Mind-Body Connection

Our thought patterns and emotions impact our bodies in multiple ways, from the common cold to psoriasis to cancer.  The mind, body and brain are all communicating and you can make it work to your benefit

Stress

Stress is an emotional and physical response to a threatening situation.  The threat can be acute (happens once) or chronic, physical or emotional.  In other words, stress can be anything from getting hit by a car to having trouble with your boss.

Fight or Flight

When your body perceives a stressful event, the sympathetic nervous system is activated to help you cope.  This results in increased heart and breathing rates, the stomach shuts down and your mouth becomes dry.  The pupils dilate and glucose is released in to the blood stream to provide energy as your blood flow is diverted to the muscles in preparation for action.  This worked very well when our stress was physical, but now much of our stress doesn't require running away and our bodies have not adapted.

Chronic Stress

When we have stress every day, our bodies accumulate that stress.  The blood pressure stays elevated and the sugar in the blood stream doesn't get fully utilized.  The immune system gets suppressed and we become more likely to get infections and cancer.  Our digestion stays troubled and our muscles become chronically tense.  Our mood can become anxious or depressed.

Rest and Digest

Fortunately, there's an opposite to Fight or Flight.  The parasympathetic nervous system generally undoes the effects of the sympathetic.  It returns the blood flow to the digestive tract, returns the blood pressure to its resting state and allows to immune system to function properly.  Being able to tap in to this system is very important to control stress levels and to stay healthy

9 Strategies to Reduce Stress

  1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  2. Conscious Breathing
  3. Paced Breathing
  4. Body Scan
  5. Letting Be
  6. Mental Vacation
  7. Imagery
  8. Journaling
  9. Positive Psychology

Resources