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This week Kacey spoke to Naturopath Jackie Arbuckle from ‘Alchemy for the Body and Soul’ about stress, the effects of stress on the body and what happens to you when you are under stress.
Hi Jackie, could you please share with the Kula Yoga community why is stress increasing with Melbourne employees?
Everyone talks about being stressed, but do we really know exactly what being stressed means?  Recognising you are under stress is often the hardest part, as we tend to notice once the stress has finished and we look back and think, “gee that was a stressful time in my life”.
Some stress is good for us. This is called positive stress, and is performance enhancing, however most of the time we are all under too much stress, which is harmful to the wellbeing of our mind and body.  Being part of modern society can be stressful. Life is speeding up, and we are living in a world that wants instant solutions.  It is quite overwhelming! Plus we have the current economic climate, the global threat of terrorism, climate change, all combined with problems in our individual lives including workplace pressures; it’s no wonder we are stressed out!
What happens to your body when you are under stress?
The body goes through 3 stages when dealing with stress.
1. Alarm stage – fight vs flight
In a stressful situation the body is preparing for action. Our heart rate increases, our metabolism increases to prepare our muscles, our breathing rate also increases, and more blood, which is full of glucose is sent to our muscles to give them energy.  This blood is sent away from our digestive system.  A good indicator of when this is happening is a dry mouth – as the body is harnessing all its efforts into a flight or fight response, and not digestion.
“Stress hormones” (one of which is cortisol) are released from hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain, and the adrenal glands, which are located on top of your kidneys.  Primal humans literally fought or fled – and in doing so, used up all these hormones in their body, along with using their primed muscles in action. 
2.  Resistance stage
In modern times we don’t physically run or fight our stress source, so the stress is usually not resolved.  We are simply trying to cope with the stress until it is over, however this is very taxing on the body. More hormones are produced, and this is what leads to the exhaustion stage, and many physical problems in the body.
3. Exhaustion stage and the long term manifestations in the body
Cortisol is the main stress hormone and affects every cell in the human body.  It produces changes in the body such as decreasing the activity of the immune system, decreasing the ability of the brain to form new memories, and decreases bone density – just to name a few. 
What are some of the outcomes of prolonged stress on the body?
There are many and varied effects of stress on the body, these include:

  • Neck pain
  • Migraines & headaches
  • High blood pressure & heart disease
  • Decreased immunity – such as more frequent infections (colds and flu)
  • Indigestion and heart burn
  • Ulcers (mouth & stomach)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite
  • Being more emotional than normal and over reacting
  • Insomnia
  • Hives
  • Teeth grinding
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased concentration
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Wrinkles

Tune in for next week’s KulaBlog for some strategies on how to deal with stress.
Stretch and smile,
Kacey
Kula Corporate Yoga provides Melbourne workplaces with group yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing. Kula Yoga offers staff a unique yoga experience to strengthen their minds and bodies. Find out more about our beneficial group yoga programs on our website www.kulayoga.com.au.
 

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