Let's Talk About Stress
Stress is a part of every person’s story.We’ve been designed to deal with stress, but not to live within stress indefinitely. Mayo Clinic says is well:
When you encounter a perceived threat — such as a large dog barking at you during your morning walk — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at your brain's base, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear.Our response to stress is vital for survival, even in our culture today. We need to be able to get out of the way of a car coming at us or respond quickly when our child is in danger. To live in stress continually, though, can be detrimental to long term health. Visualize, for a second, being in a “fight or flight mode” all of the time. You’re on your toes, hands up ready for the attack, you’re hopping back and forth from foot to foot, looking around, trying to hear every sound to see if it will give you a clue… it’s exhausting! We can’t live like that! And yet, that is what the body is living through, around the clock in our culture. Whether it’s by constant sugar intake, continually being bombarded with communication of all different kinds, or the ever growing demands on us financially, socially, or mentally, our bodies are under stresses that are at new levels in human history. Yes, we have a lot easier than our ancestors, but life is certainly more complex than it used to be.