Is Your High Stress Life Making You Sick? Learn How to Prevent Fatigue in this High Stress World.

There’s a common thread to our news cycles that has been more evident than usual over the last 2 or so years, FEAR. So many stories and emphasis on how we are all going to die. Let’s face it, most people are afraid of dying. They want to do whatever they can to prevent their death and the death of their loved ones. Have you ever thought about the effect fear has on your life, on your health and how you’re living??

Our bodies respond to stress from work, TV, or other drama in the same way it would respond to being chased by a predator (think caveman vs. saber tooth tiger). Our stress response has remained very similar.

We as humans have two sides to our nervous systems, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. Your sympathetic nervous system is your “fight or flight’ response. This is activated by those scary news stories that make you feel like you need to find a way to not die. The parasympathetic nervous system is the calm down side of the pair.

So what happens when the stress response side of the nervous system is activated for a short time, or as much as two years?

First, your brain sends signals to your heart and lungs to increase heart rate, respirations, and blood pressure. You feel a sense of haste and an increase in energy. After a short time, if the stress continues, your body starts to slow down digestion and increase stored glucose release, for additional energy. A hormone called cortisol regulates many functions in the body from energy to thyroid function and insulin. Cortisol is very important, however, high levels of cortisol for long periods of time can reek havoc on your systems. This can lead to the glands that produce the hormone to wear out and the body will cease production. For prolonged stress responses, your body starts to store any energy it can. Increased cortisol also adds to a slower digestion and absorption of nutrients. The body continues to try to store as much energy as it can but it’s not processing or using this energy. Long term increased cortisol leads to increased fat storage as well as many altered functions and impaired balances.

Over the last two years, we have constantly been reminded of a looming threat to our health. While the majority of cases are mild to moderate, the news channels emphasized the severe cases and encouraged us to be afraid of ourselves, our immune systems, and everyone around us. This constant intake of fearful messaging sends signals to the body to activate the sympathetic nervous system.

So what can we do about stress? How do we tell out bodies to turn off the alarms when everything around us is screaming “PANIC”? There are a few things we can do to signal to our bodies that everything is ok. First, turn off sources of negative or stressful information! Narrow down your intake to once a day. Wherever you consume this type of information, it triggers your sympathetic nervous system.

Stressful work environments can also be a trigger for the fight or flight reaction of the body. Looming deadlines, pressure from your boss or co-workers, and other factors can be sources of stress. Finding a positive way to cope is essential for stress at work. Listening to calming music in an ear bud or radio station, taking a short meditation break or working it into your lunch, and learning to deep breathe can help to decrease your body’s stress response.

There are several foods that help with stress too. Be sure to check out our Instagram for more tips on foods to help decrease stress. Starting April 4, 2022.



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