Have you ever felt like you had so much to do that you can’t focus on anything? Have you laid awake at night unable to sleep because your mind is racing? Have you had such a stressful day that your body feels run down and sore?
Chronic stress strains the whole body by over-activating our sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response), releasing stress hormones like cortisol, making our breathing shallow and fast, and sending our heart rates up and our HRV (Heart Rate Variability) down.
When the fight-or-flight response is active frequently it makes it physiologically harder to focus, meditate, relax, sleep, or even exercise because our body and mind are both signaling each other that we are under threat and need to be escaping danger, not sleeping or focusing on our work.
Sleep, meditation, relaxation practices and regular exercise help us to recover from stress by engaging the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, but they are all physically and mentally harder to do when we’re overwhelmed by chronic stress.
When left unchecked, chronic stress increases your risk of developing insomnia, anxiety-disorders, depression, and chronic pain.
Chronic stress exhausts us, makes us unhappy, disrupts our mood, causes tension and pain, and impairs our life.
The autonomic nervous system governs all the activity in our body from our heart beat, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and hormones to our digestion, blood flow, how much sugar is in our blood, our vision, our reproduction, and the list goes on and on.
Our health and survival (no kidding) are dependent on the dynamic relationships between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system: the parasympathetic (rest and digest) branch and the sympathetic (fight or flight) branch. Pay now or pay later!
The problem is that chronic stress from modern life is constantly sending signals to our bodies that we’re under threat. This excess of activity in our fight-or-flight response has real consequences for our wellbeing and our long-term health. Hugs