Stress the Silent Culprit

Constant stress is annoying all by its self, but did you ever consider that constant stress could be contributing to disease? It can and does if the stress becomes chronic. Below are several ways that chronic stress can contribute to disease processes in the body:

  • When we are stressed the body produces adrenaline so that we can run from or fight off the threat. Adrenaline is very toxic to the body and since we are not running from or fighting off the threat and using up the adrenaline, it lingers in the body like battery acid, doing damage.
  • When the body perceives a situation as stressful it prepares to defend itself. One of the ways it does this is by shutting down systems that the body does not need to defend itself. One of those systems is your immune system. I am sure you have experienced this – think back to a time when you were frequently stressed and how easy it was for you to catch colds or get sick in another way. Our immune system needs to be ever vigilant to protect us from viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
  • One of the other systems that shuts down when we are stressed is our digestive system. No wonder so many people have digestive issues. I always recommend that once you sit down for a meal that you take a few deep breaths and say grace to give your body a moment to step out of the stress state and redirect your energy back to your digestive system. The type of food we eat as well as how well we digest the food is important to our health and wellbeing.
  • Chronic stress is very draining. As the body prepares to flee all energy is directed to the arms and legs and away the bodies core. This process wears us down. This is why some people are worn out mid-day. This process is like speeding from light to light as you drive home – you are going to use more gas this way and put more wear and tear on your vehicle. The same is true for our body when in a constantly stressed state.
  • Cortisol is necessary to keep us awake throughout the day, but excess cortisol produced by chronic stress can start to negatively affect our sleep. Sleep is an important time for the body to cleanse and regenerate and if it is not able to run through these processes because we are not getting good sleep it starts to gunk up the body.
  • Between excess cortisol and adrenaline chronic iInflammation can become a problem. There is a school of thought that chronic inflammation is the precursor to all disease. It certainly can have a negative affect. Think of a time when you were really stressed and how your neck or shoulders were tight or achy. This was likely caused by inflammation.

As you can see by the above list there are many ways that stress can be detrimental to our health and wellbeing. Below are links to a couple other articles on stress and disease as well as resources that can help you manage your stress.

Stress and Disease Articles:

https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems#1

https://chopra.com/articles/chronic-stress-and-inflammation-the-hidden-culprits-behind-disease-and-how-to-eliminate

Stress Management Resources:

Lifestyle Management Program with Cigna is FREE to those covered by the health insurance plan. You can call 866.494.2111 or go online to myCigna.com to access the program.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) allows for 5 FREE one-on-one counseling visits which can be utilized for stress management. You can call 877.622.4327 or go online to myCigna.com employer ID: lpr to access the EAP benefits.

Man Therapy is an online resource that can direct you to other resources for all kinds of mental health subjects. You can find them at this link

If you find that you have developed a chronic condition and need some guidance on how to best manage it Cigna offers a Chronic Condition Coaching Program for FREE. With some disease coaching and stress management you might be surprised at how much better you can feel. If you want to know more about chronic condition coaching or want to sign up you can access support by either calling 866.494.2111 to get assigned a contact or by using the online tools found at myCigna.com

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