Stress. It’s something all of us experience. Whether it be acute and sudden or more chronic and ongoing, we all have some form of negative stress in our lives.
But ever wonder what stress does to our bodies and brains? In short it forms adaptation.
Picture a goldfish in a tank. For that gold fish to be healthy, the water has to be clean and it needs to have fuel to sustain itself. But if the water becomes dirty and we forget to feed it, well that goldfish is not going to be able to survive and thrive. It either becomes sick and develops disease or it dies.
See we are the gold fish and our lifestyles is the tank water. When our lifestyles becomes toxic and unhealthy, we fail to thrive. We then become sick and start developing disease. So what’s the fix? Keep your ‘tank water’ clean.
So what makes up the tank water? Well it’s our stresses. Stress is commonly thought of as mental stress. But if we consider that there are other forms, it may make more sense as to why our bodies react the way it does to our habits. There is physical stressors, biochemical stressors and emotional stressors that make up our lifestyles. There are both positive forms of it and are negative forms of it. Read more about it in this blog (link to previous blog).
When our environment becomes non-congruent with supporting normal function, our bodies start to make changes to temporarily cope. If we create a stressed-out environment, our bodies start producing a stress response as a reaction to it. Remember this stress response is designed to be temporary, it’s not designed to be permanent. If our lifestyles reflect that this stressed out environment is going to be a long-term thing, our brain and body adapts and now creates a more permanent pattern.
So, what’s the problem with that. Well put simply, our body is a delicate ecosystem, with each organ system working harmoniously with the other. If we force a lifestyle that interferes with that, then every organ system is stressed out and has to work beyond its comfort zone and optimal. This is the simplest way to explain why prolonged negative stress negatively affects our brain and body.
Consider what your lifestyle is like. Is it helping to preserve the function of your body or is stressing out your brain and body? Remember prevention is better than cure.