Stress kills you. And it will if you don’t address it.
Once we understand this, we then have some control over it and its damaging effects. It all starts with the mind.
Let’s look at stress and its effect on the physiology and functioning of the body. All animals in nature have the ability to respond to stress. I saw this in the wild, growing up in southern Africa. For a gazelle to escape the pursuit of a lion, the stress reaction is very helpful and once the threat has gone the gazelle returns to grazing and being calm. Most humans do not have frequent physical threats to our safety. But we do have constant chronic threats to our emotional well-being because of the stress that we take on from everyday living.
The World Health organization has suggested that stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century. We have all experienced the classic symptoms of stress, pounding heart, pit in the stomach, racing thoughts. What we may not be aware of is the toxic environment that stress creates in our body. This environment impacts the genetic makeup of our cells and promotes diseases of lifestyle like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease and dementia. Short bursts of stress, from which we can then recover quickly, are not nearly as damaging as the chronic, constant stress that seems to flavor most of our lives.
If we are to prevent disease, then we have to manage the levels of stress in our body and create the right chemistry. We do this by the choices that we make including our thoughts, emotions, and lifestyle. It is far easier to prevent disease than to treat it. It is not as difficult as it might seem.