Stress is an adaptive response and a necessary mechanism to keep you alert, healthy, balanced and safe. However, long term stress can create a plethora of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms.

Obesity, endocrine disorders, chronic pain, gynecological disturbances, autoimmune conditions and insulin resistance are just a few of many serious conditions that can arise with chronic stress.

 

You may feel isolated while dealing with the effects of stress on your health, personal performance and relationships, yet this is a widespread problem - stress and depression economically impact Europe by hundreds of billions of Euros each year (1).

 

The enormous negative impact of stress on work, families and society means we should all seek better environments and wellness solutions for ourselves and others.

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The neuroendocrine system has two primary pathways for dealing with potential stressors or life threatening situations; the sympathetic system and the HPA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal) axis. Both of these systems mediate the brain / body connection. They set into motion cascades of hormones and neuroendocrine responses that turn on or off the “flight or flight” mode. Prolonged exposure to stressors (or even anticipation of stressors like worry or constant fear) may lead to a constant or chronic activation of this “flight or fight” mode or dysregulation of the HPA axis (2)

 

Different emotions relate to and can cause harm to the organs and their energetic systems. According to Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), emotions of frustration and anger can negatively affect the liver and its ability to circulate the qi in the body. This can then affect other organ systems and ultimately lead to digestive disorders, depression, decline of cognitive ability, fatigue and many other problems. It is thought that worry or even over-thinking damages the spleen (a digestive organ in TOM) and can cause bloating, loose stool and even constipation. Sorrow and pain are believed to damage the lungs, causing propensity to lung related illnesses. Stress in general is an emotion that can cause a cascade of negative effects on the body and its ability to function properly. Using food as medicine, breathing techniques, herbal medicine and meditation can be profoundly effective in calming the stress response, normalizing the function of systems and coming into health and wellness. 

References

  1. Calculating the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks. European Risk Observatory Literature Review. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2014 http://publications.europa.eu/resource/cellar/c8328fa1-519b-4f29-aa7b-fd80cffc18cb.0001.01/DOC_1

    1. ​​In 2002, the European Commission calculated the costs of work-related stress in the EU-15 at €20 billion a year, and work-related depression in 2013 was estimated at €617 billion annually. 

  2. Romm, A. (2018) Botanical Medicine for Women's Health. St. Louis, Elsevier

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