Harmful Negative Effects Of Stress And Trauma
When it comes to BiOptimization, there is no way around managing the effects of stress and trauma on your physiology. However, life is not about eliminating stress, but rather learning how to thrive and succeed despite it. You want to understand how stress and trauma can affect your physiology and learn evidence-based methods for maintaining
In this article, you will learn:
- What stress is and how it affects your body
- A hidden source of stress that could age you and destroy your happiness
- The stress hormone connection: why excess stress shows up around your Waistline
- Ways to mitigate the negative effects of performance
- How to thrive despite your stressors and traumas
- And much more…
What Is Stress?
Stress happens when you experience physical or emotional tension. Stress can occur from any thought or event that causes frustration, nervousness, or anger. Stress in the right amount can save lives, but too much stress kills.
Your body’s stress response is perfectly normal and critical for your survival. If someone is chasing you with a knife, your body’s reaction can be the difference between life and death.
The hormones released by the body at the time of stress prepare the body to run away or fight as:
- The body draws more oxygen
- Muscles tighten
- The heart beats faster
- Breathing accelerates
The body also suppresses the immune, excretory, and reproductive systems to prepare for action. If these critical body functions are compromised long-term, there will be dire health consequences.
The Stress Spectrum
A stress response is not a 0 or a 10. The body responds in accordance with the perceived threat. The stress response between a bear chasing you in the woods and having a looming deadline at work is not the same. The problem is that most people are constantly in a 2-8 range. There is a constant low-to-mid level of stress hormones floating in the body.
Modern-Day Stress (The Reason Behind An Ongoing Stress Response)
Almost no one in today’s world is regularly being chased by sharks, knives, and tigers. So why does the body have these stress responses?
It’s because your brain doesn’t differentiate between physical and emotional threats. The biological trauma response is the same.
When someone loses their job, their mind can start racing and projecting the worst-case scenario. Financial insecurity and fear take hold. Questions like, “What if I can’t pay my rent? What if I can’t buy food for my family?” start running through my mind.
When someone leaves a relationship, it’s common for the other person to feel insecure: “What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t attract someone else? What if I’m alone the rest of my life?”
The core root of these modern stress responses is unprocessed trauma.
When we experience a painful event, unless we “process it” and heal from it, it will get stored in the limbic system to protect us in the future. The limbic system is located in the brain and is responsible for our emotional and behavioral responses.
How Does Trauma Happen?
Trauma usually occurs when four conditions are present:
- There’s a painful experience
- The painful experience was unexpected
- The person is unresourced to process it
- The person feels alone
When trauma happens, people usually resort to emotional repression and suppression to cope with it. This buries the trauma in the emotional brain and limbic system.
Then, the amygdala (the security guard of the brain) scans for threats. Any time it sees anything remotely similar to those old traumas, it will react. The nervous system goes straight to fight, flight, or freeze.
We all know people who have been bitten by a dog and have been scared of dogs their entire life. They’re 40, 50, or 60 years old and still get scared of a chihuahua, even if it’s friendly.
And it’s very true even on micro-levels. If your father told you your grades aren’t good enough even though you hit 96/100 and said, “Where are the other four points?” That can be a traumatic experience for you as a kid. Decades later, when someone implies that you might NOT be good enough, it can retrigger the same trauma response you had as a kid.
According to experts in the field, an average person has between 300 and 500 emotional traumas stored in the body or nervous system. It’s no surprise that people are in a state of constant stress and reactivity.
Powermove: EFT And Other Emotional Healing Modalities
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a tapping technique based on the 5,000-year-old healing tradition of acupressure. It helps to relieve psychological and physical distress.
By tapping on energy points in your body, you’re able to release blockages so that feelings of stress can be released from the body.
Emotional freedom techniques can significantly help with s mental health challenges, discomfort, and cravings and increase happiness. EFT can also help in lowering cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.
How Does Stress Affect The Body?
Here are some of the consequences of chronic and constant stress:
Stress And Blood Sugar
During times of stress, your liver produces more blood sugar to give you a boost of energy. If your blood sugar levels are chronically elevated, it may increase your risk of insulin resistance. It can make it very difficult to lose weight in this condition.
Powermove: Blood Sugar Breakthrough
Blood Sugar Breakthrough supports healthy blood sugar control, making it helpful when you’re under a lot of stress or not eating your optimal diet.
Stress And The Digestive System
To deal with unhealthy stress responses, the blood in your body shifts to the muscles to help you mobilize. This can lead to digestive problems. It doesn’t exactly cause ulcers (a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori often does), but it can increase your risk of getting ulcers. This can also cause existing ulcers to act up.
Stress also reduces digestive secretions, including digestive enzymes and stomach acid. So, if you’re stressed or dealing with stress-related issues, consider supplementing with HCL Breakthrough and MassZymes.
Unhealthy stress responses can also affect how food moves through your intestinal tract, leading to digestive issues.
Powermove: Mindful Eating
Mindful eating can reduce stress and optimize digestion.
Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you’re consuming. Focus on how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness.
