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Physiological effects of stress


Physiology is one of my favorite subjects to study.  It’s a term that I’m sure many are at least somewhat familiar with.  Just to make sure we’re all on the same page though, I’ll define what physiology is:  studying how parts of the body (organs, cells, molecules, etc) perform chemical or physical functions in a living body.  In other words – it means to study the way everything works together collectively.

In my last post I commented on the importance of understanding that stress can lead to chronic issues.  Today I wanted to write about how stress negatively impacts the body’s physiology. To begin it’s important to understand the body needs certain levels of energy to function. Every organ, tissue and cell requires different amounts of energy.  When stressed, the body is under the impression that there is real danger. Production of a number of hormones starts flowing through the blood stream and redistribution of energy begins, cutting it off from areas where it is typically directed.  This has a large impact on our digestive, immune and hormonal/endocrine systems.

How you may ask?  Keep in mind that energy required for every bodily function.  It is constantly needed for nutrients absorption, hormone production and the creation of immune cells. In fact, some of the cells in these areas go through more than 60,000 chemical reactions per minute to perform their functions.  Any decrease of energy will affect its ability to perform.  Think of someone trying to run a marathon on a completely empty stomach and little sleep – the results aren’t going to be favorable.

The ability for the digestive, immune and hormonal/endocrine systems to function well is critical to maintain a healthy life.  Any damage always has a domino effect in other organs, glands and tissues, making it more difficult to reverse illness and increase susceptibility to other chronic disease.  In addition, sick cells produce toxins that affect healthy cells.  This augments sickness to new areas and initially is difficult to detect within a blood lab. Once they do appear in a blood test the issue has already reached a point of being serious.

Some of you reading perhaps know of someone that suffers from chronic illness dealing with one of the systems mentioned.  It’s important to understand the road to healing begins in the same place the damage started – in the mind.  I’m a firm believer that people can change their lives and their health by removing fear and doubt.  It’s incredible what can happen when we begin to see things through a more positive perspective.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be a realist.  Seeing things as they really are can be empowering.  Remember that being a realist however, doesn’t mean being a pessimist.  As you begin to sift false perceptions from truth you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how joyful life can really be.

Originally posted September 3, 2014

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