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Episode012. I’m Stressing Out!

stress, cortisol, response, physiotherapy, health

In our go-go-go society, we have more stress than ever before!

Being constantly connected via telephones and social media, we never step away. We are always checking in to other peoples lives and comparing them to our own, checking email and worrying. I truly believe we spend a good portion of our day … WORRYING. What does worry lead to? Stress!

Stress is normal

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Stress is a response to environmental pressures or demands (“stressors”), in particular when we feel they are a threat to our coping strategies or well-being. Stress is a normal response to situations where we perceive a threat or danger.

From this perspective, stress is actually good for us. It tells us when there are threats or danger. But what happens now is that stress doesn’t happen for brief moments. Stress is long-lasting. For some, we are chronically in this fight or flight stressed-out state.

This was the topic of the wonderful (but pretty science dense) book called “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Robert Sapolsky. In this book, he compares stress from hundreds of years ago to how we experience stress today. It’s drastically different.

The Stress Response.

Our body’s experience stress through our nervous system and our hormones. For our nervous system, we can break this down into our central nervous system (CNS) and our autonomic nervous system (ANS). Our CNS is the brain and nervous system. Our ANS are these involuntary things that happen. We don’t think about them.

The ANS can be further broken down into the

  • Flight or Fight Response – Our Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Rest, Digest and Recover Response – Our Parasympathetic Nervous System

In this podcast episode, we break these down and how they are important whenever we talk about stress.

Our Hormones.

The stress hormones that are important are adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. Again, in this podcast we break these down and why they are important for our day-to-day lives.

As a physiotherapist, I ask every single one of my clients to tell me a little bit about how much stress they’re in. Stress affects physiotherapy. It affects our ability to recover.

This is a BIG topic so we are really only scratching the surface of the water with this podcast. Enjoy and let us know if there are any topics in particular you want us to deep dive into!

As promised, in this episode I mentioned that Nick had done an article on stress and nutrition. Check it out here.

Until next time!

Christina

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