What Stress Does to your body

What happens when we get stressed? Well, within the first couple of minutes of getting stressed, your body decides that it needs to be in a powered up mode to either fight or run and this is what happens in your body…

The adrenal glands produce adrenaline, your heart/pulse rate goes up and your blood pressure rises in order to pump out more blood, which is ok in the short-term. But in the long term, if you remain stressed for hours or days or weeks or months or even years, this higher blood pressure becomes maladaptive by perhaps causing hypertension (high blood pressure), immune or heart problems.

Stress also shuts down digestion.  When you’re confronted with a lion that’s trying to eat you, you don’t need to be eating anything else, so Nature in its wisdom shuts down your digestion. Your mouth becomes dry and blood is shunted away from the stomach. In the short-term, that’s great; but in the long-term, people with long-term stress can develop digestive problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a variety of other digestive disorders.

In the short-term, stress also switches off sex drive. Nature doesn’t need you to be sexually excited when you’re being threatened by a lion or a predator. Short-term, that makes sense. But long-term, if stress remains within the body and mind for weeks or months or years, then people’s sex drive may diminish.

So all stress symptoms can be traced back to adaptive responses during an emergency. In emergencies, stress offers you the ability to become hyper-alert. Long-term though being in this hyper-alert state can lead to the inability to switch off.

In our wired in world where many of us are taking our cell-phones to bed with us, there is little room for downtime from a hyper-alert state.  It is more important than ever for your body and mind health to allow yourself down-time from stress.   Take a warm long relaxing bath without your iPhone. Go for a walk without your iPod.  Next time you have a gap in your day, waiting for a client or sitting at a restaurant on your own – don’t take out your electronic friend.  Instead, take the time to breathe deeply, look around you and smile, take in the moment.  Your mind and body will thank you for it. Oh, and one more thing, all this stress shortens the protective caps on your chromosomes.  That means that stress ages you faster.

The good news is that scientific studies have shown that when you reduce your stress, your chromosomes repair along with the rest of your magnificent body.
So, give yourself a holiday from stress, your mind and body will thank you for it!

Veronica Farmer
Craniosacral Therapist

Craniosacral therapy is a proven way to access stress release from mind and body and can help you enjoy the benefits of a more balanced nervous system.