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How Stress Affects Your Health

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When the body is under stressed, a physiological chain of events happens, this chain of events is called the “Fight or Flight response” scientifically known as the acute stress response (ASR). Research has shown that the men and women have different physiological chains in regards to the fight or flight response. Instead of fight or flight, women “Tend or Befriend.” Since the fight or flight response is more well known, we will use that response for the explanation of how stress can negatively affect ones health.


During the fight or flight response, the body prepares itself to either go to war with an opponent or to flee from that opponent. The ASR process includes the raising of blood pressure, blood clotting, increased cortisol production, an adrenaline rush, and increased heart rate. After one has either fought or fled their opponent, it normally takes the body 20-60 minutes to return to its natural and stable levels. 

The fight or flight response can actually kill you. Back in the day, when we were all cavemen and cavewomen, the ASR was released when one was encountered with an jungle animal and had to either defeat or flee from that animal. The ASR was not intended to be used multiple times daily. 



Today, our bodies go into ASR from a multitude of reasons including traffic, occupational stress, spousal stress, and social media stress along with other situations. With these scenarios, the ASR can be triggered multiple times per day. The problem with the ASR being triggered multiple times daily. If one is constantly in a state of stress, the body may adapt to a consistently stressful environment and physiologically keep your body in a constant state of ASR through adaptation. This means that your ASR is now a gateway for hypertension. Hypertension has been known to cause heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, vascular disease, diabetes, and tumors. 

So the lesson for today is to learn how to relax and avoid stressful situations! Achieve bliss through meditation techniques, visualizations of relaxing scenarios, and deep breathing just to name a few.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 00:37
Christopher Croley, MS-CPT

Twitter: CCroleyFitness

Website: www.chriscroleyfitness.com

1 Comment

  • Vanda North

    This is why there is a pandemic of people constantly strained from the stressors of life.
    I assist, I have created a very simple (yet wonderfully powerful) process called Mind Chi, which takes just 8 minutes a day and provides a coping strategy to regain control and build resilience.
    You may see it at http://www.mindchi.com/index.php/mind-chi-basic-8-steps/
    This is free and has already helped thousands.

    Vanda North Tuesday, 06 November 2012 15:17 Comment Link

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