How You are Killing Yourself and You Don’t Even Know It!

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Unfortunately, our bodies don’t know the difference between being chased by a cougar or oversleeping the day of the big meeting. Your body goes through a similar reaction whenever you feel stressed about something:

  • The Alarm – Fist, your brain will receive the message that you are faced with a potential threat.
  • The Brain is Triggered – Your amygdala, the portion of your brain that makes decisions, sends this message to the hypothalamus.
  • Hormone Production – The hypothalamus will release cortisol and adrenalin, two stress hormones, into the blood.
  • Your Body Reacts – Adrenalin will make your heart beat faster and pump more blood to the muscles, in case you need to run. Cortisol boosts blood sugar levels so your body has the food it needs to deal with the situation.
  • Your body is now ready to fight or run like the devil!

Our bodies are still designed to deal with short term stress, such as outrunning a falling tree or facing an angry bear. After you dealt with the problem at hand, your body would return to normal. In fact, Stanford University professors believe that acute stress can actually improve your immune system function and enhance your health. Short term stress is something our bodies understand.

The real problem arises when we are living in a virtually perpetual state of stress and the body never really returns to normal. Taking a two week vacation and a few 3 day weekends are not nearly enough, nor are they long enough, to allow the body to return to normal. Read also what brings on chronic stress.

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