3 Scientific Reasons You and Stress Need to Break Up . Now.

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A question I always ask my clients is this: Are you a human being or a human doing?

Work. The commute. Kids. Family. Bills. Spouses. Deadlines. The news. Scrolling social media accounts purporting EVERYONE is doing life better than you and that you are basically trash. With all the relentless details that come with adulting, it is so easy to become attached to, surrounded by, and dependant on this mindset of “busy.”  Do something. Action above everything else.

But are we surviving or thriving? Moreover, do we even know the difference?

Our bodies do.

Stress might be the longest and most consistent relationship in your life, but I guarantee it is an abusive one. Dysfunctional and harmful, just because we know no other way to exist doesn’t mean stress is inevitable. It is not something we should simply accept as a prerequisite to a full adult life.

In my last article Stress - Survival or Creation I gave you the rundown of why stress is such a problem. Now let’s do a deeper dive.
 
Existing at a constant state of stress is not doing your body, your brain, or your life any favors. And I’m not discussing the woo-woo, self-love, “take-care-of-yourself” ideologies which most busy people swat away like an annoying mosquito. Self-care and sleep is for babies, right? But the more we learn about stress, the more we realize:  

a). Stress is doing serious damage on a biochemical and neurological level.
b). Our brains and bodies work better in a primarily stress-free environment.
c). Adulting in a primarily stress-free environment is NOT impossible.  Or at least our ability to bounce back from stress is not impossible. Seriously.  

So consider this an intervention. Stress sucks. Stress doesn’t care about you. You don’t need it. And regardless of its proliferation, its elimination from our lives should be priority right up there with diet and exercise.  

Why? So glad you asked!

Reason 1: The Biological Damage of Stress Explained

Okay, vocabulary word time!

I want to introduce you to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Its function: “It supplies the internal organs, including the blood vessels, stomach, intestine, liver, kidneys, bladder, genitals, lungs, pupils, heart, and sweat, salivary, and digestive glands.” That’s a lot of important work. Think of it as a management position with tons of responsibility.  The ANS has two main divisions: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.  (More vocab. Don’t worry, there’s no test at the end of this blog. But focus up, because I’m about to hit you with more!)

Think of stress in a car driving through these systems. The first stop is part of the parasympathetic nervous system called the ventral vagal complex (VVC). This part of the nervous system is termed the social engagement system and is one of the most recently developed parts of the human brain.  It is connected to the cranial nerves that mediate facial expressions and vocalizations. It helps us communicate our emotions both to ourselves and others. This is the first line of defense in stressful situations. For example: when you have an argument with your boss or a loved one what is one of the first things you want to do? Reach out to a coworker or best friend? Roll your eyes as your boss walks away? That is the ventral vagal complex in action.

Read the full article on CancerSchmancer.com

Stacy Berman