Your Stress Response as a Cause of Disease

Thousands for years ago the Buddha said, “life contains suffering.” The source of suffering can be profound, such as losing a loved one or discovering you have a serious illness. More often than not though, our “suffering” comes from the daily hassles of life. You get stuck in a traffic jam, you have a disagreement with a loved one, you are in a long line at the grocery store. Maybe your car broke down or the neighbors dog kept you up last night.

These are relatively minor hassles but they can easily trigger your body’s ancient fight-or-flight response, also known as your stress response. When under stress, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline begin to course through your body faster. Your blood sugar rises, your immune system is suppressed, your breathing accelerates, and the blood supply to your digestive organs is reduced. All of these responses are vital if you are actually under some kind of threat to your survival but the problem is that your body is unable to distinguish between a real threat to your survival or one of life’s daily stressors. Your fight-or-flight response prepares your body either to fight the threat (perceived or real) or to run away as fast as possible.

Researchers are now discovering that prolonged stress leads to increased inflammation and a much higher risk of developing health problems including:

  • High blood pressure and heart disease

  • Autoimmune illnesses

  • Some forms of cancer

  • Migraine headaches

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Memory loss

If my pointing this out to you is increasing your stress levels right now, stay tuned for my next e-mail where I explain some of the best ways you can go about reducing and managing your stress. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you haven't had a chance to visit Satsang House, please take a peek at all of our courses and offerings here and join us!