The Effects of Stress

Stress can affect you in four different ways:

The Physical Effects of Stress

These result in a physically perceived overload. These are present in many forms. One of the first areas to consider is the chemical burden from our modern and affluent lifestyle. Pesticides, fertilisers, additives, sprays and other chemicals which we constantly contact initiate stress reactions within our bodies.

In the excellent book "Allergy Overload", Stephen Griffiths alerts us to the 5,000 allowable food additives; some of which we will ingest daily. Bluntly stated, they slowly poison us. The ingestion of allergenic foods is highly stressful. Most people are considered intolerant to something, the detrimental effects of tea, coffee and alcohol. In addition to being nutritionally valueless, these beverages create a direct physical stress on the internal organs responsible for detoxifying them (mainly the liver) and further unbalance our emotional state because they are stimulating drugs.

There can be physical stress from over exertion as in the case of unfit people attempting stressful exercise, or athletes pushing to achieve goals well beyond the intended capacity of their bodies. Some people feel driven by a fanatical desire to exercise and often end up exhausted and totally depleted.

Consider also, people who work long hours or shift-hours where the natural rhythm of bodily function and internal energy exchanges are either inhibited or thrown out of balance. The proverbial 'workaholic' very often suffers, primarily from physical exhaustion caused by deep - rooted psychological origins.

The Emotional Effects of Stress

Create tension and irritability which is very often manifested as disease and illness as ways of dealing with emotions that cannot be expressed. When a person finds themselves in a circumstance which they feel is beyond their control and with seemingly no resolve, they will often subconsciously transfer their feelings to the physical, as its form of expression.

A common example here is headache, and a common cause of headache is the feeling of hopelessness that results from being locked into a particular role or circumstance. Of course, the more organic causes of headache could include eyestrain, constipation or neck problems and these areas would need to be investigated too. However, no amount of physical therapy will solve the problem if there is a strong emotional "cause" behind it.

A further example of the way that we use disease would be stomach aches in children. This can be a very effective means of gaining parental attention by a child who feels that a new member of the family is getting more than their fair share of attention.

Skin problems usually have an identifiable emotional basis. An irritating skin complaint can often be the result of irritating life circumstances or an irritating person that one would rather not be involved with. It might be irritation with one's job.

If such stresses are not dealt within the right way at the emotional level, they will most likely manifest as an irritating rash or similar condition until the problem is resolved. Another example is constipation. If chronic cases do not respond to the physical priorities of more water and fibre in diet, the cause may be retention in the mind for example holding on tenaciously to old ideas or relationships that no longer serve our best interests. These mental retentions can manifest as the physical retention of rubbish that we would best be well rid of.

Do note at this point that a seemingly identical emotional problem may manifest as a particular physical disease in one person and yet as a completely different disease in another person. There is no hard and fast rule of "one stress, one disease".

The Mental Effects of Stress

These impair logical thinking and can occur for many reasons. There may be a conflict at work or at home; worry about ones appearance or abilities or relationships, children, career or finances. Indeed anything.

A problem which does not bear a second thought for one person, may be a catastrophe for another. These stresses and conflicts are very real for those who are experiencing them. In this sense, stress is highly subjective and here in lies a major key to correcting it. To change ones thinking about a problem is often enough to correct that problem.

The very existence of worrying stress is confirmation that better ways of approaching and handling the situation need to be found. Stressful problems must be rectified or they will make us miserable emotionally and will very likely manifest physically. The vehicles for this physical manifestation being our nervous and endocrine systems, which form the link between thought and the physical. Suppressed emotions result in physical disease as well as mental disease. Two of the more common conditions which are easily related to stress are ulcers and hypochlorhydria. These are often the direct result of emotional and physical stress.

You will recognise that these complaints result in pain and poor digestion and will eventually have an effect on every cell within our body. In recognising the stress - emotional link between the mind and the body, healing must be initiated on both levels. If stress is an identifiable component of most physical problems then every effort must be made to deal with problems emotionally as well as physically. Dietary intervention is also essential.

Dietary indiscretions will be a major factor in maintaining any illness, however it may not be the main issue. If we use ulcers as an example: too only modify the diet would be to treat only half (or less) of the problem. This would not be getting at the cause which may be dissatisfaction with their job or relationship, or just an inability to cope with life as they see it.

To pursue the example of ulcers a little further; we know that they are usually caused by stress. We also know that people under stress are likely to drink alcohol and coffee to try and cope with their stress. Foods that are sugary, fatty and salty are also tasty and satisfying and make a great "pick me up" when we are down or depressed. These foods are popular with ulcer sufferers. So, stress has contributed to the ulcer and has also been a major reason for our choice of inappropriate foods. This poor diet will contribute greatly to increased stress levels because of the "highs and lows" created by the drug-like effect of sugar, coffee and alcohol.

