The Healing Benefits of Releasing STRESS!
Built up stress from living our lives in the postmodern age might be the strongest component in the development of disease and unhappiness in our lives. It seems to me that humankind has always known this.
Yet scientific medical research, documentation and discussion of ramifications of exposure to continuous stress only began in earnest back in the 1990's.
Dr. Herbert Benson wrote in his, then groundbreaking book, Timeless Healing, "Seventy-four percent of the complaints patients bring to medical clinics are of an unknown origin and are probably caused by 'psychological' factors..." He continues, "Other studies indicate that between 60 to 90 percent of all our population's visits to doctors' offices are stress-related and probably cannot be detected, much less treated effectively, with the medications and procedures on which the medical profession relies."
Is it possible to worry yourself sick? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is. Unreleased stress can cause much unhappiness in your life and may eventually lead to physical disease. Your body has a hard-wired, self-defense system commonly known as the "fight-or-flight" mechanism. Your body’s fight-or-flight response is a natural, life-saving system that is highly efficient and effective when you have to use your muscles quickly to fight or run away from immediate physical danger.
However, the stress of life today can cause the fight-or-flight mode to short circuit, and this can cause serious health problems. If you are under constant stress, the hypothalamus, a tiny gland at the base of your brain, triggers an alarm that stays on.
This neuro-hormonal alarm starts a series of signals that cause your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. When prolonged stress inhibits your body from returning to relaxation mode, your body becomes overexposed to cortisol and other stress hormones. Constant stress can literally cause the body to start to burn out if these neurochemical signals are not turned off to allow your body to dissipate the released hormones.
As you now understand, prolonged stress puts your body in a continuous state readiness for physical action. If your body has no time to re-establish equilibrium, it becomes overworked and your immune system weakens, making you susceptible to illness. Many essential bodily processes are disrupted and your risk of health problems increases.