In this training, “The Truth About Stress.”
Our life manifests with different passions of love. We have a deep-seated need to be around each other, connected, and supported.
In this training were going to look at stress. We all have heard that stress is bad. But did you know without stress, your brain wouldn’t function properly, your heart wouldn’t pump blood, without stress we would die. You see, it’s the type of stress and how you perceive it that matters.
- The type of stress matters most
- The principle of allostasis
- Acute Versus Chronic Stress
I am really excited to start you on this journey and I hope to add a lot of value to your life as a whole.
Nutrition is remarkable in its ability to have people with completely opposite views saying they have science to support completely opposite views.
Frustrating isn’t it? What are we suppose to believe?
Welcome to Dynamism Biohack, my name is Dr. Matt Hammett Wellness & Nutrition Expert, Lifestyle Trainer and Movement Enthusiast. In each week I’m going share with you how to make the right nutritious choices despite conflicting expert opinions where I help you to discover how to unlock your inner aborigine or your inner greatness. Thankyou for spending this time with me today, so let’s get into the training.
Stress: Foe or Friend?
The body is always striving to optimize balance, and that fact becomes apparent when we observe how the brain coordinates every cell, organ, system, and the entire organism as a whole. Our bodies are ultimately working to attain homeostasis, a stable internal environment in which the cells can function efficiently. It means balance, or stability, like a teeter totter while playing at the playground; the term is slightly misleading because it implies a static state.
In this training were going to look at stress. We all have heard that stress is bad. But did you know without stress, your brain wouldn’t function properly, your heart wouldn’t pump blood, without stress we would die. You see, it’s the type of stress and how you perceive it that matters. And that leads me to Dynamism Biohack: Stress Foe or Friend.
You never really achieve a static state while trying to stay balanced on a teeter-totter, it is dynamic and always in motion. Likewise, our biology never actually “achieves homeostasis” and then you are done trying, the way you might have quit that teeter totter. Rather, each second, our bodies are making physiological adjustments at the microcellular level, and behavioral changes at the macrocellular level, to keep us functioning during the constantly changing circumstances in our environment that we call life.
The term allostasis more accurately describes the ongoing microcellular and macrocellular changes due to our stress response. Allostasis is also known as the physiological and behavioral processes that the body undergoes to restore stability or dynamic equilibrium.
I love to use an analogy. I was a competitive swimmer for many years growing up, so bear with me on this one. Imagine you are a dude wearing swim trunks at the deep end of a swimming pool. All of a sudden, some kid swimming underwater adds weights to your pockets while you are trying to tread water. While you notice him doing this, you are drastically trying to tread water, so as to stay afloat and take out the rocks from your pockets. Every time you take one out, he keeps putting in more in place… What a jerk!
This dynamic struggle is very stressful to you, because you are in the deep end of a pool, trying not to drown. If you cannot keep up, that kid keeps putting rocks in your pocket, and you will drown. If you are lucky enough not to drown, the added weight, which is very stressful, is putting you into a sympathetic fight or flight response; that will eventually kill you if you do not get the weights out of your pocket.
Just like swimming in a deep end of the pool with rocks in your pocket, our bodies are always working in an intelligent way to maintain our body temperature, pH, oxygen levels, blood glucose, hormones, and so forth while we are undergoing a stressful state to ensure our survival. The stress response is a normal, natural physiological response. It never stops or rests; it continues in a dynamic way without us ever having to think about it. When that rock or a stressor is added to our pocket, it throws us off balance, and we experience stress.
If the rocks are left in our pockets, and we continue to choose to allow that kid to put more rocks in our swim trunks, our bodies make the highly intelligent decision to adapt to this new environment, good or bad. The point is that regardless of the stressor, the body turns on the same stress response. The important thing to understand is that our body reacts to all of these different stressors the same way each time, because of our ancient human stress response. It does not matter what the stressor is, or whether it is real or imagined; your body’s physiology is receiving its instructions from the same genetic code our ancestors received.
The physiological stress response does not create health; it does not heal. It merely allows short-term survival in the pathogenic environment. Essentially, it buys you time to get to a healthy environment— one that is less toxic and deficient; more pure and sufficient. Our toxic and deficient lifestyle choices are like rocks added to our pockets as we tread water. They slowly sink us and force our existence to be more challenging and stressful.
Whether you are stressed about your job or your exhausting relationship, or you are running for your life from a pack of wolves in the forest or frightened by a poisonous snake… your body is making the intelligent response, thus producing the same predictable “fight or flight” response by making the appropriate chemicals, hormones, and behaviors necessary for your survival each time you are “stressed out.”
Our stress response has been that way since the dawn of human existence. Yep, how our stress response works have been the same since the creation of Homo sapiens.
The stress response which is controlled by our central nervous system is the same today as it was millions of years ago. That is the problem; we are not wired to deal with present day stress with a DNA coded for primal living. Most people are aware that stress in our lives may eventually kill us. However, the fact of the matter remains, long-term stress lie at the root of many diseases, but it also keeps us alive and is necessary for our survival in short-term form. This is especially true if you need to run away from a roaring tiger in the middle of the jungle. The types of stressors human beings are exposed to have changed over time due to many environmental factors; the problem is, our stress response has essentially not changed at all.
Living, adapting and evolving inside each modern human is our Inner Aborigine, the nervous system of our ancient ancestors trying to cope with the stressors of modern day society.
