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Stress Kills

by Lisa on August 8, 2010

One thing I know for sure is that you’ll never see “Stress” listed as the cause of death on a death certificate. Interestingly, many researchers now believe that stress is the foundational cause of most disease.  Some may argue that we can’t actually prove that.  That’s true—and it’s why you’ll never see Stress on a death certificate.

But I can tell you how it works.

Back in cave man days, stress was caused by things like scarcity of food or being chased by a lion. Let’s just say you were being chased by a lion…your body would react by redirecting blood flow from unimportant tasks (at that time) like digestion, organs, detox, cell repair, and the prefrontal cortex of your brain (the intellectual part), to your limbs. This makes sense because you really just need to be able to run and move fast at that moment—thinking and digesting is not going to save you from the lion!

We have not evolved away from this physiological stress response even though our sources of stress are more emotional and mental in today’s society. Over time, if you operate under stress and anxiety, your organs and brain are being starved for oxygen (blood flow being low equals lower delivery of oxygen) for long periods of time.  This, frankly and simply, leads to disease.

Cancer cells flourish in the absence of oxygen. Organ and body cells cannot be repaired without oxygen. Waste and debris cannot be carried away efficiently with low blood flow. Prefrontal cortex activity is low under reduced blood flow conditions, and this has been shown to have a direct relationship to anxiety, depression, and inability to focus or be productive.

Doesn’t this sound like a terrible slippery slope?  Add a little stress to your life and you’re setting yourself up for disease and low productivity!

We already know society is not changing–we can’t remove the things that cause us stress, we can only change the way we react to these things. Easier said than done, right?

But doesn’t it sound like it’s worth trying? After all, the environmental and life stressors will not go away—the more blood flow we have throughout our bodies, the better able we can physiologically deal with them.

My favorite resource for stress release: Deepak Chopra!  You’ve heard of him, for sure, but have you listened to his advice?  Will you join me in the 21-day meditation challenge, beginning on Aug 12th?

There are other ways to reduce stress, and everyone responds differently to each one.  What do you do?

If we know stress kills, prevents us from sticking to our  wellness plans and reaching our goals, dampens our productivity, and causes us to be anxious and depressed…shouldn’t managing our stress be a top priority?


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