Stress is more than just a feeling……
Given our current circumstances and the fact the lockdown has been extended, I wanted to start by checking that you are all ok. We want to make sure you are all still keeping well and using this time to be productive and stay healthy. We’re only a call away if you want any advice or support so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need us.
Last week I discussed how our bodies need to adapt to survive. (If you didn’t manage to read it, you can read it here: https://mailchi.mp/393de31a6394/stress-part-1-adapt-or-die)
Today I wanted to discuss how our inability to adapt causes a physiological response and often illness or dis-ease within the body. I often hear people saying “but I’ve never had X/Y/Z before so why am I getting it now”? My answer is usually that the body has failed to adapt further. Most of our problems start without symptom or conscious awareness of there being an issue.
Our bodies do a great job of adapting to the stresses we put it under, but these stresses (unless dealt with) build up over time until we can no longer manage them effectively and just like the straw that broke the camel’s back, its gets us to. Emotional breakdowns, back pain/sciatica, gastrointestinal issues etc. can all come about because our bodies can no longer adapt well. One of the first signs of cardiovascular disease is actually a heart attack, but the day before someone suffers a heart attack they are often unaware of what’s happening underneath. The stress and dis-ease has been building for a while and only when the body can’t cope or adapt does it rear it’s head to the surface and make itself known.
When we talk about stress, it’s important to recognise that not all stress is emotional. As I mentioned last time, there are 4 types of stressors (something that causes stress or tension) that can cause long term damage to our health.
Emotional stress is what we automatically think of when we say stress. Normally when we are stressed, our stress circuit is turned on and once the stress has passed its switched off again. Prolonged emotional stress causes the systems to be permanently on, disrupting our body’s processes and often leads to long germ health issues.
Toxic/Chemical stress from external sources is also very important to acknowledge as this cause chemical disruptions, altering healthy pathways and processes and can lead to significant stress to the body. Our modern day poor diets with far too much sugar and alcohol, not enough good fats, water, nutrients and sunlight are seriously damaging us. Diabetes is skyrocketing and for the first time in a long time, it is thought that our latest generation will live shorter lives than their parents!! Drugs/“medicines” although very important can play havoc with our bodies.
Trauma/Movement related stress. Physical traumas stay with us for a LONG time. All the little bumps and knocks we pick up along the way (learning to walk, falling off bikes, tripping over, over doing things in the garden, playing sports etc) cause our bodies to accommodate and compensate for the restriction or lack of correct mobility and can lead to increased muscle tension and faulty changes to our normal mechanics. Our muscles NEED to move. One of my favourite sayings is “use it or lose it” because if we don’t activate our muscles they degenerate very quickly. Lack of exercise and mobility is extremely damaging to us but sleep and rest are just as important. is when we recover most and as I’m sure any parent or insomniac can attest to, a lack of sleep is very damaging also. Not only do you feel rubbish, but you function poorly too. So it’s important to maintain a good balance of activity and rest (and preferably avoid braking too many bones).
Lastly Spinal mobility. Good spinal movement accounts for 90% of the nutrition to your brain, so a lack thereof is again, seriously damaging. Each one of your spinal joints and the tiny little muscles in between act like sensors, telling the brain what is happening and how well the spine is doing. When the spine becomes restricted, not only do you set off pain pathways to the brain but your brain no longer receives the important information. As a result your brain has to make “guesses” about what’s happening and how to manage things so (as you can imagine) mistakes start to happen. Again, this often happens without you even knowing, but continue to become restricted or make enough mistakes and eventually something will fail as the body can no longer adapt.
These factors are what AFFECT your system and body and a failure to adapt effectively to them causes us to move into a state of dis-ease. This is why it’s important to IMPROVE our health in multiple ways rather than just focussing on exercising or eating well. This is a great time to start to reflect on some of the topics I mentioned above and identify areas you think you might need support or change.
In Part 3 I will be talking about WHY it’s so important and how it leads to INCREASED health and longevity so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox for next email.
I hope you are all keeping well – stay healthy, stay safe and be positive.
Yours in health