Chronic stress is ongoing stress, not just a one-time event. It is caused by a long-term activation of the stress-response system and overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones. The system gets so wired up it can not calm down. Chronic Stress can not be dealt with like your normal Stress Response. It doesn’t come from the same place. Chronic Stress does not start in your head. If you understand the root cause of Chronic Stress you can start eliminating it.
What Exactly is a Stress Response?
A stress response is a spontaneous strong emotional reaction to a situation where we feel threatened. The threat may be physical, mental, or emotional. It may be real or not. Our mind identifies it as a threat, and immediately the stress response system is activated.
The stress response may be brief, but it is strong enough that it is hard to recover immediately. And it is this inability to recover completely that begins to create deeper problems.
Our ancestors were faced with real threats: an animal attacking, the inability to find food would lead to famine, or consider not having a physical shelter from the elements. For our ancestors the threat was real and life threatening every time, and their bodies developed this smart mechanism that would give the body a quick burst of energy. The original purpose was to give you the capability to survive a physical attack (a ‘fight or flight’ response).
What Happens During a Stress Response?
1. Your pulse (heart rate) becomes faster
2. You have a burst of adrenaline
3. Your blood is redirected away from the arms and legs to the major organs (especially the heart and the lungs)
4. There is a release of cortisol (known as the stress hormone), which immediately has a cascading negative effect on other hormones, including fertility hormones.
Today our bodies have the same reaction our ancestors did, even though the trigger may not actually be a life or death situation. We would probably prefer a burst of mental clarity or creativity than a burst of physical strength, but that is not what happens.
So, instead of having a burst of physical energy and then recovering naturally and quickly, we have the same physical reactions our ancestors had when threatened by a saber tooth tiger, yet we often don’t completely recover.
The 3 Most Common Modern Age Triggers:
1. High intensity mental or emotional challenges.
2. Offensive words directed at us to which we cannot respond outright. So we have to “pack it in”.
3. Something that reminds us of a past experience, perhaps even a childhood experience. Maybe we were told we were not good enough.
Everyone’s Stress Response does not evoke the same emotion.
You may always panic. Your best friend immediately becomes frustrated and angry. Another person feels fear or intense insecurity. Your stress response repeats with the same emotion. If your stress response is anxiety, you are likely to have that same response with every trigger.
Your Constant Stress Response becomes Chronic Stress
Chronic Stress is defined by a feeling, such as anxiety, irritability, depression, worry, or insecurity that always seems to be there. There are no threats present. No outside events or reasons to feel this way, but you can not shake the emotion.
How it Happened and the Potential Dangers to Your Health
1. Every strong sustained emotional stress response is felt physically. You can actually feel the physical impact.
2. Each time there is a strong stress response, if you do not quickly and immediately recover, a knot is left behind, blocking some free-flowing energy.
3. Chronic Stress starts when these knots accumulate and energy flow starts to stagnate, like the blocked flow of water in a mountain stream. Inflammation may start to develop. Inflammation is the breeding place for disease.
4. These strings of stressful events deplete your energy. That is why your recovery system isn’t working well. Your body is experiencing Emotional exhaustion and adrenal fatigue
As the stress responses continue to repeat themselves we become exhausted, our recovery system is under performing and we seem to always be feeling an undercurrent of our unique response: anxiety, anger, sadness, insecurity or worry.
Understand these 2 facts and you will recognize which solutions will help you
1. Stress Response is a response generated by the Brain
(Your brain recognizes what it thinks is a threat and the Stress Response System is activated, creating an emotional physical response)
2. Chronic Stress is emotion being generated by your Body
(The long term buildup of stress is trying to release, creating an emotional physical response)
The emotions may feel the same, but where they are coming from is not the same. So the solutions have to change.
Remember This: Chronic Stress is NOT in your Head. So You Can Not Think your Way Out of It!
The Western Solutions
1. Help the mind control the emotions
2. Suppress the symptoms
In Western Medical theory the negative emotions are seen as directly related to the inability of the mind to maintain control over the chemical emotional response.
The thought is, if you can harness your mind through chemicals or with the tools counseling can offer, you can overcome the negative emotions you are feeling.
Two solutions are offered, and they can be used together:
1. Psychological counseling: change your perspective, change the way you respond.
This can be very valuable and can help you minimize the chronic stress responses. You can gradually have more control over your response.