And, although humans are primate animals, we are unique from other animals in that we have the ability to think through stressful thoughts, which elicits the same physiological response as if we were actually in physical danger.
Author and stress researcher Robert Sapolsky writes, “Viewed from the perspective of the evolution of the animal kingdom; sustained psychological stress is a recent invention, mostly limited to humans and other social primates.”
It is not always the stressor itself that becomes the problem, but rather our interpretation and reaction to the type of stressor which dictates a person’s response to it. It would be more accurate to say that, as Robert Sapolsky explains in his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, “chronic or repeated stressors can potentially make you sick or can increase your risk of being sick. Stressors, even if massive, repetitive, or chronic in nature, do not automatically lead to illness.”
Personality plays a huge role in all of this. For example, people with Type A personalities are more likely to develop heart disease, compared to other people who are more adept at shutting off their stress response, despite exposure to the same stressor.
So let me explain how this ACUTE VS CHRONIC STRESS relates to us today.
Our ancient ancestors were not exposed to the ongoing (chronic) stress that we modern humans face; therefore our genome does not know what to do with this. Our ancestors’ stress was short-lived (acute) and often involved escaping predators or winning a fight for dinner. Acute stress saves lives, actually. I recall a case from the 1990s, of a mom who used the surge of adrenaline to lift a car up off her child. Do you remember that story?
Our ancestors may have used this type of response after fighting off a bear with his bare hands or fighting off an infection caused by that bear. The release of adrenaline that we feel during acute stress episodes is a normal adaptive function of the central nervous system trying to protect itself from the real or perceived threats, so as to ensure survival. The characteristics of the stress response are demonstrated by the intensity and duration of the acute or chronic stress.
Chronic stress is most damaging to our physiology. In general, heart disease, obesity, stroke, infectious disease, anxiety disorders, depression, autoimmunity, ulcers and other GI issues, to name a few, are all considered “diseases of modern civilization” caused by chronic stress that we have never been exposed to in our evolution.
So I hear all this talk about EVOLUTION OF STRESSORS.
The truth is, when talking about the evolution of stress, we actually have none. There is no evolution of stress; it was and is the same response that our ancient ancestors had- it has not really evolved at all since ancient times.
What have evolved, however, are the deficient and toxic lifestyle choices and other types of environmental stressors that people are exposed to; toxins in the air, soil and heavy metals.
In that respect, this is the key to understanding why “stress kills.”
Our central nervous systems was designed to protect us from acute stressors that are relatively short in duration (30 minutes or less). The types of danger that our ancestors were exposed to is very much the same as the dangers that animals face living in the wild. Our ancestors had to hunt food, escape from predators, and defend their territory. Threats could be hiding behind every bush, and the human stress response was designed to respond to acute threats that were short-lived. They certainly did not drag out for days on end, like they do today.
Modern humans face mainly social, mental, chemical, physical, and synthetic environmental threats. Our primal stress response activates to these threats the same way that we did as our ancestors.
By the way, how does our nervous system detect something in our synthetic environment if it was never part of our ecosystem, in our history?
It is the psychological nature of stress that has changed between then and now like we have been discussing throughout this entire training. Your genes matter very little, don’t they, it’s the environment guys. More accurately, it’s the environmental toxicities and deficiencies that change our DNA and tun on the expression of bad genes; so to speak.
Our distant ancestors did not experience the ongoing chronic stress that we modern humans are subject to; that is the crux of our story.
Once the stress was gone, they returned to being relaxed, playing and socializing with one another. The primary difference is that our ancient ancestors did not sit around all day and worry about when the next threat was going to happen. Instead, our ancestors would have dealt with the stressors as they emerged; then, they moved on. And you already know the importance of movement, that movement is not exercise, it transcends and includes our exercise. We want to move every 20 – 30 minutes from 1 – 7 minutes in our daily life while we are awake. Period.
If you are a current patient in our office, thank you so much for your confidence in us. If you are not a patient, I certainly would love to meet you some day. Goto our website newlifefamilychiropracitc.net and also I just want to remind everyone that we got the same 24 hours in a day. I’m no busier than you are. but if your goal is to live a happier, healthier and fuller life, you’ve got to learn to manage your self, and that means managing your movement which drives your energy.
When we better manage our energy, were better able to be more present and enjoy our life, were better able to manage our five pillars of a dynamic health. You deserve a life that is peaceful, that is balanced, that is happy, where you have tons of good health.
The health that you need, the health that is on demand when you need it most. you see because health doesn’t come to you, it comes from you, it is a fruit that is grown and earned. and i know we all heard the genetic cliche, the blame it, name it, and tame it with a drug approach; but the truth is; the solution doesn’t lie with more drugs and surgeries; the solution lies with you. You know it’s not so much of a healthcare crisis as it is a self care crisis in our world today. Be more present in the moment, and you will have more energy, vibrancy, free from all that anxiety.
Thank you so much for spending this time with me. I love you, I love hearing from you, so don’t forget to reach out to me. Let me know what you thought about this episode. Do so, by whatever is your favorite social media platform. Send me a message their, let me know that you listened to this episode and what you thought of it and as always i appreciate in advance anyone who is kind enough to right a review. That is the ultimate gift, I appreciate you very much for that, I can’t wait to do this again next week. I now your getting so much value from this, and I am honored to do it for you. Im Dr. Matt Hammett reminding you to lighten up, move better, and live fuller until next dynamism biohack.#20: Stress Foe or Friend by Dr. Matt Hammett
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