Most of us know a little about stress. We hear about it so much it’s become cliche. But how much do you really know about what happens in the body when we’re stressed?
Stress begins in our mind. We perceive a threat, get startled, or even think ourselves into a stress response with our worrying or anticipation. Once our brain is convinced there is some kind of threat, a small gland above our kidneys takes over.
Our adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys, right by the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava, two of the largest blood vessels in the body. The hypothalamus, a very important gland in the brain, stimulates the adrenal glands, which release stress hormones into our bloodstream. Think about how quickly you feel your heart speed up after hearing a loud noise, feeling something unexpected touch you, or seeing flashing lights in your rear view mirror. In an instant you had to detect the threat, your brain had to process it, stimulate the hypothalamus to stimulate the adrenal glands, secrete the stress hormone and have it travel through your bloodstreeam. It’s amazing how fast that happens!
Then there’s prolonged or chronic stress, repetitive events or activities that put a strain on our body. Could be work, junk food, smoking, pain in the butt relatives… you get what I mean. Our body responds in a similar way to these events, with increased cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormone raises blood pressure, blood sugar, dialates the pupils, changes the brain to rely more on stored muscle memory rather than cognitive frontal lobe activity, sends blood away from our organs and to our muscles… it helps us to SURVIVE! And it’s good! For short bursts, not for every day, hours on end, day and night…
This can weaken our cardiovascular system, digestion, immunity (click HERE for more about immunity), brain/nervous system, and so much more! So what do you do? Here are 3 easy tips to help these little guys out:
1) Avoid or Adapt
There are definitely ways we can avoid stress and stressful situations, but sometimes we can’t. It is ineveitable that we’ll have stress in our lives. So we need to focus on adapting to it. In this article we talked briefly about how exercise can help you adapt to the stress you experience.
2) Mind over Matter
With regular practice we can overide some of the mental activity that stimulates the stress response. Meditation, prayer as well as activities like yoga can decrease the stress response and establish better thought patterns to help in the future.
Most of our diets lack the proper vitamins and minerals that nourish our glands. There are also a lot of chemicals we encounter that interfere with our hormones (called endocrine disruptors) like BPA. This, as well as the fact that most of us are wearing out our adrenal glands makes it ESSENTIAL that we give these glands the right nutrition. We carry products in our office which directly feed the part of the endocrine system that needs it. We also have the highest quality whole food type supplements to nourish the body and the endocrine system. And we use the highest quality naturally sourced herbs, since they have been shown to cause a quicker physiological change in the tissues they effect. More information can be found HERE.
The endocrine system is a massively tangled web, where one part affects multiple others, turning some pathways on or off, then affecting a bunch more . Adrenal exhaustion directly affects the thyroid gland, leading to many false diagnoses of thyroid problems that are actually just adrenal fatigue. It also affects the sex hormones, the pancreas, Para-thyroid, liver, immune system, digestive system, and well, most every other body system directly or indirectly. For more information about the thyroid/adrenal connection take a look at www.stopthethyroidmadness.com
Whether you want to start meditating, get into a better exercise routine, or find the right products to help with your stress, we can help. Call or message us to schedule a free consult. You’ll be glad you did.