Since the beginning
stress is a pressure one can feel emotionally and physically. Stress is a silent killer because we are not able to see the impact it makes with our naked eyes, the damages it does to our body is invisible. Stress is an inevitable part of our life.
No matter in which century a man could have lived, stress has always been there in one or other form. For a cave man, a chasing bear is a stress, for a man lived in the 5th century, a social competition and inequality would have been a constant stress, for those who live in this modern era, chasing after a fast pace world is a stress.
A poor man has stress about his financial needs, so does the rich man stresses about his unhappiness despite having everything he wants. The increasing divorce, abuse and neglect are all causing stress in human life. The question is how to live a life without stress.
The answer is, it is not possible to live a life without any stress, but we can manage stress from day to day by planning our life and developing certain skills and behavior. But that is not enough, eating the right food, practicing certain lifestyle, reaching out for social support & spiritual guidance are all important factors to help us to manage stress. If we don't handle stress wisely, it will drain the life from our bodies.
Damages the gut
Stress can weakens the digestion significantly. When the food is not digested properly, it can cause problems during the absorption process.
Undigested food can start to ferment, producing gas, which in return can irritate the lining of the intestine and colon.
This irritation will cause inflammation and allergic reaction in the body. Stress will also impact the gut bacteria, which are very important to regulate our body's immune system.
The good bacteria in our gut are responsible for 80% of our immune system and when this colony is impacted, even more problems will arise. Not only in our digestive system, but in overall health, including imbalances to our mood.
These gut bacteria, play an important role to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine & GABA, which are all quite important for maintaining our mood, concentration and motivation. Many people suffer under mood disorder, because they don't have an healthy bacterial colony in their gut either due to stress or poor diet.
Brain - stomach
Stress is perceived by the nervous system starting in our brain and travel down all the way to our stomach, where the next largest neuron network is located. Our stomach and the rest of the digestive organs are called gut in a collective term.
The gut in our body contains a complex nervous system just like in the brain. Anytime when a stress is felt by our mind, it also can be felt in our gut. We call this brain – gut connection. Our brain and gut are connected with a vast nervous system.
Stomachache, constipation, diarrhea, cramps and bloating are symptoms one can experience when there is a stress in the mind. "Butterflies in the stomach" is an expression showing a real physical sensation one can feel when there is a stress. Such feelings happen due to limited blood supply to the stomach or gut during stress.
Chronic stress is referred to stress suffered for a prolonged period of time. Chronic stress can be very serious and impact a person deeply. It can cause depression, personality disorder, memory loss, anxiety as well as other physiological damages to the heart, liver, stomach and the entire hormonal system.
Chronic stress eventually destroys a persons immune power and once the weakening of the defense system is done, diseases will easily crawl into our body. Therefore, identifying the cause of such stress and taking steps to overcome it is very important.