Have you ever considered how your thought processes effect your health? Do you even think thoughts can have any effect? Well this little blog today is all about how you think could be effecting your health. Open your mind and read on…
Have you ever heard the phrase … “As a man thinks in his heart so is he”. This was proposed all the way back in biblical time. Or “In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible” Marcus Tullius Cicero. Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it. Ann Wigmore
This is just a sample of quotes from older times so you know that this concept is not completely new. The more I study and reflect the more I am convinced that our current state of health is directly influenced by our thought life.
Some chronic health disorders it is known for a fact are brought on or enhanced by stress. Stress in the body can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. This is not just a suggestion this is a medical fact and one that GPs diagnose daily in this modern age.
Likewise light living and celebration. Joy and friendships and the most powerful energy known to man, “laughter” can be amazing for health and there have been so many documented cases of people beating health conditions off the back of a shift in thought patterns, more joy and a healthy clean eating regime.
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with a stress related illness? Perhaps you are suffering symptoms of something and rather than stopping and looking for the potential cause you are blindly pushing on. I urge you to halt. Stop long enough to decide if you are under stress. Make the necessary changes and see your health improve for the better.
How does this come about?
The mentioned stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles are poised ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency. It prepares you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps activated, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.
Central nervous and endocrine systems
Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus kicks in and tells your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones speed up your heartbeat. That sends blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.
When the perceived fear is gone, the body should tell all systems to return back to normal. If the central nervous system fails to return to normal, or if the stress doesn’t go away, the response will continue.
Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviours such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.
Respiratory and cardiovascular systems
Stress hormones also affect your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Stress response causes you to breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress makes it even harder to breathe.
Hearts pumps faster under stress. Then stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.
Frequent or chronic stress will work the heart too hard for too long. When blood pressure rises, so to does your risks for stroke or heart attacks.
Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you an energy boost. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Digestive systems are also be upset by the rush of hormones leading to rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. You are more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux thanks to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers as such, but it can increase your risk for them and cause existing ulcers to act up.
The way food moves through your body can also be affected by stress, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.
Our Immune system
Stress stimulates our immune system, this is another natural and necessary response. It can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds.
Over time however the stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to health invaders. Under chronic stress people are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the common cold and flu, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.
Sexuality and reproductive system
Stress is exhausting for both the body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose your sexual desire when you’re under constant stress. Short-term stress may cause men to produce more of the male hormone testosterone, this effect doesn’t last. Woman tend to lose sex drive also.
If stress continues for a long time, man’s testosterone levels can begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase risk of infection for male reproductive organs like the prostate and testes.
For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.
Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax.
Tight muscles cause back and shoulder pain, headaches and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.
The symptoms go on and on. So do you still think the way you think does not impact your health? I hope this will help you to understand what your body potentially faces when you are under stress or gives you an insight into your loved ones.
But it is not all doom and gloom. Once you recognise that you are likely under stress and showing signs in your health you can start to make changes. Things like meditation, quiet times, massage and gratitudes all can help and that list is very brief compared to whats out there and available. I am going to blog soon about ways to reduce the effects of stress on your life and body. This will I hope go along way to setting some of those suffering stress effects on the right path to better health.
But for now I will say that if you find yourself under constant stress or showing these ailments and symptoms over a period of time then please seek ways yourself to reduce the stress or improve the ways your dealing with your stress in your life. Your longevity and overall body health relies on it.
Until next time.. Stay well everyone