What Is Stress Doing To YOU?
By Lindsay Sibson
I woke up and could barely get out of bed. It felt like someone had stabbed me with a knife in the lower back. There was this pinching and burning sensation that was bringing tears to my eyes and almost making me want to cry. I managed to maneuver myself out of bed and was barely able to dress myself to go to work.
I felt awful.
I had had some lower back issues stemming from a car accident years ago… but THIS was different. It felt like something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t even stand up straight and walk without feeling excruciating pain.
Considering the pain had been there for days and wasn’t improving, someone finally convinced me to go the emergency room since I was pale in the face and hunched over in my office. Once the doctor saw me, he said that lower back pain was “normal,” didn’t even bother to examine me and wrote me two prescriptions (even after I told him I don’t like taking medicine) – one for pain and one for muscle relaxers. I walked out of the hospital in tears, still thinking there was something majorly wrong with my back.
It wasn’t until one of my clients (I was a director of a school at the time), a chiropractor, suggested I pay him a visit. Within five minutes of talking to me and examining my back he had his conclusion… STRESS!
Wait, WHAT? No no no… there is no way this extreme lower back pain is stress related… right?
Well, long story short, I reflected a LOT on my life and decided it was time to resign from my stressful job. I handed in my two week notice and not even 24 hours later I woke up and the back pain was GONE! I’m not talking about it getting better – it was 100% gone!
The moral of the story? STRESS can do crazy things to your body that you may not even be aware of!
Here are 5 frightening ways that stress can mess with that beautiful body of yours:
1. Stress and gut health are closely intertwined: 95% of your serotonin (the “happiness” hormone) is in your gut – therefore, stress impacts your gut EVERY day! Stress can slow down your gut functions, causing constipation, IBS, bad bacteria overgrowth, ulcers, reflux and food sensitivities.
2. Stress is bad for your muscles and bones: Studies show that people who are constantly under stress experience more physical pain and have lower bone density – yikes!
3. Stress impedes your ability to detoxify: Not only does stress increase your desire for high fat and high sugar foods (which increases your toxic burden), but stress also negatively impacts the genes that break down fats and detoxify your body.
4. Stress negatively affects your brain function: High levels of stress hormones can actually damage your brain. If your brain is detecting chronic stress, it will turn off the adrenals to protect itself, which leaves you feeling burnt out and drained.
5. Stress weakens your immune system: Do you seem to catch every cold? Stress could be the culprit. From weakening your immune system to slowing your ability to heal from injuries and wounds, stress diminishes your body’s defense systems.
Feeling stressed? Try these 3 tips to get yourself to a healthier and happier place:
1. Walk it off: Get your body moving with some physical exercise. If you have a lot of stress energy inside your body, it can leave you feeling tense and agitated. Get outside, walk around, breathe fresh air, or go and punch a boxing bag if you need to relieve some stress.
2. Recognize that some things just aren’t in your control: A great question to ask yourself in any situation is, “Is this IN my control or NOT in my control?” If it is, then take action to change your circumstances. If it is not in your control, then there is no point in getting yourself worked up over it.
3. Write it down: Sometimes you just need to get it “off your chest.” Instead of having a complaining session with a friend, find a quiet place and just write down all your thoughts, frustrations and feelings. Release the energy that is associated with the stress and clear your mind.
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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