Stress an Underlying Problem
Stress may very well be the root cause of your, and many people’s problems, whether you recognize it or not. You may be “under too much stress” and not handling it well, while others may be under the same amount but seem to be coping well. Or the reverse could be true. Either way, how can some withstand more stress than others? Let’s try to answer this question and some others such as, what exactly is stress and is stress always a bad thing?
All Stress is Accumulative
When you hear the word stress you may think of stress as inherently bad, but this isn’t always true. Just as bones and muscles need physical exercise (a stressor) to stay strong, we need other types of stress, in certain amounts, to stay healthy. To determine which types of stresses are good and how much of them we need we need to know what stress does to our body. Stress is perceived or interpreted by the key control systems of the body – limbic/emotional, hormonal, visceral, nervous, musculoskeletal, and other subsystems. Important to understand that all stressors, even though I’m going to break them apart, are funneled together and processed by the nervous system to create an overall stress burden on the body.
External & Internal Stressors
There are two main types of stress external and internal. External stressors are things that stress the body from the outside, such as sunlight, physical pain (injury or other external forces), emotional trauma and toxic chemical exposure. Internal stressors arise from within the body and are most often the reaction to external stressors. For example, if you’re repeatedly exposed to toxic chemicals, cancer or other diseases may develop. Even if the toxic chemicals (external stressor) are removed, cancer (internal stressor) will continue to stress the body systems. like to break stressors down into six major categories, each of which can have positive and negative effects. Below are the first 3 major categories that stress is broken down into.
Physical stress in the form of movement or exercise is very beneficial. The actual stressor in this situation is gravity, which loads our muscles and bones under its influence. Adequate movement and exercise also helps us to maintain an optimal metabolic rate (the rate that all physical and chemical processes take place within the body), keeping us from becoming overweight. Considering that less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day1 and only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.2
Over-exercising can be just as bad as not exercising enough. This primarily because over-exercising can over stress the immune system, which will cause immune system suppression.3 Leading to an increased incidence of upper respiratory infection, chronic fatigue, and a multitude of other maladies. Another form of adverse physical stress is poor posture resulting from over-exercising, especially with improper form. Posture has significant influence on breathing, muscle function, joint health, circulation, and internal organ support.4 When the body structure is out of balance, the rest of system follows.
Our bodies are full of naturally produced chemicals that are essential for health. The work that goes into producing these key chemicals is a necessary stress for the body. Take exercise as one example, when out bodily systems are working correctly, exercise results in chemical adaptations in the form of hormonal changes that alter your biochemistry to increase protein synthesis, energy production and a myriad of other chemical reactions. Another example is sunlight, the action of sunlight on the skin results in production of vitamin D and the regulation of hormones melatonin and cortisol (both chemical reactions).
Today we are bombarded everyday with thousands upon thousands of chemicals that were not around one hundred years ago.5 Most of these chemicals are synthetic, and our bodies are not adequately equipped with the mechanisms to neutralize them. Synthetically manufactured medical drugs, including aspirin, are among the most common forms of unfavorable chemical stress.
One of the most powerful forms of good electromagnetic stress is sunlight. As without sunlight we wouldn’t be alive. Another source of electromagnetic stress is the earths electromagnetic field. This invisible field aids the sun in controlling the rhythm of our hormones and other physiological functions.6
Sunlight can also be a form of bad electromagnetic stress. This is due to over exposure to sunlight, resulting in sunburn. Most are already aware that overexposure to radiation such as experienced during medical x-rays can also be harmful to health. But often overlooked is the extremely low frequency (ELF) pollution emitted by electronic devices such as computers, cellphones, microwaves, TVs, and even electric blankets. Overexposure to these forms of stress are insidious, causing dysfunction in your hormonal and autonomic nervous system.7
Quote of the week
“Sooner or later your health is going to be your #1 concern”
- Paul Chek