Mike, our passionate Chiropractor, is concerned about the impact of stress on people. In this blog, Mike explores the initial symptoms relating to stress, and invites you to reflect on your own experiences relating to stress.
(Part two will follow soon.)
Recognise the 3 phases of stress, and what to do about them!
Stress is often referred to as an emotional state, or a ‘state of mind’, this is far from the truth!
Stress is the hormonal response of your body to a ‘dangerous’ environment. It is very useful when you have to defend yourself against a lion or to keep you appropriately vigilant if you are bungee jumping, but as soon as these activities are over the body should go into a recuperative phase to repair and recover!
Creative metaphors aside, stress comes in three phases, see if you can identify where you are during the majority of your day:
Stage 1: Alarm reaction
The immediate reaction to a stressor, the “flight or fight response”. The body perceives a stressor as a threat or danger and releases hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause the body to shut off all non-essential functions such as digestion, reproductive organs, immune system (how you fight disease), creativity and the ability to feel empathy. Instead it provokes anxiety, closed focus and inflammation throughout your muscle tissues and joints (to prepare for the aforementioned lion or elastic rope).
Stage 2: Resistance
This occurs after the body has responded to a stressor, and the stress level has been reduced or removed. The body’s defences become weaker, as it needs to divert energy to the damaged tissues and lower the production of stress hormones. Although you are shifting away from the stress production phase, the body remains vigilant and is prepared for danger. In this state you may feel relaxed but you also may have trouble initiating sleep, healing properly, digesting optimally and your body’s immune defences are still somewhat repressed. The longer the body has to be in this phase, the more likely you are to suffer from Stress Fatigue.
Stage 3: Exhaustion
With long-term exposure to a stressor, the body starts to lose the ability to combat the stressor and to reduce its harmful impact; your energy is drained. It leads to “burnout” or “overload,” the creation of a situation in which the individual is extremely vulnerable to health problems including illness, joint and muscle damage and organ problems (such as digestive distress, heart conditions, kidney issues etc.). This is one of the most important health issues of our time, contributing to a vast majority of health issues amongst especially western populations.
What is the solution?
Decided where you are at the moment?
Please leave any thoughts or comments via the box below.
In a future blog we will talk about the best tips and tricks to deal with stress!