Stress and Disease
While you may have heard, or suspected, that stress causes disease, have you ever wondered why? The answer lies within your limbic system (the emotional centers of your brain and central nervous system) and your endocrine system (your hormone producing system). This limbic interprets incoming information and discerns whether it is threatening or not. During periods of stress your hypothalamus receives a strong message and moves into action. It’s important to understand that his happens during real or perceived stress, meaning that even thinking stressful thoughts will set into motion the cascade of biochemical reactions realized during stress! Psychological factors such as uncertainty, conflict, lack of control, lack of information, anger, resentment, fear, grief disgust, grief, and frustration all strongly activate your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal nexus (HPA axis) and the foundation for disease inception is established.
What Happens During Stress
During stress your hypothalamus sends a strong message to your pituitary gland, who in turn, sends a strong message to your adrenal glands telling them to move into action via your nervous system. Once engaged your nervous system moves into “fight-or-flight” stance and the secretion of stress hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol (a fat storage hormone), norepinephrine begins. These bio-chemical reactions are compensatory in nature, in that, they help us survive immediate danger if we find ourselves in an emergency situation. When chronically triggered and without resolution these bio-chemical reactions produce harm and even permanent damage. For example, we now know that chronically high cortisol levels destroy tissues, lower the immune response setting the stage for cancers, cause digestive ailments, autoimmune diseases and Adrenal Fatigue, slow wound healing and chronically elevated adrenalin levels raise blood pressure and damage the heart.
The fight-or-flight response, a phrase of Hans Selye (world renowned author and expert on the stress response), was indispensable in an era when humans confronted the natural world (tigers and bears!) on a daily basis; however, now in our civilized society this response is neither necessary or helpful most of the time because the majority of today’s stressors are emotional.
What to Do
Initially it is important to nourish and support the glands and organs associated with the HPA axis by providing them the proper homeopathic remedies, herbal remedies, whole food supplements and dietary choices. When properly supported the endocrine glands such as your adrenals, hypothalamus, and pituitary can not only “handle” the jolt they receive during stressful situations, they can create and release optimal levels of stress hormones thus enabling the other endocrine glands such as your thyroid, gonads, pancreas to perform their job more effeciently. Here at Trinity Holistic Wellness, Carolyn assesses these needs and recommends the proper support necessary to achieve health and balance through the lense of holistic wellness, addressing the needs of the whole person.
Seconding, it is important to address the psychological factors in your life causing the stress response. Several studies have unveiled the stress-disease connection linking physiological response to a perceived threat, physical or emotional, whether or not the individual is immediately aware of the perception. This means that even thinking stressful thoughts will catapult an individual's hormonal system into releasing a cascade of stress hormones and responses. For example, a British study of breast cancer patients revealed that “extreme suppression of anger” was the most commonly identified characteristic. Allowing the necessary forgiveness to neutralize the anger (or other emotion involved) will not only provide a sense of calm, it will turn down the release of harmful stress hormones. Carolyn utilizes a technique called The L.I.V.E. Method in conjunction with homeopathic, herbal, amino acids, whole food supplements and dietary guidance to help individuals suffering from various psychological factors.