In order to start understanding the stressors in our lives we need to start by recognizing the 2 different types of stressors.
The first category is Toxicity. Toxins are defined as those things which force a state of adaptation. They can be things like bacteria, drugs, chemicals, physical trauma, or even toxic thoughts and relationships. This also happens when something toxic has entered into your ecosystem, or into your cells.
The second category is Deficiency. This happens when you are not supplying your ecosystem things like essential nutrients or raw material that is genetically required for healthy cell function. You are deficient in something that your cells genetically require to function properly.
Toxicity and deficiency are the root causes of all chronic illnesses. If you live in an environment that is filled with stressors, toxicity and deficiency, then your cells go into a state of adaptation because they are genetically programmed for survival.
Start thinking of stressors as rocks in your backpack while swimming in a swimming pool. Just like rocks, stressors weigh you down until you start drowning. The first thing that starts to happen is that our lifespan is shortened. With these stressors, our cells begin to divide quicker, giving us greater cell damage. But most importantly, the quality of our life decreases as day to day life becomes more of a struggle. Rocks or stressors you put in your backpack come from your environment and from your lifestyle choices. By simply treating the effects of those rocks in your backpack, such as changes in blood pressure or changes in cholesterol, will not address the cause of the issue. Those rocks are still in your backpack unless you remove the stressor from your life, or leave the stressful environment.
Cells go through a series of stages when they are exposed to chronic stressors.
The first stage is alarm or fight or flight – The individual cells detect the stressor and begin to change their genetic expression in order to enter into a state of alarm, fear, protection, and also a state of survival physiology.
The second stage is adaptation – With the new gene expression there is a deliberate change in physiology that is aimed at surviving or adapting to the threat caused by the stressor.
The third stage is fatigue – If the exposure to the stressor is chronic the cells use so much energy dealing with the stressors that they become fatigued and weak.
The last stage is death – If the chronic stressor remains then it will eventually exhausts our resources for survival.
Fat and sugar are the main ingredients for our stress hormones, so when we are under stress we actually crave more fats and sugars. We also stimulate the stress response by thinking about stressful past events. In fact, during periods of chronic stress it becomes easier to dwell on the negative things in our lives instead of the positive. We can take rocks/stressors out of our backpacks by choosing to focus on gratitude and solutions instead of resentment and problems.
At a very young age we were all told that we will get better at piano or sports with lots of practice; it is the same way with stress or depressing thoughts. When we spend our time and ‘practice’ at seeing the glass half full, then that is the way that we will always see it. But if we ‘practice’ at seeing the good in life with gratitude, then we will start seeing the glass half full.
The Wellness & Prevention Paradigm by: Dr. James L. Chestnut