When we were dealing with sabre toothed tigers and woolly mammoths we either played dead, we fought, or we ran away. These options allowed our bodies to put to good use the fight or flight hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, generated in response to threatening situation.
After fooling the mammoth, running away from the tiger or fighting either, our bodies would be able to return to a much calmer state as the levels of hormones dropped back down to normal (or we wouldn't have made it out alive, in which case the rest of this article would become pointless!)
Thankfully, modern day life has a distinct lack of sabre toothed tigers and woolly mammoths! On the downside, these threats have been replaced by many more stressful situations and anxious moments, most of which don’t come with an opportunity to play dead, fight or flee.
If you think about your average day at work - how many stress points do you hit? 3, 7, 10, 20?
Think about anything that regularly causes you anxiety or stress, from the little stuff like getting your family all up and moving in time for the day ahead, forgetting your lunch/drink/sports kit. getting caught in traffic, finding a full inbox etc. etc. all the way through to the big stuff like deadlines for delivery, family pressures, worries over your health, and so on.
Count your stress points up again - bet you have more now, don't you?!
These stress points build up throughout your day, repeatedly triggering the release of our flight or fight hormones. Your body spend more and more time on “red alert” without the necessary activity to use up the hormones. As a result, it’s really difficult for your body to be able to get back to a normal, calm and balanced state.
When the fight or flight response is activated, it impacts every single system within your body so that you can either play dead, fight or flee. For example, things like blood flow being diverted to major muscles and your breathing being modified to so that you can take quick physical action. Another example is that your digestive and immune systems are suppressed because you don’t need to digest last night’s meal, or deal with the sniffle when you are in danger of becoming a meal yourself.
All of this is fine and dandy when the impact is short term, counted in minutes. When the impact last throughout the day, or a substantial part of it, the problems are more significant. You are not designed to spend large amounts of time with blood diverted to major muscles, or your digestive and immune systems subdued.
The long and short of it is that your general health will begin to be affected – headaches, picking up colds more often, struggling to concentrate, having digestive issues such as IBS and intolerances, fatigue, being aware of stress and anxiety – the list goes on and on. Eventually, your body will stick out the “FULL” sign and put you in bed so that you are forced to rest and recuperate.
The answer is not to tackle the symptom, but to tackle the cause – to look at what is driving the stress, the anxiety. Most of us can usually pinpoint this bit quite quickly – the tricky bit is working out what to do about it, and then actually DOING it.
That’s where I come in! I come armed with knowledge of the impact of stress on our systems and combine this with established coaching techniques that focus on your health and wellbeing to help you to tackle all three steps – pinpoint the stresses, work out plans, put them into action – so that you can take back control of your health, make change and get your life back.
Contact me if you would like to know more http://www.reconnectingyou.co.uk/Back to blog