Stress is the body’s way of responding to any demand put on it. The body reacts to stress by producing chemicals that find their way into the blood steam. This gives people more energy and strength.
This can actually be a good thing if the stress is caused by danger. It gives us the ability to react to that danger quickly.
Stress can also have negative effects if it is caused by something emotional such as family problems, overwork or financial issues.
It becomes a problem when there is no outlet for this increased energy and strength. This is the type of stress that causes so many problems to our medical and physical heath.
Identifying what is causing our stress is the first step to dealing effectively with it.
There are several common types of stress which can be identified. The two main areas are physical and emotional. Let’s look at some of the more common types of stress:
- Survival Stress – This happens when you are physically threatened. It goes to the “fight” or “flight” reaction to that danger that is common in all animals and people. The body responds with a burst of extra energy which allows you to react to that danger. This manifests itself as fighting to survive or removing yourself from the danger.
- Internal Stress – Have you ever found yourself worrying over something that you have little or no control over? Or maybe you find yourself worrying over nothing at all. This type of stress is the hardest to understand and control. Some people may even put themselves in stressful situations or actually become addicted to a lifestyle which is so frantic and hectic that is it a continuous source of stress.
- Environmental Stress – This is the type of stress that occurs from factors around you. This may be from family members or people that we work and come in contact with, from being in a noisy situation or an overcrowded room. Leaning to avoid these situations will do a lot to reduce stress levels.
- Fatigue and Overwork – Stress caused by these two factors is the type that can build up over time and have a negative effect on our health. Maybe you work to many hours or to hard, maybe you don’t always know how to manage your time effectively or just don’t take the time you need for rest or vacation. People tend to believe that these are things that are out of their control and make it the hardest form of stress to control.
When you are under stress there are many stress related hormones that your body releases.
Being under stress occasionally is not a problem, but if the situation persists these hormones can rob us of nutrients that are essential to our bodies.
One of the problems with prolonged stress and the hormones associated with it can be a depletion of zinc, potassium and B-complex vitamins.
Stress hormones being secreted over long periods of time can also interfere with insulin functioning and promote insulin resistance.
These increased hormone levels can also change our blood sugar levels opening us up to a variety of medical problems brought on by the fact that our cells are not able to nourish themselves by the glucose in our diets.
If you are prone to long periods of stress or have a history of depression there are certain things you can do to get the nutrients in your body back to optimal levels.
Nutrients that become depleted by stress include foliate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Being aware of this, one may want to adjust their diets or supplement for these nutrients. A common situation associated with stress is called “leaky gut”.
This is associated with increased permeability of the intestinal wall. It compromises nutrient absorption in the digestive tract, and the intestinal walls can no longer regulate the movement of nutrients in and out of the digestive tract.
Stress is something that we need to find a way to control before it starts to negatively affect the quality of life and our heath in general.
Being aware of the reasons why stress has such a negative effect on our health is a good start.
Adjusting diet or using supplementation to allow our body to make up for the nutrients being lost will counteract some of these negative effects.
A change in lifestyle or attitude can relieve the problem going forward.