The Physical Impact of Chronic Stress on Our Bodies
Updated: Apr 25
Chronic stress, or a constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time can really take a toll on the body.
The well-known term “fight or flight response” was coined in 1929 by the American physiologist Walter Cannon. It describes the innate biological mechanism by which the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is stimulated by the perception of an emergency situation in the environment. Our bodies are unable to decipher the difference between running from a predator and arguments with our partners or work place stress for example. This physically complex state of nervous arousal forms the basis of anger, anxiety, and other agitated emotions. Its nature and implications are well-known and have been studied in depth by physiological researchers over the last century.
What is the Sympathetic Nervous System and what does it do?
The sympathetic nervous system is part of our autonomic nervous system which regulates certain body processes, such as blood pressure and the rate of breathing. This system works automatically (autonomously), without a person's conscious effort. Disorders of the autonomic nervous system can affect any body part or process. The sympathetic nervous system creates a state of arousal ( stress- fight or flight) where as the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) brings about rest and repose. Anxiety, stress and insomnia can find their roots in the over arousal of the SNS which is being chronically activated by thoughts and constant stimuli.
The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones while in this fight or flight mode can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
Muscle tension and pain
Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
Memory and concentration impairment
That's why it's so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors. Hypnotherapy provides you with a toolbox full of techniques and resources that enable you to take back control of your thoughts and cognitions and reduce the effects of the chronic stress on the body by reducing over stimulation of the SNS and bringing equilibrium to your autonomic nervous system
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