Is Your Life Balanced?
Think about it like we’re either on one side or the other. As you can see (picture above) on the sympathetic side which is when the body prepares us for getting out of danger, health issues arise if this is the everyday picture. The reason being, the body dials down digestion, reproduction (i.e libido is squashed), the immune system, in fact anything that is unnecessary in the temporary crisis so we have full energy to fight or flee a situation.
This is normal and natural, what isn’t is living like this chronically over the long-term.
The initial stress response is only meant to be short term so we could survive from real threats such as predators. Our body is wired in exactly the same way as it was when we lived in caves. Which was great when we needed to flee wild animals and other dangers. But not so great today, where we experience constant stressors on a daily basis, be that from work or family life, or something as simple as a traffic jam or watching the news.
In a chronically stressed state your cortisol levels stay high. Cortisol, often thought of as our ‘stress hormone’ is needed in adequate amounts for ‘get up and go’ in the mornings and to deal with stressors throughout the day.
If stress is persistent, cortisol levels cannot keep up with the demands resulting in low levels (adrenal insufficiency), AKA - burnout.
The quality of your health is determined by balance
Stress is part of life. Some stress is actually considered to be good for us, such as working on goals and pushing yourself to be more. The aim is not to try to eradicate stress entirely, but to ensure it’s balanced out with enough recovery.