How does stress impact our health?
Often we aren’t aware that we are stressed as we go about our daily life. All those niggly things like, getting to work or an appointment on time, financial stress, a pileup of emails to answer, picking up children from school on time and trying to fit everything on your list into one day. Stress response is a normal function for our bodies and we definitely do need it in certain circumstances, however, being constantly stressed is not healthy and it’s making us sick.
Physical, chemical or emotional stress can unbalance the brain and the body and activate the Sympathetic Nervous System…our fight and flight system that enables us to manage our external environment and perceived threats. If our Sympathetic Nervous System is continually activated the shut-down button gets stuck on fast forward and our immune system becomes weakened. When the immune system is compromised we become susceptible to disease, infection and cancer. According to Bruce Lipton (an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit), “Over 90% of disease and illness today is based on lifestyle and stress, not genetics,”
According to Dr. Josh Axe (doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist)…there are three ways our bodies can be stressed.
PHYSICAL: this can be a trauma, injury, accident or fall
CHEMICAL: this includes flu, bacterial infection, hangovers and unbalanced blood sugar levels
EMOTIONAL: this is the fear-inducing situations, perceived pressure at work or financially, family tragedies.
Stress influences all the organs in the body and directly affects the gut. Changing our diet is important, however, learning how to manage stress and our emotions is critical.
The brain and the gut are closely connected and communicate with each other. When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up, and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breath work, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.