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Greetings Dear Sisters! Last week we outlined the 4 things you need to know about stress, one of which was its impact on our bodies, minds, emotions and behavior. Today we will look at how stress specifically impacts our mental health.
There are two major types of stress: acute and chronic. Episodes of acute or short-term stress are usually related to a one time event. The stress usually resolves as the situation improves and things return to normal. An example of short-term stress is having a car accident and having to deal with the aftermath, i.e. getting a police report, contacting the insurance company and getting your car repaired. It may take a few days to get all these details sorted out, but once it’s done the stress or pressure goes away! https://www.verywellmind.com/chronic-stress-3145104.
Chronic or long-term stress is a seemingly inescapable and never ending pressure. This kind of stress may stem from relational turmoil, as is the case of a bad marriage or divorce, or an incredibly demanding job. It may also be caused by early childhood trauma or experiencing a traumatic event, such as 911. https://www.verywellmind.com/chronic-stress-3145104.
The Body’s Response to Stress
Can you remember the last time you were frightened? How did your body react? Did your heart beat faster? Were you breathing more rapidly? Did you feel weak in your knees? If yes, these were some of the physical symptoms of the body’s stress response: Fight or Flight. Other symptoms are: compromised blunt pain response, dilated pupils, increased environmental awareness, memory issues and or loss of bladder and bowel control. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-to-your-body-during-the-fight-or-flight-response/.
The Fight or Flight response is intended to support our ability to survive in life threatening situations. We perceive a threat and our bodies engage to send all its resources to the regions it deems as essential for immediate survival, depriving other parts of “help”. For example digestion, the production of reproductive and growth hormones and the repair of damaged tissue are all put on halt. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-to-your-body-during-the-fight-or-flight-response/.
Chronic Stress and Your Mental Health
With chronic stress our bodies become ensnared in survival mode, never receiving the signal to relax. Chronic stress can result in hormonal changes impacting the parts of the brain influencing mood and decision making. https://theconversation.com/how-chronic-stress-changes-the-brain-and-what-you-can-do-to-reverse-the-damage-133194.
Watch this short TedEd Talk by Madhumita Murgia to learn about how chronic stress affects the brain:
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Jeanette Bailey is a believer in Jesus Christ, who believes that health, wellness, healing and wholeness is obtainable with a Christ-centered and evidence based medically sound approach. Her life's mission is to help individuals, families and communities
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a lover of Christ with a passion for sharing her gifts and happy findings with others. She is so excited about this addition to Be-Held, which will provide practical, sustainable, Christ-centered and well researched resources to support women in cultivating a life of holistic self-care: spirit, soul, and body.