Stress Much?

I sure do.  I am what you call “high strung” or “Type A”.  Maybe that is why I have so many autoimmune issues.  My body’s way of dealing with my crazy mind. We are currently going through a stressful time here which is why this topic is on my mind.

Everyone has stress.  Some days are more stressful than others.  Heck, sometimes stress lasts for months! When stress lasts for more than a week it starts to really effect the body.  For me, I have stages.  First, of course, is excessive tiredness.  Then I don’t sleep well, which of course makes me tired.  Then the cravings for “comfort” foods, lack of concentration, crabby and all around negative mood, and finally depression will set in.  But did you know there is more going on that just what we see and feel?

Stress effects the Central Nervous System (CNS).  The hypothalamus sends a message to your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol.  Elevated levels of these hormones really over works these glands leading to malfunction. Stress effects the digestive system by effecting the way food moves through you (think diarrhea or constipation) and can even cause heartburn and acid reflux. Stress causes your muscles to tighten up leading to headaches and back pain or other body aches.  The biggest issue for those of us with autoimmune issues is that stress over time weakens the immune system.  Uh oh, here comes a flare up!

There are many ways to manage stress such as relaxation techniques and meditation which I really believe in but its hard to do when you can’t focus.  So, what I find the easiest is to take a walk.  Get moving.  Simply taking a walk around the block lifts my mood and gets blood flowing.  I then find that I can sleep better (getting extra vitamin from the outdoors helps too) and think better.  After walking several days I then seem to build up the energy to attempt actual exercise.  Then I am on my way out of the black hole of stress/depression.  The world starts to look better and my mood lifts.  It is absolutely incredible what movement can do for you.  It is my drug. You should try it next time you feel stressed out.