Only in Boston does one get wicked stressed out. Why do we get stressed? Because we are human animals and have a built-in fight or flight response. Like other animals, when our feathers get ruffled, our body uses neurotransmitters and other chemicals to get us going to “defend” ourselves and ensure our survival.
During a stress response, our body goes into the “fight or flight/ freeze or faint” mechanism. At this time cortisol, cholesterol, glucose, and adrenaline flood the body in preparation for physical battle. This response may be environmentally appropriate for confronting a rabid animal or defending one’s self from an angry tyrannosaurus Rex, but how effective is it really when dealing with traffic jams, work deadlines, hyperactive children, and board and PTA meetings? The physiological response is the same in spite of the threat being very different. Even though you may not be “threatened” for your life by your boss, your body’s response may be acting as if it is. The result for you can be decreased energy, glucose stress on your tissues, high blood pressure, decreased cognitive ability, and long term arthritis and diabetes.
There are alternatives to having your body go into a stress response. Stress is a response created by your brain as your mind perceives a threat. If your brain is unable to perceive your environment accurately it will not be able to respond appropriately. Having cortisol rush through your veins because your child is crying does not give you the best tools to address your child’s needs. In fact, much research has demonstrated that the fight or flight response is a very poor survival mechanism and may actually impair rational judgment and impede an appropriate response (read The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why: Amanda Ripley: Books.)
As you understand how your brain and body work, you can discover methods of having it work for you, not to you. On March 9th, at 7pm in our office, I will lead a workshop that explores the complex workings of your body and explain how the stress response has resulted in many chronic diseases of our culture. We will also explore effective ways to manage your stress and learn how to create an accurate perception so that you can have an appropriate response.
Monday, March 9th 7-8 pm at Hamilton-Wenham Family Chiropractic 78 Willow St South Hamilton, MA 01982 978.468.0606