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            There are many definitions of stress depending on the perspective from which you view it. However, one thing is for certain and stress absolutely affects each of the four dimensions of health: the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  On the physical level there are many negative effects which all lead towards reduced immunity from all kinds of  illness and disease. The body’s stress response begins in the brain where a message is sent through the endocrine system to release the hormones which mobilize us to fend off the stress.  Unfortunately, this stress response was geared more towards fighting off lions, tigers and bears rather than an unruly client or an irate spouse! 

The problem becomes exasperated by the environments that we work and live in.  Today’s environment both inside and outside provides stressors we never before imagined or encountered all at one time. Computers, terrorists, ecological disaster, financial instability, fragmented families, identity theft, addictions, threatened food sources, the list goes on.    Because hormones and blood chemicals do not know the difference between a hungry bear, an angry boss, or a scary movie, the body's response to incoming stress is the same. It doesn't matter whether the stressor is real or imagined....it's all the same. 

The indisputable result is that our bodies are constantly flooded with stress hormones giving us limited time for homeostasis or balance to occur and instead creating a heightened potential for great harm to the internal organs.  The heart and arteries become worn out. Repeated release of glucose and suppression of insulin sets the stage for diabetes, often resulting in severe nerve damage. And, a constant barrage of glucocorticoids desensitizes the immune system into a state of suppression creating the increased possibility for all disease. Constant stress has also been linked to, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility, and chronic pain of all sorts.

Emotionally and mentally the story is the same.  The hormones secreted to mobilize the body also affect our emotions and thinking processes.  Depression, mood swings, lack of motivation, irritability, addictions, lack of concentration, despair, fear, doubt are all possible and likely results of stress in the environment.

There are some common myths about stress.  One of those myths is that stress is the same for everyone.  This is not true. How we respond and react to the stressors in our lives varies from person to person.  We all respond differently depending on genetics, families, and cultural influences.  Another myth is ‘no symptoms, no stress’. Absence of symptoms does not mean the absence of stress. The use of alcohol and/or medications, may deprive you of the signals you need for reducing the strain on your physiological and psychological systems.  Some believe that ignoring the "minor" symptoms, such as headaches or stomach acid, may be safe.  However, minor symptoms of stress are the early warnings that your life is getting out of hand and that you need to do.

Identifying the stressors in our lives is helpful.  However, regardless of the source the effects are the same and it’s imperative to include some form of practice in our lives that is specifically geared to reducing the effects.


For more information please contact:

Ida Cullen, Time & Space Consulting
560 Main St. Suite 2C
PO Box 45
Allenhurst, NJ , 07711
Telephone: (732) 531.9013

© Ida Cullen • Time & Space Consulting, PO Box 45, Allenhurst, NJ 07711 • (732) 531-9013