Stress Response

Our Stress Response And Our Health

Perhaps the most important natural health-building concept is understanding our body’s stress response.

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Chronic stress is responsible for up to 90% of doctor visits. (WebMD) (Human Nature at Work) This is a staggering number. Let that sink in for a minute… 9 out of 10 doctor visits are the result of stress!…..


Some stress is inevitable, and can even be a good thing. Eustress is the feeling we get when riding a rollercoaster, or just before the big athletic competition.

This kind of stress is beneficial. However, even eustress, can take its toll on our bodies if left unchecked.

You see, if I were to measure the hormone levels of someone that just got off of a roller coaster, and compare them to someone experiencing intense fear, they would look very similar.

The point I’m making is that, as far as the body is concerned, stress is stress. And, any stress that becomes chronic is a huge impediment to our health.

Fight or Flight

God designed our bodies to cope with stress. Our autonomic nervous systems react fairly predictably when we are exposed to stressful events. We call this our fight-or-flight reflex.

Our minds perceive some threat to our safety. The brain responds by activating the hypothalamus a small gland at the base of the brain.

The hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland, which instructs the adrenals to pump out stress hormones such as cortisol, and adrenalin.

These hormones help us to rise to the occasion and deal with the danger. Among other things, they give us a great deal of energy, preparing us for fight-or-flight.

[callout]Most of us are not experiencing enough rejuvenating down time. We are chronically stressed.[/callout]

They transfer blood flow from non-essential tasks such as digestion and direct it to large muscle groups, preparing us to run. Hormones dilate our pupils enabling us to see better. Our body temperature may rise. Our response time quickens, and our alertness is heightened.

These are all very good things. They are indicators that we are alive and well. Because we are able to mount this kind of a physiological response, it is proof positive that we have vitality within us. A person on their deathbed could not accomplish any of these things.

Chronic Stress

Here’s the problem; continually enlisting our body’s stress response, and remaining in fight or flight will reap havoc on our bodies. We are designed to experience a cycling in and out of the stress response. There should be an ebb and flow to our stressful events.

There’s a time for pushing into it. Then, there’s a time for rest. Most of us are not experiencing enough rejuvenating down time. We are chronically stressed.

This is huge. Everything we do to improve our health must be viewed through the lens of reducing stress. As holistic health enthusiasts, we need to get a handle on this. We must work to reduce, or eliminate all forms of chronic stress.

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Question: Have you ever been so stressed, you ended up at the doctor or hospital? Leave your response in the comment section below.


About the Author David Sandstrom

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