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How Did I End Up Like This?

If you have had your chronic stress around long enough you have asked this question
in one form or another.  At this point you have a pretty good idea of how stress works but it’s worthwhile to illustrate this in an even clearer and general way.

At some point in our lives we were at our best when it came to our health and our symptoms.  Perhaps this was in very early childhood, perhaps not that long ago.  The point is we had a time where things were normal and that is our starting point.  In figure one you will see that represented by the highest point on the dotted line.

Then “life” happens and the stress comes.  At first slow and intermittent but gradually it builds until it starts to affect your health.  At first though you don’t feel it.  You might know it’s there but you don’t feel a symptom in the body with perhaps the exception of a few sleepless nights etc.

It’s also important to point out again that your deconstructive stresses represented by the orange arrow can be emotional, physical or chemical.  Your body doesn’t care what type of stress it is, all it cares about is trying to deal with it and the stress response as explained previously is the same regardless of whether your stress is physical, emotional or chemical.


If the stress is short or not too intense our healing and innate constructive forces will deal with it and this is represented by the green arrow.  No user manual is required and the body knows exactly what to do.  These healing forces are always present in the body even when our stress is particularly overwhelming.  In fact this overwhelming stress is the key.  Our bodies only have a certain amount or threshold of healing they can do.  This is always fluctuating and in a delicate balance with the deconstructive stresses.  When your deconstructive stresses overwhelm your constructive forces for some time is when we have trouble and eventually you drop below the orange symptom line and for the very first time you have a symptom.

Let’s assume its high blood pressure.  If you are like most people you will do one of two things. 

If you have had your chronic stress around long enough you have asked this question in one form or another.  At this point you have a pretty good idea of how stress works but it’s worthwhile to illustrate this in an even clearer and general way.

The first thing most people would do is look at their life, acknowledge they have been recently stressed, and then vow to reduce the stress and in turn the blood pressure.  In theory this is great.  In practice it’s just a Band-Aid as the person is not looking at permanent lifestyle changes, they are just wanting the blood pressure to go away.  In no time the stress will build back up again, and in turn the blood pressure as well.

The second option is to go on blood pressure medications.  In this option the blood pressure will come down.  But it will do so at a cost.  The problem is that the blood pressure was high as it was an intelligent response of the body to help you contain your stress.  Remember how when the crocodile jumps out at you one of the very first responses we have is to raise the blood pressure?   We need this increased blood pressure to help us survive the attack.

When you take blood pressure medications you will lower your blood pressure and in turn decrease your ability to deal with stress.  This is not intelligent nor helpful in the long term.

Now there can be exceptions.  If someone’s blood pressure is 220/120 they are at risk of things like a stroke and they should take the medication.  However they should only take it with the understanding that they need to work on the cause of the problem, which is the stress, so that they can come OFF the medication at some future point. Far too many people buy into the idea that once you are on a medication you are on it for life.  Not true the majority of the time IF you fix the underlying root causes.

With both options you will notice you will come up above the symptom line if you look at figure one.  Of course the person will be happy but this will be short lived. 

Because the stresses have never been dealt with, eventually the blood pressure will come back and they will drop below the symptom line again.  

At this point the person evaluates their options again and they may increase their blood pressure medication or they may go on a 3 week holiday.  Again notice most people don’t make the permanent lifestyle changes that are required to truly deal with this problem.  Unfortunately the person will now start going round and round with blood pressure problems never being able to truly fix the issue.

The only true solution to these self-induced stress based problems it to recognize that our bodies are doing the best they can with the constructive green arrow.  We are not broken internally and our body knows exactly what to do and is doing its absolute best. 

Remember the problem is not so much that our body has pathology in it, it’s that our pathological lifestyles are causing our problems.

At Lifestyle Integration we provide natural solutions for stress and lifestyle-based health issues for over 50’s.

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