by Mark Ryan
"Stress can have devastating negative effects on the human digestive system, both in terms of the effectiveness of the digestive processes, and the essential absorption/assimilation of digested foodstuffs."
It is of vital importance to never lose sight of the fact that your mind does matter, as the physical and mental aspects of existence are intrinsically linked. One cannot thrive without the other, as the movement towards optimal health depends on both.
We currently live in a world where stress-management is the norm, and we pay (both physically and financially) for this perceived luxury.
Stress is a situation that triggers a particular biological response. When you perceive a threat, or a major challenge, chemicals and hormones surge throughout your body.
Stress triggers your fight-or-flight response, in order to fight the stressor, or to run away from it. Typically, after the response occurs, your body should relax. Your heart rate and breathing should slow down and your muscles should relax. In a short time, your body should return to its natural state, without any lasting negative effects.
However, too much constant stress can have negative effects on your long-term physical and mental health. We are all aware of the common phrase “worried sick”. The field of psychoneuroimmunology studies the relationship among the mind, stress, and the immune system, and reveals that stress has a powerful impact on immune system functions. Add to this the fact that stress can have devastating negative effects on the human digestive system, both in terms of the effectiveness of the digestive processes, and the essential absorption/assimilation of digested foodstuffs. In a nutshell, you are what you ingest, digest, absorb, and assimilate, contrary to the old belief, “you are what you eat”.
The good news is that by maintaining a healthy diet, a regular exercise regime, and by being kind to yourself, daily stress levels can be diminished greatly, and managed in a positive and healthy way. In essence, you can learn how to deal with perceived stressors in a more appropriate manner, and there are many employable tools to help you on this path. Never react. Always respond!