Some of the effects of stress include nail biting, anxiety, a racing mind, obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior, unending worry, muscle tension and spasm, poor appetite or too great an appetite, digestive disorders, constipation, insomnia, poor blood flow, labored breathing, neck pain, shoulder tension and back pain. Prolonged stress can also lead to the possible onset or continuation of bad habits such as dependence on alcohol, drugs, pain killers, food and caffeine. Any one of these things by itself can trigger any number of different types of illnesses. Its’ triggers can be prevented from taking control of your body.
The Physiology of Stress : Stress means different things to different people. What each individual considers to be stressful is a matter of perception. There are many kinds of stressors – physical (the response to being frightened), emotional (loss of a loved one), psychological (obsessive thoughts), spiritual (loss of faith) and psychosomatic (the need for attention).
When you are confronted with a danger, your body automatically prepares you to deal with the anticipated stressful situation by focusing your attention, pumping more blood into your muscles for readiness and by sending adrenaline through your system. It is this response that helps protect the body and return it again to homeostasis. Too much stress or stress left unresolved for long, leads to biological damage.
Stress and the Mind/Body Connection: Illnesses that have no apparent definable biological cause yet do contain a mental/emotional/psychological component, are clinically termed “psychosomatic.” A better term to use and one that is central to the theme of Natural Health Sciences is mind/body. Psychosomatic illnesses are those which concurrently manifest both physical and mental components and are those directly related to emotional disharmony and the stresses of life and our lifestyle choices.
Consider the average day in the life of a corporate worker: Wake up early, skip breakfast and rush to the office; begin harboring stress and anxiety while watching the clock sitting in traffic; sit all day at the computer and on the phone; take breaks not to stretch and take deep breaths of fresh air, but to artificially stimulate the body to work harder through taking a cigarette and coffee break; then back to work pushing productivity in an attempt to meet expectations where stress and tensions rise and take hold of the body; after work, to relax, office co-workers are joined for happy hour, where the body is filled with more caffeine, cigarettes and now alcohol has been added. Round and round, day after day, until the body rebels and “tells” you something is very wrong by way of an ulcer, gastrointestinal disorder or chronic pain in some form.
All of this from a so-called “make believe” diagnosis called psychosomatic. You can now see what traditional healers have known all along: that the mind, body, physical and emotional states are interconnected as intricately as the world-wide-web, and equally interdependent in terms of illness, pain and healing.