Is There a Correlation Between Stress and Disease?
Is there a direct correlation between stress and disease? Between how you feel emotionally and how you feel physically?
Research says yes. According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is “the emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event.”
When fear or trauma occurs physically or emotionally it creates an energetic disturbance, which creates an emotional pattern, deep in the amygdala in our brain.
The amygdala is responsible for “Flight, Fight or Freeze” and stores the memory of emotions, especially fear.
The amygdala, part of the sympathetic nervous system, is the reason we are afraid of things outside our control. It also controls the way we react to certain stimuli or an event that causes an emotion, that we see as potentially threatening or dangerous.
The counterpart of the sympathetic nervous system is the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the“rest and digest system,” which is in control, in more relaxed states.
This could be why digestion is secondary and problematic for a large part of the population, when under chronic stress; like irritable bowel, reflux, indigestion, etc.
It doesn’t matter if your boss just reamed you a new one after a bad presentation or someone just tried to run you over, your body responds the same way. It used to be mostly physical threats like lions, tigers and bears; but now it is more psychological like money, work, and family problems. Your brain hasn’t caught up yet. You have to learn how to live with your human brain still acting prehistoric.
When threatened, whether physical or psychological, the sympathetic nervous system takes control of the body, which then triggers fight or flight. Your muscles tense up, the heart starts beating faster and blood flows away from any non-essential body system. This response is helpful when you need to get away from potential danger or a threat, but not too much when your demanding mother-in-law comes for a visit!
Your body doesn’t know if it is a tiger chasing you, you have stress from work or even self-inflicted anxiety from negative self-talk.
When you can’t let go of a stressful event in your past and you let it linger long after the fact, you are creating long lasting trauma and suffering in your body, because the amygdala will stay in control to protect you from that fear.
There are numerous studies that link this chronic stress to heart disease, long term illness and degenerative disease. Your body will stay in a more acidic state as well, which will inhibit programmed cell death in cancer cells. Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment. It is impossible to stay alkaline while stressed or while eating sugar for that matter since both cause acidity.
When emotional trauma goes unhealed, the body is in a constant state of heightened stress, where the sympathetic nervous system has hijacked your brain in order to help you survive. In this state, adrenaline and noradrenaline-stimulating mechanisms within it will alter genetic code and will inhibit immune responses and activate inflammatory responses.
Your physical body is a reflection of how you feel emotionally. It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are toxic or loving or whether they are towards yourself or others.
You are worrying about money – you start getting headaches.
Your boss yells at you because you missed a meeting – you can’t sleep.
Your family is stressing you out – you get reflux.
The people you spend most of your time around are toxic – your stomach aches.
There are no fences between what you think and how you feel.
So I can take all the supplements in the world, but if I can’t forgive and forget, I am lingering in a disease state because of self-induced stress. I can exercise every day and eat healthy food, but if I am stressed at work or fighting constantly with a partner, I am creating an acidic environment in my body where cancer will thrive.
That’s because there are 3 components to health and wellbeing:
- Physical – exercise and movement
- Lifestyle – nutrition (through food and/or supplementation)
- Emotional – low stress and mindfulness
In order to take control of your body, create a more healthy environment and let your conscious brain take back over, you have to soothe the frightened amygdala into believing you are safe and create calm.
There are many ways do this which will also lower stress and anxiety. Here are some of my favorites:
- Exercise – Research shows that cordisol levels are reduced during exercise. You know how good you feel after exercise! We were meant to move and exercise releases endorphins instead of stress hormones.
- Mindfulness – Or present moment awareness teaches you to recognize when you are in fight or fight and control your prehistoric response. If you can recognize what is happening through active attention in the present moment, you are already on your way to an improved state.
- Meditation – Deep breathing has a positive and measurable affect on how the brain functions. 163 studies show that it reduces stress and anxiety as well as mental and physical disorders like depression and worry.
- EFT is Meridian Tapping – Literally tapping into your body’s own healing power through the energy that circulates along a specific network of channels. What tapping does, with amazing efficiency, is halt the fight-or – flight response and reprogram the brain (amygdala) and body to act – and react – differently when you are under stress. It will calm the nervous system and tell it it’s safe to relax and open up the flow of energy. It is essentially Chinese acupuncture and modern psychology combined.
For more on Tapping, become an Art of You Insider as there will be webinars coming shortly!
I want to know how you deal with stress. Do you have some great techniques that you use that you can share in the comments? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!
Take care of your body, you have no where else to live!
Take a deep breath.
Love your Life,