For as long as I can remember I have been stressed. From finding out about my anxiety when I was around 13, to worrying about weight, appearance, grades, if people liked me, the future, you name it while growing up. At sixteen I landed at my doctors with chest pain, and by seventeen it had spread down my arm and along my shoulder blades. It wasn’t a heart attack but it sure did feel like one. I was “too young” to be having any of these problems. What I do have, is chronic stress.
At sixteen the doctor suggested yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise and a hobby. Almost ten years later this is still the recommendation from my doctor for all of my issues, pains and problems.
My biggest problem?
Chronic Stress is “the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time in which an individual perceives they have little or no control.”
This is still stress, just long term, anywhere from three months to longer. In my case, it is permanent, it is every day for the foreseeable future.
Stress sets off communications between the hypothalamus (a small part of the brain near the base that controls the release of hormones and body temperature) and the pituitary (a tiny gland with a major role in controlling other parts of the brain). These two areas communicate to release dopamine, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and the most important cortisol.
Adrenaline is controlled by the adrenals, tiny organs that sit above your kidneys and give you your fight or flight response. When we feel stressed, these release chemicals and hormones, and adrenaline to help your body survive. This can be productive adrenaline to help meet a deadline or survive a lion attack, or it can be long term and begin to cause damage. This is chronic stress, when the adrenaline begins to cause damage, when your body never leaves the fight or flight feeling.
Stress causes your adrenals to work too hard and eventually persistent surges of adrenaline can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, and elevate your risk of heart attacks or stroke.
The longer the adrenaline and stress go unchecked, the more damage can be done.
- Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke.
- Low Energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles. (Can feel like the flu and can include a fever)
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
- Loss of sexual desire or ability
- Excess sweating
- Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
- inability to control body temperature (always too hot or cold)
Chronic Stress Can Cause
- Low red and white blood counts, low platelets
- Obesity and eating disorders
- inability to absorb proper nutrients
- stress belly
- Menstrual problems
- Inflammation: linked to cancer, diabetes, and many other health problems
- In worst case scenarios; organ problems, organ failure and death.
This just begins to scrape the surface of the damage that chronic stress can do to the body.
Welcome to Different Beings. A blog to help those suffering from any form of stress fight back and take back their lives. For those with functional stress who just want to make things easier until they reach their deadline, fight the lion, pass the test, to those fighting with chronic stress from loss, financial struggle, health issues, you name it, to those who like me, know they will be fighting an uphill battle for a large part of their life (possibly all of it), we are building a community to come together and help each other out.
This blog is my journey, my story, my trials and errors to a less stressful life. From using less plastics to limit anxiety, to trying new exercises, struggling through stressful jobs, less than ideal living situations, financial struggles and stress of the everyday life. Follow us here at Different Beings for posts about self care, meditation, yoga, stress relief, finding the right hobbies, getting back into exercise, and handling everything that life throws at us.
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