The Behavioral Effects of Stress

These are observable in the way we act or behave. For this it is necessary to observe what happens on a physiological level, and understand how stressful events and emotions affect us physically. We accept that the more toxic elements of our diet have a depressing effect on us. However, it appears that the emotional strains are even more debilitating.

Anything which comprises our immune system is a serious threat to our health. From a purely physical point of view our body reacts the same way, no matter what the stress is. Be it an argument with your employer of flight from a wild animal; the physical response will be basically the same; only the degree of response will vary according to the intensity of the stress. The advantages of the latter example is that you are either going to be eaten by that wild animal or you will escape.

Either way the stress will be resolved. It is often not possible to resolve stresses in our modern and complex framework of social interaction. Intense emotions may have to be buried with no opportunity for immediate or short term resolve. These feelings of anger, futility, resentment and hurt are left to eat away at our very core.

Physical and emotional threats to our well-being are registered by the Hypothalamus in the brain. The Hypothalamus is a major control centre of the brain and initiates reactions via the Autonomic Nervous System. This system is not directly under our conscious control and can act in many ways. It can restrict blood flow or digestive secretions and inhibit the genitalia. It may act to dilate the blood vessels serving muscles involved in the "fight or flight" response. Nerves to the face can dilate pupils and tense facial muscles.

Something as simple as an embarrassing word can send blood rushing to our face. An angry word at work may send blood rushing to our arms and muscles to prompt other physical changes. It is important to acknowledge that all stresses are not bad. Some stress is necessary and is a great motivator. Indeed stress reactions are very necessary for our survival. They are our body's way of preparing for and dealing with crises. This is both necessary and healthy.

What is not healthy is excessive or chronic (ongoing, long term) stress. When we are chronically stressed all of these physical reactions remain active. Everything is thrown out of balance. It is hardly conducive to the digestion if, through a stress reaction, your blood has been directed away from the digestive area and gastric secretion has been inhibited.

Two examples of this would be arguing at the dinner table or maintaining intense mental activity at work whilst eating lunch. The Pituitary Gland is actually an anatomical extension of the Hypothalamus; so close is the connection between the brain and the endocrine glands. The pituitary sends our many hormones which act directly on the tissues of the body and on other endocrine glands which put out even more hormones. Pituitary hormones stimulate the thyroid which produces hormones to raise the metabolic rate during times of stress. Adrenocorticotrophic hormone, or ACTH is produced by the pituitary and carried by the blood to the adrenals.

Therefore, the brain's response to various stresses can increase the secretion of glucocoriticoide from the adrenal cortex to bring about adaptive metabolic responses in order to increase bodily resistance and survival. In conclusion, it is important to realise that however well you appear to cope with everyday life, you will experience stress to some degree.

Moderate amounts are good for you, and can improve your performance, your efficiency and productivity. But too much may generate disabling emotions such as overwhelming anxiety and tension, difficulty in thinking clearly, and a wide range of behavioural responses.

Dee is a Doctor of Reflexology, Homeopathic Practitioner, Certified Aromatherapist, and Reiki Master. Her site is AkobiAromas.com - a source of quality aromatherapy, herbal and reflexology information and products.

ADD May Carry the Gifts of Intuition

ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, between 3% and... Read More

Gallbladder Disorders And How To Treat Them Using Natural Remedies

The gallbladder is a 3 to 4 inch-long pear-shaped organ located on the right side... Read More

Home Saunas and Kits: Benefits, Pre-Planning, and Purchasing Tips

For quite some time now home saunas have gained massive popularity across the United States.... Read More

What Is A Home Remedy?

Home Remedies - Facts or Quacks?Myths and legends often have their basis in a grain... Read More

Cure Arthritis? Right!

Arthritis sufferers are daily bombarded with new, better, more exciting treatments. Try Enbrel! Try Humira!... Read More

What is Hypnosis?

Before anyone experiences hypnosis and starts using it to make wonderful, beneficial changes in their... Read More

An ADD Case Study: What Does it Mean to Fail?

Josh is a client of mine who is a junior in college. He's very smart.... Read More

Reflexology & Meridian Therapy

Reflexology & Meridian Therapy are combined healing arts that utilize stimulation of the feet, hands,... Read More

Test Your Indoor Air Quality!

How safe is your Indoor Air?1) Does your home have carpeting?* Carpeting captures dust, dirt,... Read More

Good Vibrations

Esoteric vibrational remedies are really hot right now, especally in Hollywood -- the next step... Read More

Acupuncturists

An ancient Chinese method of pain relief and disease treatment; acupuncturists have used acupuncture effectively... Read More

Organic Juices for Constipation

Organic fresh made juices have cleansing and laxative action, which will help you eliminate constipation.... Read More

Autism Behaviour in Childrens

Autism is a developmental disorder and the specific cause for autism is not known. It... Read More

Buyer Beware: Is That Ergonomic Chair Really Ergonomic?

