Can Stress Make You Sick?
Majority of people in the western world live their lives under the influence of the stress hormones, without even understanding how stress can damage their body and mind. Often, only when they hit a point in crises and sickness they realize that they should be doing something different.
So, can stress make you sick? What do you think?
3 Types of Stress
According to dr. Joe Dispenza, there are 3 types of stress and each one of them kicks your body out of balance.
- Physical stress such as temperature, accidents, injury, and trauma.
- Chemical stress such as viruses, bacteria, hormones, heavy metals, blood sugar levels, food, and alcohol.
- Emotional stress such as traffic, mortgages, angry customer, internet connection, planning a wedding or keeping surprise party secret.
All organisms in nature can tolerate short-term stress but living in emergency mode for extended periods of time causes the stress hormones to dysregulate genes to create disease.
Your Thoughts Can Make You Sick
If antelope got chased by a lion, and it runs away, 15 minutes later the stress is over.
It doesn’t keep thinking of stressful event and it doesn’t keep recounting that event with fellow antelopes.
People are different. We can activate a stress response just by a thought alone.
Let’s say you begin to think about unhappy past event. When you bring your past memory into life, your subconscious mind believes that you experience that event in a present moment, and now, that stress is just as real as if it were a threat to your existence and your survival.
If you focus on that memory with an exclusion of anything else, you can kick your body out of physical balance.
The same thing will happen if you keep imagining some future worst-case scenario. If you focus all your attention on that case scenario, your subconscious mind believes that you experience that event in the present moment and if you keep repeating that for a long time, your body will get out of balance.
So, if you can activate stress response just by thought alone, which then causes stress hormones to dysregulate genes which then create disease, it comes out that your thoughts can make you sick.
You are Addicted to Your Thoughts
According to dr. Joe Dispenza, stress hormones act like a drug. They give our body and brain a rush of energy and we become addicted to the adrenalin in the stress hormones. We then use our problems and conditions as well as people in our lives to reaffirm our emotional addiction.
When a person is in a bad relationship or has a bad job – it’s because the person needs that to reaffirm their emotional addiction.
Given that we can activate stress response just by our thoughts and that the stress hormones act like a drug, it comes out that we could become addicted to our own thoughts.
When we think certain thoughts, these thoughts make certain chemicals and we feel the certain way. Those feelings then drive the same thoughts.
For example, if you have fearful thoughts you will start to feel fearful and the moment you feel fearful you will think more fearful thoughts.
If you do that for years, you become very familiar with those thoughts and feelings. And when you say I’m afraid – you’re commanding your body and mind to reaffirm who you think you are.
When you stop thinking fearful thoughts and producing chemicals that cause you to feel that way, your body will start sending signals back to your brain asking for familiar feelings. The choice is yours!
Understanding the Stress Response
In 1936 the biologist Hans Selye created “General Adaptation Syndrome” – stress response model, which explains three stage bodily response to stress.
Alarm Phase – in the 1. phase of stress we are immediately presented with a danger and our nervous system protects us from a threat. Sympathetic nervous system, which controls fight and flight response takes control – it moves blood away from our digestive organs because if you’re about to get eaten by the predator, it is not the time to digest your meal.
Adrenals release hormones – adrenalin which changes blood pressure flow throughout the body and cortisol which increases blood sugar levels so that we have fuel available from our muscles in order to deal with that stressful situation.
Ideally, we would come out of a stressful situation and back to a place of parasympathetic nervous system dominance, where we are in a relaxed state, where we rest and digest and where we would be able to heal any damage that might have occurred when we were under a threat.
Resistance Phase – if stress persists, the body shifts to Resistance phase or Adaptation phase, because we can’t exist in alarm phase for an extended period. In this stage adrenalin levels have dropped, but cortisol level remains high. Cortisol increases blood sugar level that in turn stimulates a release of insulin to help to deal with that high blood sugar level.
When the blood sugar level is high, insulin level increases and changes how our body response to fuel. We need to keep sugar available in our bloodstreams, so we can energize our muscles and scape, but insulin also encourages the formation of fat so when there’s a long period of stress the body can shift composition, which leads to muscle wasting.
Cortisol starts breaking down amino acids to turn them into the sugar to have it available for fuel. It can also start breaking down bone tissues, so we have minerals available for bloodstream to use.
There are also early changes that eventually can lead to osteoporosis because cortisol level is stilling minerals from the bones in order to deal with survival.
Cortisol slows down thyroid production. It would also suppress the immune system. If you’re about to be eaten by a predator, it’s not the time to be fighting of cold or flu, so we may become more sensitive to cold and flu as well as other infections while our body is trying to balance immediate concerns with long-term survival.
Exhaustion Phase – if stress continues, it ends up in exhaustion state. At this point, blood sugar levels are still high. Cortisol level has dropped, and adrenals cannot come up anymore. Now there are more inflammation, more joint pain and increased damage to the cardiovascular system.
You Can Prevent Disease from Coming
Feelings and emotions are the end products of past experiences. Emotions derived from the hormones of stress such as fear and anger keep knocking your body out of balance.
When you react to something in your life, there’s always a change in your chemical state, and if you do that for years and don’t know how to control your emotional reaction to the event, you better prepare yourself for some type of disease.
Stress hormones cause us to believe that the outer world is more real than the inner world, so usually, people have to hit the point in crises when they finally start to take their attention from their outer world. When they turn inward, that’s usually the time when they get ready for recovery.
There will always be stress, but it’s important how quickly we can come out of an emergency mode and find balance and strength again.
You can help to keep your body in balance by applying simple daily routine such as setting a regular bedtime and wake up time, nourishing yourself with good quality foods and water, keeping blood sugar level within a normal range, exercising, meditation, breathing exercise, setting positive attitude and focusing on gratitude.
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