Did you know that 70-80% of all doctor visits are for stress-related illnesses and that 50% of all illnesses are caused by stress?
With these statistics, stress is not something to be ignored. When you hear the word stress, you most likely think of the kind that you feel, the emotional stress that can come from a variety of things such as relationship tension, financial stress, expectations, project deadlines, fear, worry, anxiety etc. While these are all significant sources of stress that will have a negative effect on your health if not managed well, emotional stress is just one piece of the puzzle.
Stress defined by Reed Davis, founder of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Course, is “any influence, internal or external that causes or leads to malfunction.” So, this includes the emotional piece like I just mentioned, but it also includes physical, chemical, biochemical and functional stress. Below are a few examples of each.
- Over training or exercise that is too intense when our body is already tired
- Misalignment of the spine and tight muscles
- Poor posture
- Processed/non-organic foods
- High inflammatory foods
- Invisible toxins in your water, air and personal care products
- Lack of adequate or quality sleep
- Unknown parasites, bacteria or yeast in your gut
- Constant stimulation from phones, computers and tablets
- Not enough sunlight
So, even if you don’t feel stressed, this does not mean your body is not under stress. It does not matter what kind of stress you are under, distress of any kind will contribute to dysfunction in the body and an overall weakened state of health. If left unchecked, this will lead to multiple symptoms downstream which will eventually lead to disease.
Put simply, stress of any kind leads to symptoms which may lead to disease. Therefore, when symptoms arise, it is often far removed from the actual cause. We must look at the stress load on the body and work to remove as many stressors as possible when seeking to heal the body vs. just treating symptoms. So, what are the things that you know are contributing to stress in your life that you can work on removing now? Read through the list above again. Most of these things you have full control over.
If you need a good place to start, I’ll leave you with one practical thing you can work on starting this week.
Identify the sources of emotional stress in your life:
Sometimes the source of our stress is something we can control and remove from our lives like an unhealthy relationship or overbooked schedules, while some situations we cannot control. In order to help identify your unique sources of stress, consider starting a stress journal. Pay careful attention throughout your days/weeks of when you begin to feel any sort of emotional stress (fear, worry, anxiety, lack of purpose, bad attitudes etc.). Write in your journal, how you felt, what caused this feeling and how you handled it. This will help to at least identify your triggers so you can work to either remove them or, for those situations we cannot control, work on finding a healthier way to respond.