Friday, October 16, 2009

What's all the fuss about stress?

Peace, originally uploaded by kudumomo.

We are all aware of the toll stress can take on our lives. Stress can lead to serious illness. Our bodies are designed to deal effectively with stress - you've probably heard of the fight flight response.

The fight flight (or stress) response is a feedback loop between the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary in the brain and the adrenals (above the kidneys). This is called the HPA axis. When stress is perceived the adrenals are quickly prompted to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol to enable the body to quickly respond to the stress. Digestion and immune function are immediately reduced so the body can take action. That’s why digestive problems and regular illness are common in highly stressed people.

The fight flight response is essential if you are in immediate danger. However in today's fast paced society, many of us activate this response constantly – even if we’re not in real danger. Work pressures, traffic, deadlines, money problems, relationship stress, the list is endless ... and the fight flight response is not designed to work continuously.

The hypothalamus, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body becomes fatigued and stops functioning efficiently. You literally become ‘out of balance’. This has a snow ball effect affecting more and more aspects of your being.

Stress is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’. You can continue to live in a stressed state quite well for some time with few health issues. Living on adrenaline becomes normal. The inevitable exhaustion is addressed with short term fixes such as more coffee, sugar hits or a glass of wine. If stress continues finally everything can seem to fall apart at once.

The many negative effects can include:
• Anxiety or panic attacks
• Mood swings
• Insomnia
• Problems with concentration and focus
• Digestion issues
• Constant colds or illnesses, or difficulty recovering from illness
• Inability to relax or enjoy life even when nothing is ‘wrong’
• Memory problems
• Ongoing overuse of the fight flight (stress) response is now recognised as a leading cause of depression

Kinesiology reduces stress and helps your body to restore homeostasis or balance.

Kinesiology helps to dissolve the stress in your system by finding the source of the stress and helping your body return to a healthy balanced state. It can also help you become more aware of the underlying factors causing your stress and help you to take positive actions to reduce the stress in your life.

Regular Kinesiology sessions are an excellent way to ensure you manage your stress levels. It is not necessary to live your life in a state of high stress and anxiety. You deserve to be happy!

On a personal note

Totally taking longer to restore balance than I expected. Still pretty tired.

On my holiday to Darwin I had a little tarot reading at the market: 'lots of good is coming but for the rest of this year ... you have to rest. You've pushed yourself too hard, you'll become unwell if you don't.' Um, hello? Boring! Wasn't that what I was doing on holiday? Wasn't that enough? I'm rested! Where's the action? I'm ready for the next thing!

Apparently not.

I've come to my senses and slowed right down. This month I stopped drinking alcohol and last week I even went off coffee (harder! I usually only have one a day but how I love that one.) Predictably, I became unwell. Two other friends who have also been through busy times and are now slowing down have had similar experiences.

My body wants rest. A lot of rest. I've tried to just go with it, cutting back where I can, getting used to the space in my life. And waiting. Just in the past couple of days a lightness is returning and with it new inspiration, new energy. But with awareness too.

I needed drive to accomplish 1400 hours of study on weekends over three years whilst working full time ... and then starting my business as soon as I had my certificate ... to get where I am. Without drive and determination I wouldn't have achieved what I have.

But I can make different choices moving forwards.

So yes, I'm continuing learning my own lessons about stress and finding balance and I am making different decisions about how much capacity I actually have. However I try to practice what I preach and I can't wait for my next Kinesiology session ... tomorrow!


  1. Well said Kerry! I think when we can comfortably be still all kinds of wonderful things can unfold.....

  2. I love this Kerry! Good to hear you are slowing down. I think I'm getting forced to now that class is over but I'm finding it very difficult as well. Got a cold the first weekend it was over, and now antsy (drinking coffee) and celebrating with wine! I think I definitely need to take a leaf from your book (or blog). xx

  3. I can relate to a lot of what you have said, and found the link between stress & depression interesting. Well done to you for keeping off alcohol & coffee and listening to what your body needs. I'm sure you are making space and regaining energy to move forward with confidence to your new business.