What you need to know...
The damaging physical effects of Stress
What is 'Stress' and how it affects your body
Fight Flight vs Relaxation Response
Stress...What you need to know...
3 About the Editor What I know about Stress
4 What is Stress?
6 Fight/Flight Vs Relaxation Response
7 Relaxation Response
9 Stress Response
10 Chronic Stress
12 Turning off the Stress Response
16 The physical healing power of
creating ongoing calm...Where
to from here...
Psychological relief from
www.mindfullycalm.com.au | Lynne Morrison Mildura VIC 3500 Australia
About the Editor...
My name is Lynne Morrison and I am Living with chronic, complex long
the owner of Mindfully Calm. term physical &/or psychological
illness is stressful.
I provide a mind body approach to
help clients improve their physical Not only do you have the condition
and psychological health & well and all the symptoms that go with it -
being. you have the stress of being
Using both massage and meditation
techniques, I assist women living with You may be able to successfully
complex medical conditions & long treat your condition or you might
term illness. have to find a way to live more
peacefully with and manage your
Including: Cancer; autoimmune illness.
conditions; Fibromyalgia, Lymphatic
dysfunction and many more. Either way, you do have the
capacity to improve your health
I am an old hospital trained Nurse and despite your illness.
spent that career working in acute &
community psychiatry. I have much This can be done by learning the
expertise in helping people overcome ART of Relaxation. By putting into
and manage life stress. practice mind body techniques that
train the body to relax - you can
Additionally, I have had to learn to improve your overall physical and
manage my own long term illness that mental health.
includes:: panic, anxiety and
depression. Come with me through this
Relaxation Kit and learn what you
This gives me a unique skill set - the can do to improve your health & well
ability to help people and the heartfelt being - starting today....
empathy to understand how people
feel who live with any of these 3
What is Stress?
Some of us think that Stress is
entirely psychological - that it is
our own inability to cope with
what happens to us in life. Lets
make this really clear - Stress is
NOT a personal failure to cope.
The Oxford Dictionary gives a few definitions for stress: for our
purpose let's look at the two that are relevant:
Stress is a "state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting
from adverse or demanding circumstances."
Stress is a "Physiological disturbance or damage caused to an
organism by adverse circumstances.
There is no doubt that we do experience stress in the form
psychological tension. However before that happens
- physiological changes happen throughout our body.
relating to the way
in which a living
organism or bodily
The body's natural resting state
All the systems in our body are constantly working to maintain
our body in a state of balance and good health. Cells are
communicating with other, and just like blood and oxygen,
hormones, nutrients and chemicals are been transported around
the body to facilitate this balanced state called: Homeostasis.
For our body to maintain optimal physical health it needs
to be in this preferred Homeostatic state. In this
state our 70 odd trillion cells can get busy
healing, repairing & multiplying. When you are asleep
and relaxed your body is in this homeostatic state.
What we need to understand is that when we are in a state of 'stress'
this prevents the body from being in this Homeostatic state. Our body
is either in a resting relaxed state or it is in a state of 'stress' otherwise
known as Fight/Flight.
Homeostasis : tendency
towards a relatively stable
especially as maintained
Rest & Digest Vs Fight or Flight
Fight or Flight Rest & Digest
Stress Response Relaxation
Red Zone Response
Sympathetic Green Zone
Nervous System Parasympathetic
These terms are used interchangeably to describe the two different
states. When the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated - the
body is in fight or flight and when the parasympathetic nervous
system (PNS) is activated - the body is in Rest & Digest.
The body cannot be in both states at the same time
So...let's take a look at what
is happening in the body when it is in
it's relaxed Homeostatic State...and
when it is in a state of fight or Flight...
System (PNS) is activated when
our body is in it's natural
Homeostatic State. Our
body naturally defaults to this
state when given the choice - eg
when we are asleep.
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions
of the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes called the rest
and digest system, the parasympathetic system conserves
energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and
gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the
gastrointestinal tract. Its job is to bring the body back into
Physical effects in the body when the Parasympathetic
Nervous System/Relaxation Response is activated.