2. Prescription antidepressants or anti-anxiety, which suppress the emotional response.
You may not feel happier, but you have more control over your emotions. In this approach there is no difference in the solution for a Stress Response or Chronic Stress.
The Eastern Solutions
The Chronic Emotion you Feel now is Coming from Inside your Body. You may know that overall your life is good. And yet, you cannot shake being “on edge.” This anxiety is not coming from the outside. It is being released from within. This is physical, not mental. But it is affecting you mentally and emotionally. If you are feeling even a low-grade negative emotion continuously (sadness, anxiety, irritability), it can no longer be controlled or resolved from the outside. The relief has to come from the inside.
The Normal Tools You Use Don’t Work
So the counseling techniques you know so well are not as effective as they used to be. They help you control your feelings little or not at all. There is nothing wrong with you or the way you use the techniques. The techniques don’t work on energetic stress knots in your body.
A “New” Way of Approaching Things
Eastern Medicine has been studying the effect of both the mind and the body on human emotions for centuries. The buildup of stress in the body has been going on for a long time. Release the energy knots and find emotional freedom again. The Eastern Medicine solutions for Chronic Stress are specific and precisely target the organ system holding all the stress.
911 Call from Your Body
When an organ system is overloaded with “stress knots” it sends you an emergency call. That 911 call comes as a negative emotion that you can not shake. If you can understand the coordinates of the call you will then know what to do to feel relief.
1. There are 5 primary stress responses
2. Each of the 5 affects an organ system
3. Find out which organ system it is and apply the protocol.
The 5 Primary Stress Responses – Which is Yours?
Knowing which of the 5 Stress Responses is most frequently yours will help you find a solution It will be a variation of the following, so identify yours:
1. Anxiety / Panic – Heart
2. Worry / Constant thought – Digestive System
3. Sadness / Grief – Lungs
4. Anger/ Frustration – Liver
5. Insecurity / Fear – Jing
Organ Systems are Energy Hubs
Western medicine focuses on the physical but Chinese medicine focuses on energy and energy flow. Organs are not just physical body parts but vitally important energy hubs, so we call the organ systems. Organ systems are connected to each other by energy pathways (meridians). These freeways of energy allow the body to connect from inside to outside and from top to bottom.
This interconnection is the basis for understanding energetic solutions for issues. It is the holistic view taken by Chinese Medicine. Find out more about the Five Organ Systems and how they affect your emotional health. We recommend you read our popular blog article, “Are Your Emotions Making You Sick?” to gain more knowledge on the topic.
An Effective Program Will Help You do Two Things:
1. Build back your energy.
If you are tired your recovery response is also tired. You need energy so you can rebound quickly and fully again. You also need energy for happiness.
2. Unwind the Physical Tension.
When you unwind the knots your energy flow will no longer be trapped and festering within. Your energy will move easily and freely again. Instead of feeling trapped you will feel free again. The theory of how this all works is fascinating. However, how can you believe this is real unless you, yourself, start feeling different? Testimonials mean nothing until you see results.
Chinese Medicine’s Solutions
1. An herbal formula and suggested healing foods to bring back your energy support.
2. An herbal formula specific for your unique Stress Response.
3. Combined with: Simple, often very quick de stressing exercises and/or techniques.
Stop Thinking You are Headed Down with No ”Up”. You are NOT on a downward spiral. You can renew and regenerate. The gift of Chinese Medicine is its ability to help you regain and enjoy a more youthful, flexible and energetic body, mind and emotions. And there is good science behind this concept of renewal. These are techniques that have been working for hundreds of generations for people just like you. If they didn’t work the medicine wouldn’t be here.
The End Game
You start feeling happier and more energetic, better than you have felt in a long time. And you will feel stronger and more stable.
You will have physical (and mental) energy again
If you are not tired and dragging, you will have the resources to experience challenge, yet not take on extra stress knots because you have the ability to rebound.
You will have emotional and mental flexibility, which comes from a free flow of energy
If there is a free flow of energy in your body you will have the flexibility to rebound fully. You can recover this ability at any age.
Have you experienced health issues due to Chronic Stress? We’d love you to tell us about it in the comments box below – and it may help other readers.