Mid-week healthy bites
In this episode…
Stress is something we all know about. But do you know the full impact that stress has on your body?
I’m talking beyond the sweaty palms, racing heart, dilated pupils….
In this episode, I’m talking about the hidden impact stress has on your health and what it’s really doing to your body.
So let’s dive in!
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Transcript: The Hidden Impact of Stress on the Body
Stress. It’s something we all know about and we know that it’s not always good for us, but do you know the full impact that stress has on your body?
Now before we go any further, let’s talk about what positive stress is because the leave it or not. Yes, there is such a thing as positive stress. Now this is our normal reaction to really exciting things in our life.
So things like a new job or falling in love or making a dream purchase, like a big home that you’ve been eyeing off for a very long time. So that kind of stress is something that is good for us.
Stress is also a hardwired survival technique, which [00:01:00] has kept us alive for all of these years. So it’s pretty good in that respect too. What it actually does is it triggers the sympathetic nervous system with that fight or flight, which is the feeling that we all know very well.
And this is trying to get us to take action and avoid danger. The problem is though, is that the body doesn’t know the difference between a real emergency and work-related stress or being stuck in traffic for that matter. Is it a bear chasing us or is it just an impending deadline that we’ve been at dreading for a very long time?
This kind of stress is negative stress. And what happens here is that the body is constantly getting stress signals, even if low-level anxiety… So it doesn’t need to be a massive thing, but it can just be that constant low-level anxiety. And if you’re getting that you’re going to burn out.
So let’s talk about how stress actually impacts the body.
Now, when stressed you go into that fight or flight mode and the sympathetic nervous system is activated to protect you. And what happens is the adrenal glands within secrete [00:02:00] hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline and the rest of the body will then create an emergency source of energy to help you to prepare, to react and run away from that bear or the tiger or whatever it is that’s chasing you.
You know the feeling… your pulse increases, your blood pressure increases. You start getting sweaty palms and your pupils dilate all these natural things start happening in your body. Getting you ready to react.
What happens is after this initial response, your body will then attempt to return to a state of homeostasis. So this is your, your really stable state, where you want to be. when your sympathetic nervous system is triggered too often through constant stress, the body actually builds up a resistance to try and co-exist with these constant stresses which are occurring in your life.
And that is inputting a harmful impact on major systems within your body.
So let’s take a look at the immune system first, and this is something that it can become very easily compromised [00:03:00] by being under that constant state of stress. Our immune system is mostly made up of cells, which defend our bodies, who invade us to protect us and keep us healthy.
And it’s activated when invaders are present in – it could be the form of say bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, toxins, and other things around us. Now, when you’re healthy and you have healthy cells in your body, your immune system should protect you. Even if say, if someone decides to sneeze in your face, which is pretty gross, but if it happens your immune, system’s going to fight that off. When you have unhealthy cells due to poor diet, lifestyle choices or stress, like I said, here, stress is a big one. Your immune system is weakened. It has just spent all day cleaning up after your unhealthy cells. And so it’s exhausted.
So when it’s finally called on to fight off that invader, which is floating in the air from the sneeze, your immune system just can’t keep up. And this is where people get sick. And then once you’re sick stress further reduces your ability to recover from that illness. It’s stressing your immune system further.
[00:04:00] Now let’s look at another system in your body. So let’s look at the digestive system. And you might experience things here, like stomach cramps, reflux, nausea, all of those things. You’ll also notice that when you’re stressed, you’re hunger cues are also disrupted and that can lead to increased fat storage within your body as well.
Here’s something for you. Did you know that our immune system is also contained within the gut? And the thing is not many people know this. There is actually the direct link between the two, so unhealthy gut equals, lower immune system, and vice versa. Then you throw stress into the mix and the effect is just amplified.
gut health is not only linked to our immune system but it’s also to a mental health as well. And there’s a massive correlation which exists here, meaning our quality of life, how stressed we are, our anxiety, our emotions, our thoughts, how happy, how sad we are is intrinsically linked to the health of our gut.
So if you’re constantly stressed or anxious, [00:05:00] this can really deteriorate your gut health and manifest itself in some physical symptoms.
when we have a healthier gut ecosystem, though, you’ll find yourself thinking better thoughts, feeling happier, feeling more content, where you are.
stress plays a large role around mood issues as it does with lack of energy and sleep issues too.
And by the way, this list of symptoms is not exhaustive either. Stress can also increase your blood pressure, your heart rate. It puts you at a higher risk of heart attack as well, which nobody wants that. It leads to other aches and pains in your joints and muscles and lowers your bone density too. So it’s really not great. And remember when the body is stressed, it goes through that initial fight or flight response. Once it’s done that, it attempts to return to that really stable state, that state of homeostasis.
If the body continues to function at this highly wired state of anxiety and stress and constant worry, it’s never going to fully return to that rest [00:06:00] or homeostasis that I was talking about. And what happens is it leads to depletion of the emergency resources within your body and can actually cause it to start shutting down.
it’s this state of exhaustion that your body gets to when it is unable to cope with the continual stress and what happens? Well it leads to burnout and you don’t want to be there.
We’re not supposed to be feeling as though we’re constantly fighting to survive.
This is really destructive. And as I mentioned, it will lead the body to just shut down on us.
who would have thought something so simple as a bit of stress in your life could really be so harmful.
Now in a future episode, I’ll be covering how you can help your body go from fight or flight to rest and digest, because this is where you want to be.
This is where your body needs to be, and it is critical for your wellbeing.