Stress has always been a protective emotional response throughout human evolution (it’s what our ancestors used to survive!) but in modern times it’s become ubiquitous, everyone you talk to is stressed. In-fact, the Stress and Wellbeing survey in Australia reported that 72% of Australians said stress affects their physical health.
What do we mean by stress, specifically, though? It’s a combination of emotional, environmental, postural, nutritional and even dental stress. (Surprised about the last one? We’ll get to it.)
When you’re stressed a range of physiological responses occur. Firstly, blood is diverted from the digestion tract to your muscles as our body’s the flight or fight system is turned on. That means, it doesn’t matter how well you are eating, what supplements you are taking, you may not be absorbing your nutrients as you should so that puts you behind the eight ball, and these are the top 5 stressors that, in my opinion, act as triggers.
When you are stressed, you may not be sleeping as well as you should be and so your hormones levels become imbalanced. The thyroid hormone, which is involved in metabolism becomes unbalanced; cortisol, the stress hormone, increases tremendously; and ghrelin, the hormone which tells you when you have had enough to eat or to eat more is also compromised. Leptin, the hormone that metabolises fat goes down, which compromises your system, too, and insulin levels are also affected when you’re stressed, which can lead to major issues.
When you are stressed, you are more susceptible to your immune system lowering. Instead of taking the time to fight microbes and toxins when you are under stress, you fight the immediate danger which you perceive you have so your immune system is therefore compromised and your chances of becoming sick increase.
Another thing to consider when you are stressed and tired and not eating well is that the frontal part of your brain – the part that controls reasoning and logic – isn’t the most active and the reptilian part of the brain is becomes more dominant. This is where your reflex actions occur and take over, and as a result a lot of your judgements are compromised.
– Dr Ron Ehrlich
Read more: 5 Most Common Causes of Stress Today
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