April is Stress Awareness month. Did you know? So if you feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, no matter how frequently you find yourself in that position, keep reading…
Stress is an addiction! There, I said it. It really is.
We are engulfed in stress. There is stress in our personal lives, our jobs, our countries, the world. There are a million things I can write about each one of these areas, but that's not the point I want to bring across to you today. This is: experiencing stress everywhere makes us tolerate it more, but it also makes us think "it's normal" to be totally emerged in it.
But what does stress do to you in particular?? And how might the western medicine system be making things worse?
1. Physiologically, it activates hormones that interplay with our nervous system, altering the brain's chemistry. Chronic stress affects the size, structure and function of the brain. You read that correctly.
2. Emotionally, it gives us a push, a rush, a motivation- no wonder why a lot of us simply cannot function unless we feel some sort of stress. More to this, let's take a quick look at the extreme sports fans or “addicts”: when asked, they’ll tell you more or less verbatim that they need the adrenaline rush. Also, I don’t know about you, but I hear a lot of people saying “I can only function under pressure”. London living, or living in any big city does it for you.
Stress addiction at its finest.
3. And then we have the medical system. The western paradigm of disease treatment is heavily reliant on steroid medication to treat a number of different issues, from asthma to joint & stomach problems. Steroids produce the stress response in the body. One of the most well-known steroid compounds is cortisol. Cortisol, like any other steroid, is a hormone that can dampen the immune system if used long-term. The immune system also gets weakened in cases of prolonged or chronic stress. And to make things worse, steroids are prescribed frequently as a quick solution that actually does not solve the problem itself; it just targets the symptoms. See the problem here...?
So now that I presented you with the above, do you feel a little differenly about it all? Does this information make you want to do anything about the stress you are experiencing?
I surely hope so, because stress is not going anywhere. It's meant to be experienced for a very short period of time, after which the organism is supposed to reach the previous state of equilibrium. Unfortunately we spend our lives in a way that stress is constantly encouraged, circulated & fuelled on a daily basis and longterm. I call it "the stress cycle", and it's what I briefly described in the beginning of this post.
Things become more complicated because stress goes way beyond just being a set of hormone changes or physiological responses. Your mind & your emotional state are informed & affected by your physical state, and vice versa. Think of it as an endless feedback loop of information exchange between your emotions and your physiology. For your human existence there is no such thing as compartmentalisation.
For all these reasons we need to start seeing the bigger picture. Stress, although useful and even healthy in certain cases, is the plague of our times. We have successfully conditioned ourselves to pay no attention to the signs until it’s too late, but this needs to stop because our wellbeing and our ability to enjoy a healthy fulfilling life are on the line.
We need a paradigm shift. And it starts with you.
“What can I do?” People ask me.
Well, you can start by:
1. Paying attention
2. Bringing things into your awareness
3. Reaching out for help
4. Getting the support of an expert
5. Being patient
6. And remember that you do this for you- for your wellbeing, your mind & body. Just as you’d want someone you love to do the same.. 🧡
The Integrative Approach and I are here for all of this! In fact, we’re waiting for you. You can explore more of what I do on my website www.theintegrativeapproach.co.uk
Or - even better - you can quickly arrange a free Capsule Call with me here.
Are you coming?