Stress!!! We all tend to have it. Some have it more than others. In this day and age it is next to impossible not to have any stress in your life. Stress can come at you physically, mentally and emotionally. Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. I believe it is the way you look at those stresses and how it impacts your life. Positively or negatively, the stress will affect your physiology.
What happens to your body when your stressed?
People react to stress in different ways. During these stressful situations your body releases different hormones to help you overcome those stresses. During the flight/fight response your body releases cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephrine) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norepinephrine)
Physiological effects of flight/fight hormones:
- Appetite is suppressed
- Pupils dilate
- Breathing increases for more oxygen
- You think quicker
- Heart beats faster
- Fat is broken down for quick energy
Now your body is in battle mode. Stress from a thought or you running from a bear can cause the same response physiologically. Just everyday things in life can keep your stress levels high.
What happens to your body when stress leaves?
During your stressful periods in life your body releases cortisol, along with epinephrine and norepinephrine. Cortisol and epinephrine work to mobilize fat and carbohydrates for energy. Cortisol increases blood sugar also. When the stress leaves, so does epinephrine and norepinephrine but cortisol stays around to bring the body back to normal or homeostasis.
The stress you encountered made your body use up all its fuel reserve. Cortisol increases your appetite so you can refuel those reserves you depleted. Those carbohydrates and fatty foods you crave are easily stored as fat in the abdomen area due to that area being good at storing energy.
In this day and age we are constantly in a state of stress. Life has become a Now State. Just look at our cell phones. You can look up anything from directions to how to fix things on the go. I can be walking in Hamilton Place Mall and look up what sales they are having at what stores. This Now State has run over into our jobs, our kids, medicine and our relationships. Most people have too much stress and don’t take the time to control that stress. This results in too much cortisol lingering in our system. This makes us tired, burned out and we eat to get energy. This is the big fat idea about stress.
This article is part 1 of a 2 part series. Follow my next blog on how to control stress….to be continued…
Christopher M. Lewis, D.C.