- Dr. Liz Homan
How Stress Effects Our Body
Who has been feeling stressed lately? Well do you know the true effects of stress on your body? I am here to let you know that you being stressed is not doing your body any favor in staying healthy! I do not want to make your life “more stressful” by telling you not to stress… I mean I cannot stand when people tell me that… but I am here to inform you on the short and long term effects of stress on your body. I will then share with you a few simple things that you can implement today to help reduce your stress and improve your health!
Okay, so when you are presented with a stressful situation or a perceived threat, your hypothalamus (tiny region at the base of your brain), sets off an alarm in your body. This alarm acts as a signal for your nervous and hormonal systems to make changes. The adrenal glands (on top of your kidneys) release adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline acts by increasing your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts your energy supply- which is what is needed when you are in a fight or flight situation.
Cortisol increases the amount of glucose in your blood stream which enhances brain function and tissue repair. It also decreases functions of nonessential systems in the body including immune system, digestive system, reproductive system and growth processes. It also talks with the brain to control mood, motivation and fear.
As long as the stressful situation is short lived, this is a great response and what the body needs to do. Once the threat is over, hormone levels return to normal BUT, when the stressor remains present, your adrenaline and cortisol levels remain elevated. This disrupts almost ALL your body’s systems and can put you at increased risk of many health conditions. Some of these include:
· Sleep interference
· Gastrointestinal upset
· High blood pressure
· Decreased immune response
· Muscle tension resulting in increased headaches, aches and pains
Okay, so we are all under a little more stress now than what we typically are with COVID-19 and for some of us, that stress level is not decreasing throughout the week. So, what can we do to help bring our body out of the long-term stress response and get us back to baseline function?
BREATHE! – breathing moves clean air into your body and waste out! As you breathe, focus on breathing in life and love!
Eat a clean diet – what you put in is what your get out!
MOVE – motion is life so take time daily to move your body with some sort of exercise!
Gain control of what you can- with the knowing that you may have to be a little flexible. Set up a schedule for the day- include time to yourself EACH DAY! Organize meal plans as much as possible. Keep your house lively with music and happiness!
SLEEP! – the time when our body heals, so when you are stress, you need to make sure to let your mind quite so that you can get adequate rest.
STAY CONNECTED! – we are all in this together! We can relate to what you are going through in some shape or form, so if you are in need of more connections, please let me know! We can have a nice phone chat, or you can join our private Facebook Group, Raising Healthy Families! Let me know if you want the link!
Positive Self-Talk! Putting yourself down will not help you get out of a stressful situation and will honesty only make things worse. But, as I said before, I HATE when people tell me not to stress… So, instead of telling you not to stress. I am giving you a tool to improve how you talk to yourself. You can sign up to receive affirmations that were designed for the overwhelmed mom by clicking here: bit.ly/Affirmations4Mom
CHIROPRACTIC- When you do not feel well, doesn’t everything else seem to go wrong as well? Well, when you body aches and you are sore from doing different activities with your kids or not having your workstation set up properly, chiropractic care can be a huge asset in relieving your stress.
Okay, so now you know the why behind not being stressed. To me, knowing the reason behind it helps make it more achievable. I know that there is a lot going on, but use the tools that I have provided to help alleviate stress and get you out of the chronic stress point! If you have to take deep breaths 20 times a day to help lower your stress, DO IT! You will not regret it!
As always, stay well!