
Perception of Stress
Stress can hurt your health badly if it’s ongoing for long periods of times with no stop. Stress is our perception of a situation or a condition as threatening, and not necessarily the actual occurrence of the situation or condition. When the mind holds this perception for a long time, the physiology of the body wears down and enables disease conditions to set in.
The Psycho-Biological Connection
Stress system is a psycho-biological system that includes anatomical components and psychological behaviors interacting with one another. The anatomical parts contain two glands in the brain (Hypothalamus and Pituitary) and one gland on the top of each kidney (the Adrenal glands). The brain constantly scans the person’s surroundings in order to determine whether it’s safe out there or not. It gets into action when the perceived level of threat reaches a discomfort level, activating the kidneys’ parts. The threat perception can come from external surroundings or from internal thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
The Misconception of Stress
The word stress became a household term. It explains conditions in which people are overwhelmed with work, tasks, deadlines and demands. Naturally, they feel overwhelmed by the need to accomplish way too much in a limited time frame; they try to accomplish these demands worrying about possible bad consequences.
Actually, stress has nothing to do with the load of assignments and time constrains. Two people can have the same load of demands and experience stress differently. One might feel stressed out while the other one may stay relaxed.
The stress is a psychological response to internal or external threats that trigger a sense of danger to the person’s well-being. This response is subjective, and it is unique to each person.
Stress response is a normal condition when it rises temporarily and relaxes after a while. It is a part of life’s normal routine. Situations such as a fast car approaching while crossing the street or the boss calls for a talk in the office, can evoke a sense of worry or fear that might trigger short term stress (which usually fades away after a while).
Formation of Stress
Stress becomes a problem when people stress out too many times over important and petty issues. They anticipate difficulties and complications over simple issues and their bodies learn to be “on” all the time. At certain point they stress out for no reason and it becomes their state of being.
When one worry builds upon another worry, eventually they accumulate and form waves of anxiety that cannot stop.
These worries feed on each other, and can become a fast chain of thoughts and feelings. At a certain point, people can lose their ability to control this chain of worries, feeling out of control with their anxieties. They can deal with that situation in one of two ways:
Take anti-anxiety drugs
Repress the anxiety
The continual stress is about one’s ability to execute essential demands at work or at home. The worries will question the inner abilities of the person to be okay, present, and relaxed when facing these demands.
It sounds very simple. One might say to himself that he will try to avoid these worries and anxieties, hoping that as a result, they will be able to reduce the consequential stress impact.
When the flow of anxiety and worry is ever growing, at a certain point, there is no other choice but repressing them in order to be able to function. Inability to repress the flow of anxiety and worry, can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder. Then, it can inflame the body’s stress response more than before.
When the stress response keeps growing while being repressed, eventually, unfamiliar symptoms will start to erupt. The person may feel a constant sensation of unpleasant inner unrest, a constant sense of insecurity, inner hesitation, irritation, and annoyance which may lead to a “fight or flight response”.
Who coined the term stress?
The stress system was found accidentally during the forties by a Canadian physiologist, Hans Selye. Selye had started an experiment with mice; the experiment was to see how the mice would react to an injection of a chemical.
He found out that a certain natural chemical was secreted from different organs of the mice. At the beginning, he was sure he found a new hormone which the mice’s bodies would release as a reaction to his injection. When all organs secreted this substance at the same manner, he realized that his “new hormone” was actually stress hormones (ones which had already been discovered).
However, he was intrigued to find that each organ in the mouse had the same response to the unknown substance; each organ released stress hormones because the body sensed danger. He did not discover a new hormone, but he did name a system that describes the body’s stress reactions and he called it “The General Adaptation System”.
He described the 3 stage process:
Stage 1: Alarm – encountering a stressor
Stage 2: Resistance – physiological responses to deal with the stressor
Stage 3: Exhaustion – when resistance doesn’t help the body succumb to disease or death
He coined the word stress to describe the way the body responds to changes in its normal state of being. He coined the term stressor to describe anything which is perceived as a challenge or threat to the body.
He called this system “the stress system” and termed it with the name HPA Axis (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Adrenal).
Can you treat your stress successfully without drugs?
First, there is a need to determine few points in regard to your stress:
Do you feel constantly stressed out without a break?
How long have you felt stressed out, hours, days, weeks, much longer?
Is your stress manifests itself through your thoughts, feelings, behavior?
Do you suffer from prolonged physical symptoms that your doctor cannot help you resolve?
Do you suffer from conditions like Allergies, Migraines, Nervous Tics, Digestive issues, Respiratory issues like Asthma, Skin Disorders?
If you feel that most of the above questions are relevant to your condition, you might need help.
You need to assess how stressful is your reality? Are you worried about your finances, health, relationship or other issues? You might be surprised to find out that you are stressed out most of the time even though your reality is ok.
When you feel stressed but cannot identify reasons in the external world, it might mean that the source of your prolonged stress might be coming from your inner world. Time passing by will not heal the stress; it will not disappear on its own unless you treat it.
Many people do not really feel stressed out but can be bothered by prolonged physical symptoms which their doctors cannot help them resolving. These are classic signs that prolonged stress is the culprit.
The reasons for prolonged inner stress stem in majority of cases from traumatic, painful past memories. The person might not remembering these events but the body has a profound memory of everything that happened to the person from the moment of conception through pregnancy, delivery, growing up in a family and continuously through life.
A prolonged stress is combined of traumatic memories embedded into the body. In order to gain access to these memories we need direct biofeedback from the muscular system. This technique is known as a “Muscle Test” and it helps the practitioner get the needed information.
Once this information is retrieved, the practitioner applies a needed therapeutic modality in order to neutralize the energy charge of the old trauma. Simultaneously, the treatment clears up the traumatic impact on the body and consequently reduces the load of the perceived stress from the body’s memory.
The therapeutic process is called IPEC Therapy, with which we deal with complex of additional psychosomatic disorders.
If you suffer from stress, we can help.
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