How Does This Create Chronic Illness?
All of these have one thing in common. They are all various forms of stress. That stress impacts the brain, mind and body and erodes health and wellness over a period of time. Once we reach the tipping point, we often wake up one day with what feels like chronic pain/illness that came out of nowhere.
Human beings are designed for survival. As such we are hard-wired to react to stress so that we can protect ourselves from potential, perceived and actual threats to our physical, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual well-being.
However, for most people the number of physical, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual stressors faced daily are far greater than at any other time. The human stress response was designed to propel us forward and keep us moving.
Understanding Our Natural Stress Response
When a person encounters a perceived threat, such as a wild animal approaching in an aggressive manner, the hypothalamus sets off an internal alarm system in your brain and body through a series of complex processes. These processes signal the adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones collectively known as stress hormones. Two of these key stress hormones are cortisol and adrenaline.
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone in the body, immediately increases glucose (sugars) in the bloodstream, increases the body’s availability of substances that repair body tissues, slows down all non- essential bodily functions to our ability to fight or flee a situation, alters immune response, and suppresses the digestive / reproductive systems and growth process. In the brain Cortisol enhances the brain’s use of glucose and communicates with the parts of the brain responsible for mood, motivation, and fear. Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and increases energy levels.
Once the perceived, potential, or actual threat is over, hormone levels return to normal, heart rate drops, blood pressure drops and all other systems such as; digestion, reproduction and growth resume normal functioning. However, when stressors are always present, we find ourselves in a never-ending loop of fight/flight/freeze. The consequences of being in a sympathetic dominant state with long term stress hormones pumping through our bodies causes a major disruption to almost all your brain/body processes.
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