Today, everything seems to be stressful. We’ve just gotten through the 15-month lockdown that left us experiencing collective trauma. Things are open. At last. But there are jobs lost, new rules of doing business, new rules of dating, new rules of living, actually. Masks are off. But will they stay there? Do we shake hands yet? Can we hug strangers? 2 in 3 adults say that the number of issues we’re facing is overwhelming to them. Wired, keyed up, agitated…it can really take a bite out of your health. But thankfully we have stress hormones.
THE SABRE-TOOTHED TIGER EFFECT
Before we go any further, let’s debunk one myth; stress is not necessarily always a bad thing. Without our body’s brilliant ability to feel stress, humankind wouldn’t have survived. Just ask our cavemen ancestors. Stress was what alerted them to potential dangers like the long terrifying canines of a ferocious saber-tooth tiger. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals to prepare the body for physical action. Through the release of these hormones, caveman gained a rush of energy, which prepared him to either fight the tiger or run away. If he just froze, he’d become a great dinner. We haven’t had to face these beasts in, oh, 10,000 years or so, but even encountering a large Pitbull barking at you on your morning run can set the stress response off just as much.
AND ON AND ON AND ON IT GOES…
There are two types of stress; acute, and chronic. Acute stress is one of the least damaging types of stress, which is good because it is also the most common type. We experience acute stress multiple times throughout the day. Acute stress is experienced as an immediate perceived threat, either physical, emotional, or psychological. These threats don’t even need to be intensely threatening—you’ve lost your phone, you’ve fought with your partner, you’ve felt restrained road rage during killer traffic jams. Which are back again post-Covid. Chronic stress occurs when the body experiences stressors with such frequency or intensity that the autonomic nervous system does not have an adequate chance to activate the relaxation response on a regular basis. This means that the body remains in a constant state of physiological arousal. Trouble is, we just weren’t built to maintain high levels of stress for any prolonged time. This affects virtually every system in the body, either directly or indirectly.
HIGH STRUNG STRESS HORMONES
Remember that cocktail of hormones we spoke of that are part of the stress response? Cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and insulin are all work together to prepare you for stressful situations. They raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy supplies so that you become more awake, focused, and generally more responsive. They also help shift blood flow away from areas where it might not be so crucial, like the skin, and toward more essential areas at the time, like the muscles, so you can flee the stressful scene. If one hormone doesn’t have your back, another does.
IF THIS DOESN’T STRESS YOU OUT, WHAT WILL?
There is absolutely nothing good about chronic stress. Nothing. Just look at all it can lead to:
- Weakened immune system
- Raised blood pressure
- Digestive issues
- Food cravings and weight gain
- Sleep apnea
- Depression and anxiety
- Erectile dysfunction
- Cognitive and memory problems
- Accelerated aging process
- Skin conditions such as eczema
- Heart disease
FROM DISTRESS TO DE-STRESS
When it comes to stress tolerance, we’re all different. Some people seem to be able to roll with life’s punches…” I’ve got this”, “no biggie”, “things could be worse”, “someday I’ll laugh about all this”. Other people crumble. Their stress hormones are in a constant misfire, and no amount of “think positively, take deep breaths, smell a rose or try goat yoga”, is going to help. The help they need is balancing their hormones. And the best place to do that is at Denver Hormone Health. Denver Hormone Health has years of advanced training and experience in treating people of all ages for hormones imbalances that could happen for any number of reasons. Like stress. DHH knows all too well the stressors that could be in your everyday life, and you can feel comfortable discussing it all with their caring experts. Even though the country is finally opening up, Covid and the stress of the last 15 months could still be with you. Causing you stress on top of any other stress that could be dragging your health down. Start feeling the best you’ve felt in a long time. Call Denver Hormone Health for an appointment now.