Stress Keeps Us Living in Survival Mode
Stress is one of the biggest causes of epigenetic change because it knocks your body out of balance. It comes in three forms: physical stress, chemical stress and emotional stress. Each type can set off more than 1400 chemical reactions and produce more than 30 hormones and neurotransmitters. When that chemical cascade of stress hormone is triggered, your mind influences your body through the autonomic nervous system and you experience the ultimate mind body connection. Ironically feeling stresses was designed to be adaptive. All organisms in nature including humans are programmed to deal with short term stress so that they have the resource they need for emergency situations. When you sense a threat in your external environment the fight or flight response in your sympathetic nervous system is activated and you heart rate and blood pressure increase your muscle tense and hormones like adrenaline and cortisol shoot through your body to prepare you to either flee or face your foe in battle. If you are being chased by pack of wild hungry wolves or a party of violent warriors and you outrun them your body will return to homeostatic soon after you reach safety. that’s the way our bodies were designed to operate when we are living in survival mode. The body is out of balance — but only for a short period of time until the danger passes. At least that’s how it was meant to be. The same thing happens in our modern world although the setting is usually a little different. If someone cuts you off when you are driving on the highway you might be momentarily frightened but once you realise that you are okay and you let go of the fear of having an accident your body returns to normal –unless that was only one of countless stressful situations you stumbled into that day. If you’re like most people a string of nerve-racking incidents keeps you in fight or flight response-and out of homoeostasis — a large part of the time. May be the car cutting you off is the only actual life threating situation you encounter all day but the traffic on the way to work the pressure of preparing for big presentation the argument you had with your spouse, the credit card bill thar came in the mail the crashing of your computer hard drive and the new Gray you noticed in the mirror keep the stress hormones circulating in your body on a near constant basis. Between remembering stressful experiences from the past and anticipating stressful situations coming up in your future all these repetitive short term stresses blur together into long term stress. In fight or flight mode life sustaining energy is mobilised so that the body can either run or fight. But when there is not a return to homeostatic vital energy is lost in the system. You have less energy in your internal environment for cell growth and repair long term building projects on a cellular level and healing when that energy is being channelled elsewhere. The cells shut down they no longer communicate with one another and they become selfish. It’s not time for routine maintenance its time for defence’s every cell for itself so the collective community of cells working together becomes fractured. The immune and endocrine system become weakened on genes in those related cells are compromised when informational signals from outside the cells are turned off. It’s like living in a country where 98 percent of the resources for toward defence and nothing is left for school’s libraries road building and repair communication systems growing of food and so on. Roads develop potholes that are not fixed. Schools suffer budget cuts so students wind up learning less. Social welfare programs that took care of the poor and elderly have to close down. And there not enough food to feed the masses. Not surprisingly then long-term stress has been linked to anxiety depression digestive problems memory loss insomnia hypertension hear disease strokes cancer ulcers rheumatoid arthritics colds flu aging acceleration allergies body pain chronic fatigue infertility impotence asthma hormonal issues skin rashes hair loss muscle spasms and diabetes to name just a few conditions. No organism in nature is designed to withstand the effects of long-term stress. Several studies give strong evidence to show how epigenetic instructions for healing shut down emergencies. For example, researches at the Ohio State University Medical Centre found that more than 170 genes were affected by stress with 100 of them shutting off completely. The researchers reported that wounds of stressed patients took 40 percent longer to heal and that stress titled the genomic balance towards genes encoding proteins responsible for cell cycle arrest death and inflammation. Another study examining the genes of 100 citizens of Detroit zeroed in on 23 subjects’ people had six to seven times more epigenetic variations most of which involved compromising the immune system.