We've all experienced bouts of stress from time to time, but what happens in the body when we have extreme or prolonged periods of stress? Health issues can start to accumulate, or have a snow ball effect if you don't pay attention. Next thing you know, you're exhausted, not sleeping well, don't have the energy you used to, and you really start to feel the effects of aging.
Our sympathetic nervous systems are designed to respond immediately to stress to help us deal with any perceived threat. When the stress subsides, we go back to our normal state of functioning with our para-sympathetic nervous system in control. This helps us to normally digest, repair, renew, heal, respond, and sleep. Our bodies are designed to have a 'stress reaction' only about once or twice a month. But for many of us, we can get stuck in a chronic, or low-level stress response and not even realize it until our health suffers.
There are many 'hidden' stressors today besides emotional stress, life changes and trauma's from early life. We have higher level of toxins, nutritional deficiencies, huge amounts of EMF stress from electronics, financial stress continues to rise, and even 'societal' stress from our media, politics, wars and violence can perpetuate daily inner chronic stress.
There's really no 'one size fits all' for a stress supplement. Each individual can be at one of many different stages or levels of stress, and experience a number of health challenges. As a Naturopathic Doctor I utilize Iridology and kinesiology, as well as the Vital Scan HRV test, to determine how stress is impacting your health on many levels.
~ Sometimes, our digestion starts to suffer. In the early stages we are going and going and don't realize that we don't have as many metabolic resources (energy) available to continue our daily bodily functions, like digesting. Look at how many people are on antacids? Even good elimination can become challenged. Our assimilation of nutrients from our food can also reduce.
~ Sometimes, our energy gets depleted when our adrenals have experienced chronic stress over an extended time. We can actually become too exhausted to sleep well! The energy production of our cells (ATP) is greatly diminished. We can turn to sugar, energy drinks, and caffeine for a quick fix but that will just exacerbate the problem making it worse over time.
~ Sometimes, our thyroid gland starts to reduce it's functioning and our metabolism gets sluggish. We can gain weight easily, belly fat appears, our hair starts to thin or fall out, and we may become depressed and feel sluggish, etc.
~ Sometimes, our blood sugar becomes a problem. Our body has been turning glycogen into glucose for extra energy, and using all our resources to keep going. We can become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), then insulin resistant (pre-diabetic), and eventually can get hyperglycemia (diabetes). Why do you think so many people have to avoid sugars and starches now?
~ Sometimes, our neurotransmitters become chronically low. When our GABA, Seratonin, and Dopamine are low, we can experience chronic worry, anxiety, tension, and even depression, and insomnia. These neurotransmitters are sent out from our brain help to regulate and relax the excitability of the nerves, create 'happy' hormones, and feel good overall.
~ Sometimes, our immune system starts to weaken. We an easily catch respiratory ailments like colds, flu, or sinus infections, and it can take us much longer to recover, even weeks instead of days.
~ Sometimes, our sex drive goes down as our body will start reducing energy flow to our reproductive system (which is not vital to life) to increase energy requirements for our other functions, which are over stressed.
~ Sometimes, our cardiovascular system becomes stressed and our arteries can get congested and inflamed, reducing our circulation and increasing our risk for stroke or heart attack. You may notice having difficulty walking up and down hills, or any endurance exercise. Blood pressure may also become a problem.
~ Sometimes, our aging starts to increase and we notice more wrinkles, thinner skin, aching or stiffer joints, and many other signs. Stress greatly increases the free-radical production in our bodies which can cause damage to the cells. Anti-oxidants are even more necessary to fight this.
You might have a few of these symptoms, or you could have many! One thing is for sure, if you remain in a chronic (even hidden) stress response and don't do anything about it, these symptoms will start to add up until it totally gets your attention! You could have ALL of these symptoms to deal with when you get to the later stages, which can take much longer to recover from.
This is why it is ideal to have an annual comprehensive health analysis to see how your body is doing, and what it needs to repair, relax, strengthen, and renew itself. The Vital Scan Heart Rate Variability test is the most comprehensive, yet inexpensive, test there is to determine the effects of stress on your entire system. Even Heart Math Institute uses and recognizes that this test is the most accurate and efficient test to determine the health of the individual in relation to stress. The National Institute of Health recognizes that over 90%, if not 100%, of ALL health conditions have an underlying stress as it's main cause.
Just healing or masking our symptoms will not make it all go away. We also have to determine what the underlying stressor is and attempt to reduce or eliminate it completely to fully recover. This can take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years, depending on how far the symptoms have affected your body. So please don't let it get too far! Be sure to take good care of yourself and recognize when you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Going to a good Naturopathic doctor who uses the Vital Scan HRV test can help us naturally determine what is needed and naturally apply corrections. Your health and vitality CAN renew itself! Don't put it off.
Jane Smolnik, is a Naturopathic Doctor and Iridologist with almost 30 years experience in the natural health field. Her practice is in Asheville, NC, yet she works with people from all over the country. Her main focus is determining the effects of stress and applying natural therapies for correction. You can visit her websites for more info at: www.UltimateHealing.com and www.AdrenalMasters.com.
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