Life is full of stress. Stress is in every fact of life that we must all deal with. It comes in all shapes and sizes; even our thoughts can cause us stress and make the human body more susceptible to illness. Studies have shown that our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness.
The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follow can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Muscle tension and pain
- Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
The correlation between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the correlation with medical or physical illness. The relationship of stress with psychiatric illness is strongest in neuroses, which is followed by depression and schizophrenia. There are recent studies found a link between stress, tumor development and suppression of natural killer (NK) cells, which is actively involved in preventing metastasis and destroying small metastases.
Stress is negative when it exceeds our ability to cope, fatigues body systems and causes behavioral or physical problems. This harmful stress is called distress. Distress produces overreaction, confusion, poor concentration and performance anxiety and usually results in sub par performance.
There is a growing concern about the increasing cost and prevalence of stress-related disorders; especially in relation to work place. “Worked to death, drop death, work until you drop” are highlighted “work-related death” in the 21st century.
The latest HSE (Health and Safety Executive) analysis of self-reported illnesses rate revealed that stress, depression or anxiety affects 1.3% of the workforce. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of all industrial accidents are related to personal problems and employees’ inability to handle stress.
The morbidity and mortality due to stress-related illness is alarming. Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) of the United States estimates that stress accounts for about 75% of all doctors’ visit. This involves an extremely wide span of physical complaints including, but not limited to headache, back pain, heart problems, upset stomach, stomach ulcer, sleep problems, tiredness and accidents. According to Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on the compensation of insurance, up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints.
The critical factor associated with stress is its chronic effect over time. There are many things that can cause stress, but these are the stressors commonly encountered in daily life. The pent-up anger we hold inside ourselves toward any of these situations, or the guilt and resentment we hold toward others and ourselves, all produce the same effects on the hypothalamus. Instead of discharging this stress, however, we hold it inside where its effects become cumulative.
When chronic stress goes unreleased, it suppresses the body’s immune system and ultimately manifests as illness – if stress persists, the sympathetic nervous system declines and adrenaline secretion is lessened, but corticosteroid secretion continues at above normal levels; when the body is unable to cope, there is likely to be breakdown of bodily resources.
A large body of research in the past four decades has provided evidence that recent life events contribute to the onset of psychiatric illness. The association between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the association with physical or medical illness.
Stress and cancer
The relationship between breast cancer and stress has received particular attention. Some studies have indicated an increased incidence of early death, including cancer death among people who have experienced the recent loss of a spouse or loved one. A few studies of women with breast cancer have shown a significantly high rate of disease among those women who experienced traumatic life events and losses within several years before their diagnosis.
Studies in animals, mostly rats, revealed the link between stress and the progression of cancerous tumors. Chronic and acute stress, including surgery and social disruptions, appear to promote tumor growth.
A new study shows stress and social supports are important influences on a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer.
Health is Wealth – deep relaxation can strengthen the immune system
A side note from Sabrina: If you have trouble doing the above 8 ways yourself, please consider asking for outside professional help and all you need to do is putting some self-care time aside to do it.
If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend the Sound Healing + Aroma-Flow Touch Technique Combo that really gives you deep relaxation on your body and mind without any effort on your side.
Contact me for details.