Did you know that we’re capable of switching on a stress response with just our thoughts? If we catastrophise about some dreadful future imagining, or rehash past negative experiences, our body responds with incredible speed. In just a moment, physiologically, your body can prepare itself to fight or run. It’s out of repair mode and in survival mode.
Now, in the case where you return to homeostasis, to a state of equilibrium in the body, it’s ok. You’re back in a state where your cells can rest and repair. Your body perceives that the danger is over, and it can return to calm and regenerate.
WHERE THE PROBLEMS REALLY START
However, problems begin to multiply if we can’t switch the stress response off again. Remember – stress is addictive! Also, a host of other negative and highly addictive feelings tend to take over if we’re perpetually stuck in a stress response: powerlessness, lack of control, depression, sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, self-blame, jealousy, helplessness… The list goes on.
If you’re never allowing your body to return to calm, you’re heading for disease of some kind. No question about it. There is NOTHING healthy about staying in a stress response. There is NOTHING glamorous about running on adrenalin until you break down. There is NOTHING glamorous about running yourself into the ground, chasing…
A 20 year study conducted by the University of London suggested that stress can be as addictive as highly addictive drugs. It found that unmanaged reactions to stress were a higher risk factor for cancer and heart disease than even smoking, or eating a diet high in cholesterol. Wake up call. Ultimately, your body will start to fall apart.
In a study conducted at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, stress was shown to impede the speed of healing by up to 40%.
Another study showed that, in eliciting a relaxation response, gene expression was changed in just one meditation session, with genes linked to inflammation downregulated, and genes linked to immune function and metabolism shown to upregulate.
BUT IT’S NO WONDER I’M STRESSED…
You may feel that the stress in your life is justified. Irrelevant of this, stress will never enhance your life. It will always take you out of balance. Whether the stress is justified or not is not the question here. For your own good, you need to manage your internal responses to outer circumstances, OR change your circumstances.
It requires a strong decision to stop being a stress junkie. You will feel uncomfortable as you go cold turkey and literally change your body and your brain, but persevere and get help if you need it! You’re worth it. Your life is worth it.
Reach out if you need help.