Today, many of us live in combat or flight mode. We are stressed. We are overworked. We are over-planned. We are overtired. You get the picture. What does this mean for our bodies and our general health?
For starters, all of this uninterrupted stress is consuming your adrenal glands, increasing your cortisol (which has been linked to weight gain), adrenaline and blood sugar, thinning the lining of your intestines, and maybe even more.
Our nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system, which is our combat flight mode when we are in danger, and our parasympathetic nervous system, which is our rest-relaxation mode, which we should be in when we eat and sleep. Nowadays most of us are in combat flight mode trying to eat and sleep and do anything for everyone. However, our bodies do not function optimally in this mode and we feel the effects of a long state of cortisol over a long period of time.
We get into this mode of the combat flight nervous system due to stress factors in our environment such as emails, in-laws, taxes, traffic, deadlines, etc. Our bodies believe that we are being followed by a tiger from our primitive days, but really there is no danger ahead of us; It’s all made in our head. When you think about it, it’s fascinating to realize that the perception of stressors in your mind can put your entire body in a state of chronic stress that keeps you locked in the sympathetic nervous system (combat flight mode). This is when health problems start to build, symptoms appear out of nowhere, and we feel tired, bloated, brain foggy, exhausted, and more. We can also lose or gain weight, or deal with headaches and insomnia. We are all very different, so our bodies react very differently to stress and all symptoms are completely different.
Here are some chronic stress-related symptoms that you may experience:
- Anyone living with chronic stress is likely to get sick more often due to a weakened immune system. This can lead to chronic inflammation, which can increase your risk of developing more health problems.
- Weight gain: With the increase in cortisol is released due to chronically high stress.
- Memory loss
- Hair loss
- Grind teeth at night
- Constipation, loose bowels, or even abdominal pain
How do you know you are in this combat flight mode? A few simple ways to tell if your body is in combat are that your hands and / or feet are always cold, your digestion is bad to the touch (gas, constipation, diarrhea, and more), and that hormonal imbalances are occurring (e.g. (E.g. PMS infertility) or some kind of reproductive problem) and your eyes are wide. On a smaller scale, you might just feel anxious, over-planned, exhausted, scattered, overwhelmed, drinking too much coffee, wired at night, trying to sleep, etc. You got the idea. That survives. This is not how we should live our lives. You are not supposed to survive. You are supposed to have a good life in parasympathetic nervous system mode (resting relational mode) and I will give you some tips on how to do this.
The link between resetting your body and your nervous system
Slowing down and realizing the connection between your nervous system and your general health is important. Stress is a huge cause of so many health problems and we often overlook stress because many of us don’t even realize that we are so stressed! We need to learn to slow down and reset ourselves so that our bodies can function optimally.
Here’s what you can do today to get your body out of combat flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) to rest-relaxation mode (parasympathetic nervous system):
- Abdominal Breathing: Breathe in and out into your stomach – not your chest. This is an easy way to get your body back into relaxation mode. Place your hand on your stomach to make sure that you are breathing in and out of your stomach, not in and out of your chest. Set a google calendar alert to check yourself out and make sure you do this a few times during the day.
- Sleeping with the circadian rhythm is such a big part of our overall stress response because if we go to sleep late and don’t get enough sleep, our cortisol (stress hormone) will increase and lead to inflammation, weight gain and hormone imbalances, digestive problems and much more. Try to go to bed at 10 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. to synchronize with the daily rhythm. This is the rhythm your body wants to be in. You will feel so much better because you are in tune with the natural rhythm of life.
- To get out of combat flight mode, you need to relax your nervous system. This means that you are putting your body into the parasympathetic resting relaxation mode, where you begin to allow your entire body to relax. In this mode, disease and health problems cannot creep in. This is why deep breathing, resting, sleeping (at least 7 hours), meditation, nature and slowing down are so important. This is just a touch of what we’re going to cover in my 30 day reset program on how to get your body out of combat flight mode and feel good again.
Have you found an effective way to deal with stress? Leave a comment below!
Amie Valpone is the founder of TheHealthyApple.com and the best-selling author of Eating Clean: The 21 Day Plan to Detox, Combat Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. She recently cured herself of a decade of chronic health problems like Lyme disease, C-Diff colitis, hypothyroidism, leaky gut, candida, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth), toxic mold and heavy metal levels, and more through detox and an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
The views expressed in this article are intended to stimulate conversation and highlight alternative studies and are for informational purposes only. We are not here to diagnose or treat any health or medical condition, nor should it be relied on as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, even if it is the advice of a health professional, doctor, or health care professional. If you make any lifestyle or health changes, see your primary care doctor. The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Organic Authority, Inc.
Based on bio-authority
FDA data shows high levels of glyphosate in all foods tested except broccoli
Stress is just as unhealthy as poor nutrition, a study shows
More evidence supports the health benefits of a plant-based diet