Not everybody knows exactly what ergonomic means, but it's getting to the point where everybody... Read More

Storing, Handling And Using Essential Oils

Pure Essential Oils are a natural product and contain no preservatives or additives. A few... Read More

The Raindrop Technique Massage

Raindrop Technique is a procedure for applying therapeutic grade essential oils to the feet, back... Read More

Ethical Guidelines For Hypnotherapy

The study of ethics concerns moral choices, generally in the areas of relationships, agreements between... Read More

Natural Aromatherapy, Essence of Health

Bringing Home Nature's Forest Correctly and SafelyPreserving Both Essence and HealthRecently, aromatherapy has become a... Read More

Holistic Lifestyle

Sometimes living that wonderful and beneficial holistic life can sometimes seem daunting. However! The moment... Read More

Oops! One Size DOESNT Fit All

The Stop Smoking Hypnosis people.The ancient Greeks certainly had their share of eccentrics. One of... Read More

Using Pain To Institute Change In Your Life!

Why do you do something that harms you? Why do you do something that has... Read More

Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Phantom Pain

Much of what goes on in our bodies is controlled by the subconscious mind. A... Read More

New Age Torture

I'll admit it ... I'm a spiritual tramp. I've spent the last few years slutting... Read More

Heart Disease and Homocysteine

Are you aware that one of the most important indicators of heart disease is homocysteine?... Read More

Thyme: Elegance Drifting Through the Ages of Time

Thyme is a herb that has been cultivated for centuries for both its medicinal and... Read More

Injured Athletes and Acupuncture

I have always been amazed at the clinical results that I have seen with injured... Read More

Easy Steps You Can Take Today to Erase Hip Pain

...and one of these tips you can get from a sewing class!"More than 100,000 Americans... Read More

Heres Hope for Parkinsons Disease

Frank's 85 year-old father was in advanced stages of Parkinson's.Confined to a wheelchair...his speech jumbled...his... Read More

What Disorders Can Acupuncture Treat and How Does It Work?

How did acupuncture start?The story was met with widespread disbelief.During a visit to China in... Read More

The Facts About Glutathione and Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson's Disease (PD), a devastating illness, occurs in one of every 100 people over 65.It... Read More

NMT: Trigger Point Therapy and What to Look for in a T Bar

Massage therapy is as ancient as noodles. People have been striving to reach a state... Read More

Honey! Natural Treatment for Gum Disease

There is quite a bit of talk going on about the antimicrobial properties of the... Read More

How Brewer?s Yeast and MSM Clear Constipation

Brewer's yeast can help to ease, reduce, or clear your constipation. If you can handle... Read More

Voice Care for Recovery from Colds and Vocal Strain

Every singer, no matter how careful they are of their instrument, has times when they... Read More

Parasites: The Missing Diagnosis?

Parasites, commonly thought of as only affecting those in developing countries, actually affect 1 in... Read More

Tobacco Hypnosis: Cigarettes Are My Friend

Practicing hypnotherapists hear many peculiar statements from smokers who ask for help in quitting. The... Read More

Constipation: the Fast, Easy Answer to Something No One Talks About

Everyone jokes about constipation, but it's no joke if you're the one suffering from it.... Read More

Skin Cancer Cured By Curaderm, The Revolutionary New Treatment for Skin Cancer

Curaderm is the most eagerly awaited cancer treatment solution in history. Curaderm has a proven... Read More

Eating Healthy Myths Destroyed

All Refined Carbohydrates are Hazardous to Your Health. The average American eats over 300 pounds... Read More

How to Best Use Your Summer Energy

Summer EnthusiasmAccording to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are five elements that contribute to all... Read More

About Child Bedwetting

Bedwetting also known as nocturnal Enuresis is a common problem that is encountered in children... Read More

A Morning Smoothie to Help You Stop Constipation

Chronic constipation can be hard to stop or elimination, since the colon have become weak.... Read More

Preventing Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Through Ayurveda

Definition: Benign prostatic hypertrophy is swelling of Prostate gland. The prostate is a walnut sized... Read More

Remedies for Asthma or Allergies

Remedies for Asthma or AllergiesA lot people have asthma. My daughter, 41 years, included. She... Read More

Shingles - A Virus Which Can Be Extremely Painful, Or Cleared In No Time - The Choice Is Yours

Shingles, commonly known as the herpes zoster virus is a late manifestation of the chicken... Read More

Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Hypnotism, and the Truth about the Funky Chicken!

Over two hundred years after this momentous event the world is still saying WOW in... Read More

Massage Magic - Music & Touch

What Massage Therapists Do!Have you ever thought what massage therapists actually do? Ideally, they provide... Read More

How to Benefit from The Mind-Body Connection

Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of "Love, Medicine and Miracles" was once a distraught surgeon who... Read More

Allergies: Why Do You Have Them?

Next time you reach for your Claritin, think about this:Allergies are totally abnormal. Sure, tons... Read More

Herbal Therapy

Herbal Therapy, also referred to as Herbalism, is one of the oldest healthcare means known... Read More