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"Calmness is the ideal state in which we should receive all life's experiences"
WHAT IS STRESS?
To find a clear and scientific definition of stress is difficult. Hans Selye, the pioneering endocrinologist proposed several definitions including: "the perception of threat, with resulting anxiety discomfort, emotional tension, and difficulty in adjustment”.
Although definitions vary with difference sources, the effects of stress on the body are well documented. In the book Stress Science: Neuroendocrinology, the author goes into depth on how the body is in a continually fluctuating state of rest and digest (parasympathetic response) to a state of fight and flight (sympathetic response). These two divisions of the autonomic nervous system help maintain balance in all bodily processes.
Stress in of itself is natural and actually good for us. The 'Ice Man' WimHof has been showing how exposure to cold environments that stress the body can help you to become more resilient to infections. Furthermore, physical stresses such as working out act as a positive stress on the body, helping to condition the cardiovascular system and improve mood.
The real question is when does stress become negative?!
WIM HOF METHOD
If you are interested in the idea of positive stress and increasing your resilience to infections the WimHof Method is a good place to begin.
There are plenty of interviews with him on YouTube or alternatively you can visit his website wimhofmethod.com to really grasp what he is all about.
If you were enjoying a day in the garden you are in a parasympathetic state (relaxed). However, should a hungry tiger jump over the wall and walk towards you will switch to a sympathetic response: muscles engage, blood vessels constrict, pupils dilate, and heart rate will increase so you can hastily get away. Once in assured safety your will return to a parasympathetic state.
When the sympathetic response is being triggered too frequently or continuously the balance of this evolutionary-driven system is thrown out of whack, and negative effects occur.
Continuous stress from a perceived negative situation or physiological source causes a sustained low-grade inflammatory response which has catastrophic effects on the body. Symptoms of aching joints, poor sleep, fatigue and, mood and behaviour changes may take place. If this continues it may affect the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections; damage the gastrointestinal tract, causing digestive disturbances; increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease, as well as increase depressive and anxiety disorders.
A LIGHT TRIGGER
Breathing techniques, functional nutrition, and Neuro Emotional Technique can all help to calm the nervous system. As the great yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, says "Calmness is the ideal state in which we should receive all life's experiences."
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