This is Why Stress Relief is Even More Important Than you Think
We all know the signs of feeling stressed.
Our heart races, we can’t think straight, we feel tightly wound & on edge, some people feel like they are on the brink of tears while the next person may just want to punch a wall. The tingles shoot down our fingers & toes when we are cut off in traffic, our heart skips a beat when we get our electricity bill or you feel like running away to the mountains & hiding in a cave because your boss has called you into their office for your yearly review.
You just need a break!
The Harmful Effects of Stress
How Stress Manifests Itself
All of these signs are the physical manifestations of hormones like cortisol & adrenaline coursing through your body, getting you ready to fight or flee. These are our primal instincts priming us to fight off that bear or run away from it, to protect our clan or run away. While we can’t run away from, or fight our boss, our bills or our responsibilities we still have that innate, primal response to these things that we see threatening our safety & our survival.
My partner tends to have a stressful job as a draftsmen. He is responsible for ensuring that people get their homes safely put together. If he makes a mistake not only could it cost the company he works for thousands of dollars but it could also jeopardise the safety of the people who will buy & live in that house.
He “manages” his stress well, is rarely sick & eats well because, let’s face it, if you live with a naturopath there is no other way to eat.
The other day he said to me, “Katie my eye has been twitching all day & it’s really starting to bug me why is it doing that?”. The first thing I asked was "are you stressed.?"
As he was laying on the couch, enjoying some downtime & a movie he asked, “what, now?” Because of course in this second he wasn’t stressed, he wasn’t worried, he wasn’t frustrated, he wasn’t anxious, he was just “chillin on the couch”.
Stress Hiding in Plain Sight
That’s the thing with stress, it is in our life to protect us from danger & it’s not the stress that is the problem so much as the post stress clean up of metabolic waste from us burning up our nutritional stores, switching on our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), turning off our parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) & having these hormones coursing through our body to quickly fire off protective mechanisms in case the “threat gets real!”
That does the damage. So even when you think you have everything under control & you’re managing your stress there is this underlying fluctuation of chemicals coursing through your meat suit setting up the perfect storm for that one trigger, that one moment, that one straw that broke the camels back to send your life & your health spiralling out of control.
“Genetic predisposition + inflammation + stress = disease”
Stress is a stimulus that triggers an adaptational process.
For example, exercise is an environmental stress on your body that triggers adaptation. If you have the right nutrition, your tissues are functioning healthily & you’re genetically predisposed to thrive in that environment you will adapt to the exercise (stress) so that you are fitter, healthier, stronger & it has an overall positive effect on your body.
If you are lacking nutritionally, your body is already carrying a large burden of waste products & genetically you are predisposed to a certain disease, the very stress that has the potential to heal you & build you up has the same potential to trigger a certain disease pathway & wear you down. The new discoveries into understanding our genome & our genetic predispositions is an exciting way to step into our future but at the root cause for most of us it is a stress whether that be nutritional, environmental or pathogenic that is required to switch it on & express itself as a disease process.
This is empowering to us & our ability to heal our bodies & prevent chronic disease & illness.
Taking Our Health Into Our Own Hands
We can take our health into our own hands by building our bodies up, building our resilience to stress, reducing exposure to stress in our environment & taking control of what stressors we allow into our lives. We aren’t totally at the mercy of our genes & even if our genes switch on & express themselves we have the potential to slow the progression of disease through diet & lifestyle, reducing inflammation & understanding our bodies & what they need to thrive.
Every one is an individual & each body has individual needs. Do you know what your body needs to thrive in your environment?
Learning to Recognise & Manage Stress
Your take home message? Know how stress is showing up in your body & your life. Investigate best practices to clean up the post stress mess, because stress is unavoidable FULL STOP!! Pay attention to self care & stress mediation practices like yoga, meditation & journaling.
Be a student to life & listen to what your body & your environment is telling you.
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About The Author - Katie Boniface
Hi, my name is Katie & I am a qualified naturopath.
I work with your body, food & herbs to help your body attain & maintain its peak expression of health. I can help you understand your body. Symptoms to me are your body communicating what it needs to thrive. Covering that up with pharmaceuticals (while important in some cases) doesn’t address the underlying factor that something is missing in your body & the chemistry of your meat suit.
I am here to tell you that you have the potential to optimise your bodies functionality with food, nutrition & herbs.