People from all walks of life suffer from stress. It is an equalizer, a common point in human existence. Some people work in high-stress environments. Others suffer stress because of their family situation or a plethora of other environmental factors. Stress is familiar. It is not uncommon for someone to wave away concerns about their health or well-being with the explanation: “I’m stressed.”
Stress is a physiological and mental reaction to pressure or change. It can be a result of any kind of stressor, internal or external. Stressors come in a variety of forms and are subjective from person to person—what causes stress for one person does not necessarily cause stress for another.
When we begin to feel stressed, a distress signal goes off in amygdala portion of the brain. This is the part of our brain that processes emotions. In turn, the amygdala sends a signal to the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls the nervous system.
This process sends our bodies into the fight or flight response. Our heartbeat accelerates, our brain receives more oxygen, and all our senses are heightened. This response is a good thing. Stress itself isn’t always bad. In the moment, it can help us problem solve and be more productive.
Responses to short-term stress include the fight or flight response, stomachache, headache, fatigue, irritability, and problems sleeping and concentrating. If a body is exposed to stress for a long time, it will exhibit more serious physical symptoms like heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, depression, or fertility issues.
Stress can be a great tool if it is managed. It is one of the amazing ways our body responds to and solves a problem. However, if our lives become overly stressful and we constantly feel overwhelmed, it is time to begin looking for solutions. Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s post on managing stress with the Emotion Code and the Body Code!
As always, if you have any questions, contact me!