Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Stress is obvious, right? Actually no, one of the reasons many people are feeling over stressed is because they are unaware of all the things that are causing 'stress'.
For this idea to make sense we need to use the scientific definition of stress 'stress is anything that disturbs the functioning of the systems that keep the body and mind running smoothly." The body is designed to be in equilibrium, the ideal temperature, glucose levels, mental processes, emotions etc.
Your probably wouldn't think that getting out of a chair is stressful, it doesn't feel stressful- but biological speaking it is. It doesn't compare to losing a job, but it does activate parts of the same pathways in the body and the brain.
Standing up triggers brains cells (neurons) needed to coordinate the movement; muscles in the legs, balance etc. Doing it a couple of times no problem, but do it a hundred in quick succession and then you will notice how the repeated action starts to have noticeable affects; you feel tired and your legs ache.
Just as movement is triggered by neurons firing, emotions are the product of neurons signalling one another. When we repeat any process, physical or mental without time to recover, the stress accumulates and we feel the negative consequences in our minds and bodies. When we are anxious, we have lots of thoughts and emotions, these are the result of neuronal communications, the more you have the more energy you use.
According to Dr Stuart Shanker, 'Hidden stressors are dangerous because we are unaware of how they affects us.' Glucose is an example, glucose is the energy source of our cells but in excess it is toxic. When we eat too much sugar our body has to work hard to rebalance our glucose levels. Video games, social media, too much salt, not going outside are examples of hidden stressors. We might think they make feel better but they are disturbing the functioning of our physical and mental systems.
Hidden stressors raise our stress load and their cumulative effect can tip our systems out of balance. Hidden stressors are a key factor in creating chronic stress overload. Dr Shanker states 'We are seeing a generation of children and teens with excessively high levels of stress, and, as a result, an explosion of emotional, social, learning, behavioural and physical health problems in young people today.' The trend of consuming high sugar foods runs parallel to this. People are self-medicating to reduce tension and to raise energy using food, social media and video games. This sets up a vicious circle, a stress cycle. How do we break this? We learn healthy self-regulation strategies, we do Self-Reg