So you're taking a walk down a beautiful path in the woods. The scent of the air is lightly touched by earth, by subtle blooms. It just feels clean.
You notice a bright raspberry bush beside you and pause to pick a few.
They are fresh, ripe and just the idea of this being in your mouth makes you feel part of this world in a much deeper way.
You notice movement and look up. A small, baby bear. It's almost unbelievable, this experience. Until you look up and notice the mother bear.
Your pupils dilate. Heart rate increases. Blood sugar (glucose) rises. Blood pressure skyrockets. Cholesterol shoots out into the bloodstream to help white blood cells if clotting is needed. Brain activity heightens. Breath quickens and is shallow. Digestion is put on hold. Elimination immediate. The immune system backs off because all systems are focused on immediate healing.
This is what your body does when you're under stress! It's readying itself! What are you going to do? Run? Stay and fight? Live?! Die?!
But look at the list: Higher blood glucose. Higher blood pressure. Higher cholesterol. Higher ability to clot blood. Cancer.
Remind you of anything? Yeah, the most common health risks to dying we face today.
The long term effects of the body's fear response (fight or flight) have serious effects on our health. But we don't face bears every day.
So the question remains: What is your bear?
Under a work deadline. Can't pay the bills. Family coming in for the weekend. Arguing with your son. Spousal disagreements. Unresolved trauma.
We're so quick to blame our eating, lack of exercise, genetics on all of our health issues. It sure does play a part. But stress is HUGE.
We get the rush of the adrenals, dopamine, and epinephrine is released and pain dissipates. And we do it again. And again. And again.
Know someone who actually CREATES drama in their lives? You can probably bet they've got an adrenal rush addiction and really don't know how to
turn it around - or may not even know they're creating drama in their lives.
Don't those little glands deserve a break? Overwork a joint and you've got bursitis or arthritis or replacement. The same thing happens to the adrenals. They stop working properly when they've been abused.
Take up a practice that helps you relax: yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation. Do it. Get your health back.
Sometimes it helps to be reminded that you're not alone on this path to being fully present in your life. Stay connected with simple practices, reminders and humor that come in my monthly newsletter.
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