Friday, July 25, 2014

Good Stress vs Bad Stress

You may think.... well isn't all stress the same??? And that is far from the truth. Over the years I have realized that there is actually good stress and bad stress. The key is to figure out the difference between the two and make changes accordingly. While good stress can motivate you and energize you, bad stress can actually make you ill!!

What is stress? Stress is our body's way of responding to challenge. In the past, this is what kept us alive. The urge to find food, shelter, warmth, love etc. Now days we have different types of stressors- traffic, bills, exams, lack of sleep etc. Stress causes our sympathetic system to rev up. If a tiger walked into your living room, you better believe that your heart is going to start pumping vs. using your parasympathetic system which aids in things like digestion of food. Now while it is good to vary your heart rate throughout the day through things  like exercise, it is NOT good to be primary in the sympathetic system throughout the day. Your body is "tricked" into thinking that you do not have time for things like food digestion and extraction of nutrients from the food you have eaten, and instead is too busy doing things like pumping blood throughout your body. Your body is  tricked into thinking that there is no time for things like your immune system, and instead is pumping out cortisol. The result... you are more likely to get sick, more likely to get things like cancer, more likely to have high blood pressure, more likely to become obese, more likely to become depressed. At what point do you say... is it worth it? Stress can impact your mind, body, and soul. It can affect your nerves, muscles, hormones, and immunity.

When is stress good? We are all motivated by different things... and I believe that a little bit of stress is good. It is what drives many of us to-- study harder for an exam, clean up around the house, complete certain tasks, care for our loved ones, or accomplish a certain goal. It motivates to a certain extent. The problem becomes when we are overwhelmed with stress... when we place ourselves in a work, school , relationship, social situation that becomes so toxic and stressful that it makes us prone to things like early aging, illness, mental illness, causing our minds and bodies to in essence SHUT DOWN. We are likely to get things like chronic pains, depression, irritable bowl syndrome, hair loss, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, poor memory.

The key is to learn your tolerance for stress. Create a balanced life- one that involves time to eat home cooked healthy meals, exercise, relaxation techniques, time with family and friends, and work. That should be the ultimate goal in life... not money, fame, worldly possessions.

In my quest to find relaxation techniques of my own... I have learned about aromatherapy. Learning about about Western Medicine as an allopathic physician (MD), I realized that not all the answers exist. Drugs have side effects and while large pharma companies will gladly pay for research to support their drugs, no one will pay for such research on techniques that are not hugely profitable. It it is the reason why many of those with chronic pain feel like they have no options.

I can't wait to share my aromatherapy experience with you all in the near future!

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