Why and how did stress become your worst enemy?

Do you know how much pressure we put on our self in the society of today?

Initially, stress is supposed to be a survival instinct, it is to be and to have a short term action: to run away or to fight for your life. Stress is a good thing: it makes you stronger, faster, quicker in thinking and sharper in decision making, it inhibits pain and shuts down every other systems in your body that could get in the way of your performance. Thanks to complicated physiological mechanisms, involving hormones such as adrenalin, stress is here to save your life, eg: running away from a lion.

This is the normal, short term, acute kind of stress.

In today’s world, stress has become the new normal (and especially in a big city like London). And what a mess it is making out of us. We always ‘need to’ be more efficient, faster, stronger, younger, smarter, thougher.. it is never good enough, there is no time for holidays or lunch break otherwise your ‘life is over’ as someone is ready to replace you. Sounds familiar to anyone?

As the worldly renowned neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky says: ‘We’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEcdGK4DQSg

So how do you get to chronic stress, and what are the effects on your health?

Hormones are here to regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress.

When you are stressed all the time, once your adrenal glands ran out of resources, they get tired, your body and different systems start to collapse, as you are running out of resources to meet your general demands and needs. This can start with feeling tired more often than usual (phase 1), then not recovering from a small cold (phase 2 and 3), which can then spreads and turns into a more severe infection (eg pneumonia, meningitis), eventually leaving your life in danger (phase 4).

Your body will keep trying to find other ways to keep up (maintaining homeostasis), messing around with your general metabolism, neuroaxis and other systems; until you have a general melt down (phase 4).
beautiful illustration on Pinerest here

Stage 1: Adrenal Stress
difficulty getting the energy you need, general irritability and impatience, difficulty digesting and sleeping

Stage 2: Adaption
your body learned to shut down the previous symptoms in order to support you. and that is not good on the long term

Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion
chronic fatigue, (tired all the time), recurrent infections and colds

Stage 4: Physical Burnout
immune system crashing: risk of depression, severe infections (pneumonia, meningitis), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fibromyalgia.

12 signs you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue:

  1. Feeling tired all the time, difficulty getting out of bed even after 12 hours sleep
  2. Having burst of energy late in the evening
  3. Suffering from regular infection or cold viruses
  4. Difficulty digesting
  5. Difficulty losing weight
  6. Feeling of overwhelming and inability to achieve everything you aimed for
  7. Circulation problem
  8. Skin break outs
  9. Head aches
  10. Cravings
  11. Insomnia
  12. New or worsened allergies

How can we get less stress in our life?

  • Have fun and make sure you enjoy every day of your life
  • Meditate and use mindfulness to be in the present
  • Be more self-compassionate
  • Exercise to spend your energy, build stamina and boost your metabolism
  • Eat healthly, avoiding nibbling
  • Keep hydrated
  • Be closer to your loved ones
  • and so much more (cf picture from pinterest)

And always remind yourself: ‘Stress is what you make of it’,
Anyone up for some changes? 😉

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  George Berkeley, 1883

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