Technology is it an aid or a barrier for stress?…

Anxiety, fear, stress, adrenal fatigue, to much cortisol, not enough sleep, I’m tried!, I have no time! Don’t bother me, leave me alone!

How many times do you hear these words in a day? How many times do you speak these words?

For me I am studying, working and trying to get a business of the ground and I can tell you some days you feel steam coming out of your ears, you get the tight ball in the pit of your stomach as you stress about meeting deadlines, worry about finances, stress about not doing enough, worry about offending people, and in general just become a wound up stress ball, added to this internal friction is the modern day advances of technology where you have cell phones, emails, computers where the expectation is instant as everything is hooked up so you are connected 24/7. How many are guilty of sending an email and then 5 minutes later you are on the phone asking did you get my email! I can say I am of this!

How many then leave the office head for the gym, go for a run, or a bike ride and use the technology of , headphones, iphones, iwatches, heart rate monitor, step-o-meter, cadence readers and all other types of techno gizmo’s that are meant to enhance or monitor your performance or increase your speed? Added to this is we want ourselves to be better at performance so we consume the latest protein shake that is full of synthetics, or we drink the caffeine based performance enhancers all in the aid of better, faster, stronger fitter me!

Well here’s my newsflash! We can have the latest and greatest in terms of technology and performance enhancing whatever, the reality is technology of the instant world is not going to slow, and why should it? We will have more advances, bigger, better, faster models and so we should, but what doesn’t change is how we are built as humans and our nervous system.

So as much as technology is meant to aid us with our ability to communicate, and do things better and faster it actually also inhibits us from our ability not to be able to switch off. The stimulation that we have to our autonomic nervous system is so much that we are putting our minds and bodies in a constant state of stress.

Here’s the low down on stress…There are three stages to humans stress

The alarm stage which is when both your central nervous system is aroused and the sympathetic nervous system is activated. Your adrenal glands secrete adrenaline and noradrenaline and the hypothalamus stimulates the production of the anterior pituitary gland hormones ( more on these in a minute).

Resistance stage – or adaptation stage, this is where we can adapt to the situation or the stress, but continuous stress puts us into the exhaustion stage where continuous stress causes the progressive breakdown of our compensatory mechanisms. A person facing long-term stress will experience exhaustion showing that the resistance stage was not successful. This ultimately causes impairment of the immune system, heart failure and kidney failure. This phase is linked to chronic disease. This you may think is a little over the top. But unfortunately like any great machinery our bodies and our minds do wear out. Your body does do its upmost to compensate and does its best to maintain homeostatic balance, but the messengers inside us that we have from our hypothalamus to our pituitary gland, releasing several stress hormones of cortisol, aldosterone, thyroid hormone, antidiuretic hormone, growth hormone, adrenaline and noradrenaline contributes to our overall stress response.

The balance between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems is a delicate one and deregulation of this balance, through either excessive stress or long-term stress, can lead to immune dysfunction and an increased risk of developing a stress-related disease. For example chronic activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis can lead to excessive inflammation in various body tissues. This chronic low-grade inflammation can contribute to the development of a number of diseases including osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, depression and cardiovascular disease.

So as much as I love technology and I do, we need to be mindful of how much stimulation we are putting on our nervous system, and how much are we not allowing ourselves to switch off.

So here’s what I do when I have steam coming out my ears and I haven’t been able to switch off! I leave the cell phone at home, and I go for a walk. If I am not near the beach, I go to a park, I get away from the noise of traffic and stimulation and often the chatter in my brain (of do this and do that) and I tune in to nature.  Sometimes I have to laugh at myself as often the walk can start out as more of a stomp than a walk, but always I can guarantee by the end I am calmer, and actually observing the environment. Other things I love to do is belly breaths and stretching and remembering to laugh at myself!

Denise in her last week’s post gave some great tips on managing anxiety, and we have spoken before about the art of mindfulness, and  have provided some tips on managing stress to enable you to switch off.

Outside of this  naturopathic services can educate, empower and motivate you in lifestyle, dietary, physical and healthful modifications you may need to make, as well as provide you with some beautiful calmative, or adaptagen herbs should this be required. Feel free to chat with Denise about Vitalise Health’s naturopathy services and how we can help.

My personal hope is that as our technology advances, our own sense of mindfulness for ourselves will increase and the words of anxiety, fear, stress, adrenal fatigue…will become a rare thing to hear.

Stay strong, healthy, happy and well and do something crazy like switching off the cell every now and then!

Me xx