Stress Kills, But What Is It?

Stress is work, traffic, relationships, time, money, kids, etc. We see stress as the outside forces that affect us, make us nervous and tighten our shoulders. We all have our own ways of coping with stress. People play golf, soak in a hot tub, smoke, drink coffee or even over- exercise. In this sense, the solution to managing stress seems simple. But we must consider how our bodies interpret stress and even more important, how stress affects us physically. Whatever the source of the stress, our bodies translate it into pressure and tension; our bodies tighten up in reaction to stress. Regardless of the type of stress, physical reactions may include:

• Artery constriction (heart disease, high-blood pressure and strokes)

• The lymphatic system working overtime (decreased immunity, cancer, etc.)

• The digestive system slowing down (liver problems, digestive difficulties)

• Muscles pulling on the joints (arthritis, inflammation, disc problems)

This is a simplification of what really happens in the body. But it demonstrates the wear and tear that stress may take over time. If your body is consistently tense it may not function properly; every system in the body is challenged to work harder. In essence, you could be forcing your body to operate incorrectly without even realizing it. The best way to isolate stress is to think about how the nervous system is affected.

"You're a bundle of nerves!"

You've heard this before and probably have even been accused of it. Your nerves are connected to the outside world through your senses. The nervous system is one part of the body that may suffer when exposed to the stressful events that bombard us constantly. Negative impact on the nervous system may generate serious physical symptoms. Under stress, the nervous system may become overworked and your perception of the tension in your body can increase. The body may respond with headache, nausea, stiff joints, back pain, etc. Your body taps the nutrients needed to run the nervous system. You may be unable to feel these nutrients being depleted. It is important that needed nutrients are supplied to your nerves.

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