Stress And The Cardiovascular System
Stress hormones can affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. At the time of stress, your heart pumps faster, and stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict. The latter can lead to higher blood pressure, increasing your risk of stroke or heart attack.
Powermove: Get Regular Bodywork
Exercise is essential for better overall health and effective healthy stress response management. It’s important to pick an activity you enjoy so you can stick with it.
Effects Of Stress On The Brain
An unhealthy stress response can kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain. Cortisol has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
An unhealthy stress response can shrink your hippocampus and destroy your short-term memory. The hippocampus is the part of your brain that plays a major role in memory and learning.
These changes can lead to decreased spatial and verbal memory abilities. These negative changes in the amygdala and hippocampus can result in decreased decision-making and processing abilities and difficulty learning.
Effects Of Stress On Body Fat
Multiple studies confirm a direct correlation between unhealthy stress response and weight gain.[R9] When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol hormone, leading to higher levels in the body. The cortisol release affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally around the organs, such as:
This leads to excess abdominal fat and bigger bellies.
Furthermore, cortisol can slow your metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. Researchers have found that women who reported one or more stressors in the past 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.
Mindful meditation is an effective treatment for various psychological problems and is especially effective for reducing them.
How To Manage Stress
The goal of stress management is to:
- Spend most of your time at low levels of stress
- And increase it when needed for special occasions
Getting excited for an epic workout is great. Staying stressed every waking hour will destroy your short- and long-term life.
The goal isn’t to live a stress-free life. The goal is to pay attention to your mind and body and give it what it needs. Your body needs positive stressors (hormetic stress) in order to be as strong and healthy as possible. Your mind needs challenges in order for it to stay sharp.
However, we are not cyborgs. The human mind and body have limits, and when we approach those limits, it’s wise to pull the stress back and focus on recovery and rejuvenation.
As you can see in the diagram above, you want to cycle through hypostress (low levels of stress) to hyper stress (high manageable levels of stress). When your mind and body hit an acute stress overload BACK OFF… And when your stress becomes too low that you start to feel laziness creeping in, ramp up your physical and mental challenges.
Supplements To Promote A Healthy Stress Response
Stress can cause the body to excrete more magnesium, yet magnesium is so important for the brain to balance its stress response.
Magnesium Breakthrough is an effective supplement to promote a healthy stress response as it contains all seven types of magnesium. Some of the benefits of Magnesium Breakthrough include:
- Boosts the health of the nervous system and improves mental health
- Promotes a healthy stress response
- Promotes heart health
- Improves cognitive function
- Promotes healthy metabolism
- Promotes good sleep
- Promotes a healthy immune system
Cognibiotics combine the power of Chinese medicine with psychobiotics to help normalize the stress response system and promote cognitive performance amidst stress. The adaptogenic herbs in it promote a balanced stress response and mitigate the negative health effects of stress. It also supports mood and mental health.
An acute short-term stress response is ok. The health problems begin when the levels of stress become chronic and constant.
- United Brain Association. Stress, the silent killer. United Brain Association. Published May 1, 2019. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://americanbrainsociety.org/stress-the-silent-killer/
- Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (emotional freedom techniques) improves multiple physiological markers of health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691
- Church D, House D. Borrowing Benefits: Group treatment with clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques is associated with simultaneous reductions in posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression symptoms. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2018;23:2156587218756510. doi:10.1177/2156587218756510
- Cherpak CE. Mindful eating: A review of how the stress-digestion-mindfulness triad may modulate and improve gastrointestinal and digestive function. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2019;18(4):48-53.
- Pietrangelo A. The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. Published June 5, 2017. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
- Edenfield, T. M., & Blumenthal, J. A. Exercise and stress reduction. In: Contrada, R. J., & Baum, A., ed. The Handbook of Stress Science: Biology, Psychology, and Health. Springer Publishing Company; 2011:301-319.
- Bernstein R. The mind and mental health: How stress affects the brain. Touro University WorldWide. Published July 26, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain
- Smith S. How EFT intervenes in chronic stress. EFT Universe. Published October 4, 2021. Accessed July 16, 2022. https://www.eftuniverse.com/anxiety-stress/how-eft-intervenes-in-chronic-stress
- Jackson SE, Kirschbaum C, Steptoe A. Hair cortisol and adiposity in a population-based sample of 2,527 men and women aged 54 to 87 years: Hair Cortisol and Adiposity in a Population Sample. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017;25(3):539-544. doi:10.1002/oby.21733
- Goldstein DS. Adrenal responses to stress. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2010;30(8):1433-1440. doi:10.1007/s10571-010-9606-9
- Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosom Med. 2000;62(5):623-632. doi:10.1097/00006842-200009000-00005
- Rosmond R, Björntorp P. Occupational status, cortisol secretory pattern, and visceral obesity in middle-aged men. Obes Res. 2000;8(6):445-450. doi:10.1038/oby.2000.55
- Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Habash DL, Fagundes CP, et al. Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: a novel path to obesity. Biol Psychiatry. 2015;77(7):653-660. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.05.018
- Khoury B, Lecomte T, Fortin G, et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2013;33(6):763-771. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005