Sunday, 16 December 2012

What is Stress

When stress becomes constant and excessive various untoward things start to happen in the body as the whole Nervous system becomes involved.

  • There is an increase in epinephrine (adrenalin) production which suppresses the action of the T-cells. T-cells play a vital part in the immune function of the body.
  • There is an increase in cortisol production. This is also potentially immunosuppressive.
  • There is an increase in production of beta-endorphins. This tends to reduce the NK (natural killer ) cells ability to recognise and kill virally infected cells.

Indicators of Long Term Stress Exposures

As a result of the above 3 reactions the immune system is weakened and one suffers from all sorts of ailments. The bodies ability to fight bacteria and viruses gradually becomes more and more weak and therefore cannot fight the colds, flue, cancers, shingles etc. Stress causes the heart to beat faster, but with constriction of the blood vessels, therefore high blood pressure could be the result.
Depression, an abnormal emotional state, with melancholy and feelings of inadequacy, can be the result of stress. With this may come weight gain or loss, insomnia, headaches etc. Commonly depression is treated with SSRI (Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitor). These create a “dam” which stops the re-absorption of Seratonin and tricks the body into thinking all is well. The body stops producing Seratonin and becomes sluggish so when you stop taking the anti-depressant you crash.

Suggestions for Destressing

  • Exercise – this expends some of the energy produced by the fight or flight response.
    - helps boost the circulation, therefore the body can flush out metabolic waste which accumulates in muscles.
    - releases endorphins which help one to feel better and more able to cope – even if ones situation is unchanged.
  • Remove yourself from the stressful situations as soon as possible – if possible.
  • Relax in a long hot bath.
  • Get plenty of sleep – use soft soothing music, hot milk drink etc to help you get to sleep and sleep better.
  • Smile and laugh as much as possible.
  • Take 10 minute breaks regularly from what you are doing and do or think of something quite different (change from left to right brain – do something creative, meditate, read poetry etc)
  • Practise time management.
  • Supplement wisely.

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