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The Chemistry of Stress  

 How does stress arise?

Whenever we perceive a situation that demands  urgent and immediate action, our adrenal glands begin to make adrenalin. Imagine a mad dog chasing us....the fear in our mind is transmitted to the brain and the pituitary gland in the forehead sends signals to the adrenal gland situated above the kidney to produce the hormone adrenalin. The adrenalin is like a siren, an alarming sound to inform everyone about a situation demanding immediate attention and to halt all other activities.  Within a few seconds the adrenalin instructs various organs like the heart to pump more blood, the muscles to get tensed, the eyes to dilate, the lungs to breathe more; in the meantime, glucose is pumped into the blood, which thickens. Within a few seconds, so much glucose is made  available in the blood, that we could run even a mile.  

Stress - an Unwarranted Condition

              This type of adrenalin-mediated reaction is good, even necessary, to handle an attention-demanding situation and protects the body. But this adrenalin secretion which is meant only for combating emergency situations, if triggered unnecessarily like maybe for an unwanted telephone call, a traffic jam, or kids quarreling while watching TV, an irritating boss, spouse or a colleague etc. is called stress. The above unwarranted  reactions if  triggered in our body will make our organs work overtime and exhaust themselves. Understand that under normal conditions your  heart beats more than 60 times a minute. Under stress, you make your heart pound more than 100 times a minute. This will tire your heart and  end up in a heart attack and/or changing of heart valves.

Stress Reactions

      The digested food is converted to glucose in our bodies and excess glucose  is stored as glycogen or fat. Excess glucose in the blood will damage the body organs. Therefore, a hormone called insulin that is produced by the pancreas will remove excess glucose from the blood.

          We have to understand the following fact to maintain good health. The energy needed to run to a response to 'fear and flight' is made available by  adrenalin by increasing  glucose level in the blood.  So when we unnecessarily increase the blood glucose levels it damages the body organs. This is how stress, over a period of time, causes quick ageing and age-related diseases.

          You will realize that this 'fight or flight' response is a high energy process. We might wonder where the extra energy comes from, especially if we were feeling tired immediately before the event that caused the 'fight or flight' response in us.  The answer is that energy is diverted from the body’s normal functions of maintenance and repair. Thus, so long as we are feeling stressed, our digestion, rejuvenation and cleansing functions are turned off.

           Worn out by the process described above, our energy is sapped. We lose concentration, become easily confused, make silly mistakes, fall asleep after lunch, become irritable, find it hard to sleep at night, don’t want to wake up in the morning, sweat more than normal, and/or suffer from headaches.  These are the symptoms that ring bells of the disaster we are causing  our body.

       Instead of addressing the root cause of "low energy" we  get into addictive habits.

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