Our body are a curious thing. While we rarely have to hunt for food or fight off wild animals, our bodies still reflect the physiology it would need to handle such stresses, thus our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Our bodies have evolved to manage stress. The parasympathetic nervous system manages stresses or changes in status, in a passive way that doesn’t require immediate reaction. The sympathetic nervous system controls the so-called “fight or flight reactions.” These actions are immediate responses.
Stress Awareness Month, sponsored by the Health Resource Network (HRN), is a time to reflect on the causes and cures of stress in our lives. We don’t face the same challenges in today’s world, yet our bodies react as if we do whether or not the threat exists. For example, in a stressed situation, our bodies are reacting to be alert as a response to an immediate threat. During such episodes, the hormones that would energize and relax us are suppressed.
Sensing a fight or flight situation, our bodies respond by increasing their heart rate. Under such circumstances, blood cannot clot properly. If we are programmed to stay in such a state, the impact on our hearts can be deadly. How else would the body react in a fight or flight situation? You would be ready to move, to escape some kind of danger. Your muscles would be tense, anticipating action. In such a state, we are vulnerable to injury. Our bodies focus energy on diffusing the stress. Blood flow is diverted from digestive processes. Over time, this can create gastro-intestinal distress.
Stress Awareness Month reminds us not to create situations either physically or mentally that our bodies will interpret as fight or flight. Rather it encourages us to find outlets for stress and let our bodies focus on processes that will make us feel good.
Good to see another
stress management professional sharing information. Throughout this entire month, we truly need to take the time to examine our lives and do whatever it takes to manage stress....even if that means getting rid of some things and people in our lives