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.
Hormonal imbalance & suicidal thoughts
Chronic stress which develops into depression can cause suicidal attempt. Stress trigger multiple hormonal stations in our body starting from hypothalamus & pituitary (in our brain) to adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys.
This trigger will cause the production and secretion of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, including the famous stress hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol's function is to increase energy in the body by mobilizing glucose and fatty acids in the liver. Energy need increases during the stress and therefore cortisol hormone works harder to keep up with the demand.
The longer and more severe the stress is, the more stress hormones have to be produced by the adrenal glands which eventually may weaken the glands itself.
Additional to this, stress also depletes other important mood keeping hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Without having the stress combating and mood lifting hormones, managing an emotional stress becomes very difficult for a person.
When this happen, a stress overwhelms a person, causing emotional instability, irrationality, depression and in some cases suicidal thoughts & attempt. Therefore, anyone going through a chronic stress should talk to someone to seek for help.
Weak nerves & less motivation in life
Chronic stress not only impacts our emotions but also our physical entities. Lots of damages are done to the heart, liver, stomach and the entire nervous system by stress. Prolong stress eventually wears out the strength in the nerve sheath which eventually makes someone to be mentally fragile.
Such person will have less tolerance to any kind of small stress such as to loud noise and hearing sad stories from others. Such people can cry and become very easily emotional. A stress can also demotivate a person from performing even the simplest things in life and keep them in a depressed state.
A counseling and other help should be given to such person to bring them out of the pit of the depression. Therefore, identifying the causes of stress and taking steps to overcome it is very necessary & helpful. Incorporating certain herbs to rebuild the strength of the nerve sheath are also important.
Our nerves can be compared to a cable. If the cable is overused and damaged, it can't pass the electrical current properly and so does our nerves which resemble those cables. Our nerves transmit electrical signals just like the cable. This signals are called nerve impulse. A worn out nerves need to be restored by proper nutrients, so it can pass the nerve signals properly.