Blood flows to digestive system & organs
muscular tension decreases
heart rate, B.P. decreases
immune system functions well
tissue/cell repair & healing occurs
experience of pain decreases
The Stress response aka Sympathetic Nervous System
(SNS) is hardwired into our brain.
Our brain is constantly surveying the environment for
threats to our survival.
As soon as the brain recognizes a real or perceived threat, an alert is
activated in the brain & the Thalamus stimulates the Amygdala to
trigger the HPA-Axis
sends a message to
the Pituitary Gland to
send a chemical
message to the
Adrenal Gland to
release the 'stress
Hypothalmus Pitiutary Adrenal Gland Axis
The release of these stress hormones enable the body to
prepare for either fight or flight.
The triggering of this survival function is automatic,
instantaneous and puts your brain on high alert. It is not
within our conscious control. when the threat has passed -
chemical messages are sent back to the brain to turn it off.
when the Sympathetic
Nervous System (SNS)...is
activated these changes
immediately occur in the
Adrenaline increases your heart rate and you blood pressure (so
that your heart can move blood)
Your pupils dilate so that your eyes can gather more light.
norepinephrine shunts blood to large muscle groups - increasing
Bronchioles in your lungs dilate for increased gas exchange so
that you can hit harder or run faster.
Cortisol suppresses the immune system to reduce inflammation
that might occur form any wounds
the thalamus stimulates the Amygdala further which then causes
the SNS to be stimulted even further - producing even more
Digestion slows, salivation decreases, peristalsis slows down,
your mouth feels dry and you become constipated.
Your emotions intensify as your brain is mobiised for action. Pain
Telomeres shorten which increases genetic instability
Sympathetic nervous system: A part of the
nervous system that serves to accelerate the
heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and raise
While the stress
Response sounds all
rather dramatic...it is a
Remember... it is
hardwired into our brain
to enable us to survive
However we need to also understand that the brain recognises
actual and PERCEIVED threats to our survival. Perceived means
that for example when we open a power bill and it is much more
than we anticipated, or it could be a car cutting you of, a criticism
from a friend or even worrying thoughts about a presentation you
are giving next week. Whatever the source of the threat
- real or perceived - the Warning bells go off in the Brain and the
HPA-Axis is triggered.
The Stress Response has
only been designed to be
short lived. And so now - In
the busy world we inhabit
today - these triggers seem to
be more and more. The
danger we face is that the
SNS gets turned on over and
over again and in some of us
this then turns into chronic
stress or Alliostatic Load
Chronic Stress interferes with the body's natural ability
to heal and most specifically it impairs: the
immune system; the digestive system; tissue/cellular
healing & repair
and genetic stability
Text placeholder If we are already suffering
from any sort of physical or
psychological condition or
illness - being in fight or
flight makes things worse
and the more time we spent
in this state the more it
inhibits our body's ability to
psychologically it also wreaks havoc adding to our anxiety, perhaps
making us feel overwhelmed, hopeless and helpless. It draws our
attention to the negative, catastrophizing and maintaining a constant
vigilance for more threats
Chronic Stress -
Allostatic load is "the wear
and tear on the body" that
accumulates as an individual
is exposed to repeated or
chronic stress. The term was
coined by McEwen and
Stellar in 1993. Wikipedia
So...what can we do to
decrease our allostatic load,
turn off the stress response
and help return our body to
it's natural Homeostatic
Simply...by incorporating actions & activities into
your daily life...that turn ON the Relaxation Response
and therefore...turn OFF the Stress Response
seriously...I have a life impacting illness and you are
telling me to relax? Yep..Absolutely... I am..
Find out how by downloading my The ART of
Relaxation E Book 12
Velcro for Bad, Teflon for
Improves your Health & WellBeing
The damaging physical effects of
Mastering the art of Relaxation - the
key to better health
Fight Flight vs Relaxation Response