Chronic Stress


Stress has a bad rap but did you know some stress is good for us? Acute stress is the “in the moment, short lived” push that gets us motivated to move and exercise, fuels our creativity to solve a problem, or gets our brain thinking to get work done.

But it’s chronic stress, the build up of un-used acute stress events where you didn’t move forward, express your creativity or work toward solving problems; OR it’s the events that send us into total stress overwhelm. Chronic stress silently sabotages your health bit by bit, ache by anxious feeling, building day by day into health problems.

This website link has info that is too good not to pass along to you:
“The health-damaging effects of chronic stress are scientific fact.

Here’s how stress damages your health (and your life, relationships, waistline, and more)
in 13 sad steps:
1. You think about something stressful—work, money, relationships, family, whatever’s
bothering you.
2. Your amygdala (in your mid-brain) senses danger.
3. Your amygdala helps to initiate your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress.
4. In “fight or flight”, your body releases adrenaline and the “stress hormone” cortisol,
diverts blood away from your digestive tract, leaving you less able to digest food and
absorb nutrients AND more likely to gain weight.
5. In this physiological “crisis mode,” you’re more vulnerable to pain—from chronic
illness, arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, stomach upset, and more.
6. In this state of heightened physiological “alert”, your brain’s creative center is
deemed “non-essential” and shuts down. Down goes your problem solving, your creative
skills, your intuition.
7. You feel increasingly irritable, isolated and impatient. Your relationships suffer.
8. Stress affects your sleep. Your metabolism slows.
9. Your body secretes even more cortisol, wreaking more havoc on your digestion (and
waist line), increasing your blood pressure, lowering your immune response.
10. After releasing too much cortisol for too long, your body goes into “adrenal
fatigue.” You feel depleted, exhausted, and depressed.
11. You no longer have the energy to adhere to your exercise routine, your healthy
eating, meditation, yoga. Migraines, insomnia, stress-related hair loss, chronic pain,
and any number of other issues become regular parts of your life.
12. Battling low energy, you can hardly focus at work, and elsewhere. Your relationships
13. Your depression deepens. You (and your body) are STRESSED OUT.

Typical “Quick-Fix” Stress Relievers
You feel better, but only until the next morning or credit card statement.”

So how do you combat chronic stress? Because chronic stress concerns both the mind (what one person interprets as stress another person may thrive on – so it depends on your thoughts and past experiences) triggering a body reaction (fight/flight vagus nerve activation, cortisol release by adrenals – adrenal fatigue, etc) … then it makes sense that the best stress management solutions will combine mind and body techniques.

Here’s a very simplified breakdown of the brain – we have 3 parts to our brain – the brainstem and cerebellum (we share this type of brain with even reptiles and this brain is sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain); the mid-brain or limbic system (this is our instinctual emotional memory brain and we share this with mammals, like dogs and horses); and the forebrain or cerebrum (the planning, calculating, creative brain that we share with primates – but our’s is much larger than apes).

Consider your dog is afraid of thunderstorms (limbic brain activates) – how is it best to calm him? Can you say, “get over it” or “it’s ok, it’s just rain” OR is it more effective to pet and stroke him to soothe the fear? Touch is much more calming than words for an activated limbic system in the dog and it’s the same for us when we are stressed and our limbic system is activated.

A study performed by Dr. Dawson Church, PhD and Dr. David Feinstein, PhD, measured cortisol levels before and after treatment. 83 participants were divided into 3 groups: the 1st group received an hour of of the Emotional Freedom Technique called Tapping, a practice that combines “talk” therapy with acupressure treatments; the 2nd group received an hour of psychotherapy (“talk” therapy); the 3rd group (control group) received no treatment. Results: The 1st group (tapping group) demonstrated a 24% decrease in cortisol levels; the 2nd and 3rd groups showed no change in cortisol levels.

The Right Step is now offering the Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) along with bodywork to help you decrease and manage stress levels and we have a new Stress Management Package! The benefits of EFT or Tapping: Acts fast; Use anytime, anywhere; Simple – can take as little as 5 minutes. Because tapping accesses your emotions and body simultaneously, it provides powerful stress relief, lowering cortisol levels faster than most traditional and alternative stress relief methods. Study findings from Dr. Church: Tapping balances activity between the sympathetic and parasympathetic regions of your brain, producing “a neutral emotional state,” the gold standard of health and wellness. Dr. Church, PhD: Tapping “gives you the best of both worlds, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.”