What Is STRESS?
Yes, our body is intelligent, but surprisingly it does not know how to differentiate between the various types of stressors.
Believe it or not, it perceives all of them the same way!
These are a few examples of stressors:
· Stressful or toxic relationships
· Over scheduled life
· No time for fun and play
· Overload of work hours
· Environmental pollution
· Exposure to chemicals and toxins
· Heavy metal toxicity
· Bio mechanical misalignments
· Lack of adequate sleep hours and rest
· Poor diets
· Lack of purpose
· Lack of community
Your body creates the same stress response to all of the above stressors!
What Is the HPA Axis and what is a Stress Response?
Stress is the hidden culprit for the degradation of health, dysfunction and disease. Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced world, who doesn’t encounter stress?
So let’s start from the very beginning, where stress is born - The Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis, otherwise known as the HPA Axis.
The Hypothalamus is a gland in a small region of the brain. The most important function of the Hypothalamus is to link the nervous system and endocrine system with the assistance of the pituitary gland.
Once the body is exposed to stress, the Hypothalamus senses it, and signals the pituitary gland to stimulate the Adrenal glands which secrete the stress hormones Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, and Cortisol. This is referred to as the HPA Axis (the Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal Axis) stress response.
What happens during a stress response???
Most of you are probably familiar with the fight or flight mode which is designed for acute stress situations. The heart pumps faster, the blood rushes away from digestion to the extremities, Cortisol and Adrenaline are secreted, and blood sugar rises to provide the body with the energy that it needs to either fight or flight (escape) from threatening situations.
In the right doses, Cortisol is a wonderful hormone that gives us energy and vitality. Our bodies must have healthy balanced amounts of Cortisol for good sustainable energy levels at all times, and extra secretion only for acute threatening and stressful situations for short periods of time!
You are probably wondering what happens if stress becomes chronic, and becomes an integrated part of every day life?
When stress becomes chronic, cortisol becomes inflammatory instead of anti-inflammatory. It suppresses immune function, and the constant blood sugar spikes (remember, cortisol stimulates blood sugar elevation) become a serious health issue that can cause irritability, weight gain, mood swings, insulin intolerance and Metabolic Chaos.