◾Definition of stress: The term “Stress” was first coined in the 1930′s by Hans Selye. ◾He defined stress as an inadequate physiological response to any demand.
◾Stress refers to some kind of condition and a stressor to the stimulus causing the response.
◾Selye studied stress and created the General adaption Syndrome.
Stress and our bodies are not new. For the last twenty years stress and stressors have been a common theme in the media, in the workplace, even at home.
Just watch a little television and we are bombarded with ads to “reduce our stress” with this pill or that contraption. The American culture is obsessed with stress. Look at the sitcoms and cartoons satirizing the stress of society.
◾Briefly there are three phases: ◾The first phase is the Alarm stage. As it implies this is when your body first notices the stressor.
◾The second phase is Resistance. In this phase the body tries to cope with the ongoing stimulus.
◾The third phase is Exhaustion. As the name implies, the body is out of gas and can NOT efficiently manage the stressor.
We all have experienced different levels of stress in our lives. At times we are better equipped to handle the stress than at others. This directly relates to the research of Selye. You were more than likely in the third phase: Exhaustion.
Have you ever thought about what stress REALLY does to our bodies?
First we discuss the physiological effects of stress on our bodies. What you will learn, may surprise you.
Stress effects all the systems in our bodies, yet the body has ways to adapt to the internal and external stress and keeps us going.
There are four neurotransmitters in the brain. They regulate all the systems in our bodies. Stress disrupts the flow of the neurotransmitters in the brain causing the body to systematically shut down. As a result, your body begins to age dramatically.
So what are these FOUR neurotransmitters?
◾Dopamine which keeps your brain firing rapidly.
◾Acetylcholine which plays a role in memory.
◾GABA which is in charge of anxiety/pain responses.
◾Serotonin the bodies restoration.
When these neurotransmitters are disrupted it leads to the following:
◾The aging of your heart.
◾The brain loses the ability to produce the chemical messengers.
◾The brains speed of processing slows down.
◾Blood vessels shrink.
◾Your thyroid does NOT work efficiently.
◾Hormone loss begins in both men and women.
◾Your bones become brittle and lose their density.
◾Your skin loses elasticity.
◾Your immune system weakens.
Stress and the immune system:
Your immune system is an AMAZING system. Of the trillions of cells most of them are immune cells. Every moment of every day, these cells are hard at work protecting us. Our immune system is composed of many different part and type of cells. Your small intestine is lined with immune cells. The body is designed to attack invaders. Once the body destroys an invader, it is now equipped to handle it if it is reintroduced. Stress lowers the efficiency of the immune system. An example is with allergies. They are caused when the immune system over reacts to a stimulus that is not a threat. The bodies natural defense system creates symptoms, such as itching or wheezing.
Stress and the Body/Immune System