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Has stress become your new normal?

Stress, a protective mechanism

Did you know that the word "stress" was introduced into medicine in 1936 by Dr. Hans Selye, endocrinologist at the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery (University of Montreal, Canada)?

Its definition is rooted in physiology and psychology: "Aggression of the organism by a physical, psychic or emotional agent, resulting in an imbalance that must be compensated for by adaptation; aggressor; nervous tension, constraint of the organism in the face of a shock (sudden event, trauma, strong sensation, noise, overwork); state of a person subjected to this tension".

You'll notice that stress isn't an emotion: it's a physiological adaptation response by your body.

Stress is often perceived as negative. And yet, in terms of health, it is the body's protective force, as it participates in the various systems designed to preserve our vital functions and, by extension, our vital organs and therefore our brain.

The stress response is there to help you deal with the challenge you're facing at the time. In the short term, it gives you a much-needed boost of energy and alertness (so you can thank your body for that!).

Stress equals nervous system

The autonomic nervous system is one of the main neural pathways activated by stress.

In our body, we have several "systems", all working with a precise objective, e.g. the cardiovascular, immune, lymphatic, digestive, respiratory and urinary systems... But there are only two systems in our body which are so-called "regulatory" systems, i.e. which work to maintain homeostasis in our body:

The first is the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the second is the famous nervous system.

What makes the sympathetic nervous system so powerful is that, in addition to this regulatory role, it also has a coordinating role: it coordinates the activities of all the other systems, playing the role of "conductor" so that the systems can regulate themselves as best they can.

In situations often associated with chronic stress, such as major depressive disorders, the sympathetic nervous system (also known as the "emergency branch" of the autonomic nervous system) can be permanently activated, without the normal counter-reaction of the parasympathetic nervous system*. As a result, the immune system can be activated with increased levels of pro-inflammatory substances.

*the parasympathetic system helps us regulate internal functions and soothes the body when danger has passed, preventing it from remaining mobilised for too long. Mobilisation for too long can lead to pathologies. Certain actions of the parasympathetic branch serve to reduce the deleterious effects of the emergency branch's responses to stressful situations.

The harmful effects of chronic stress / unresolved trauma

When your nervous system remains stuck in "survival" mode after the initial trigger has passed, the vicious cycle of stress begins.

Your body exhausts itself in response to chronic stress, and your physical and mental state can quickly deteriorate.

Stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenaline) can then start to cause damage to your body, such as:

✨ inflammations / infections

✨ chronic pain

✨ difficulty losing or gaining weight

✨ fatigue / lack of energy

✨ sleep problems

✨ hair loss

✨ bloating / irritable bowel syndrome

✨ anxiety or even depression

and so on (I've done them all, by the way)

Overwhelm, anxiety, unease and worry become part of your daily routine. Over time, these stress reactions become habits, leaving you stuck in a mental and physical rut.

Normal everyday tasks become immensely tedious and complicated. They take on unbelievable proportions and turn into mountains impossible to climb...

How can you exit a state of chronic stress?

Know that you can't just use your mind to come up with solutions and explanations; you also need to work through your FEELINGS to get out of this state of chronic stress and alertness. You don't have to go deep into your mind: you can learn to connect with your body's wisdom to help you stay grounded and not miss out on the blessing of being alive 🙏🏻

The somatic approach trains your body and mind to develop a sense of safety and well-being based on movement and relaxation techniques that help you become aware of your body and your thoughts.

It allows you to connect with your body, release physical tension and activate your body's natural, innate relaxation response.

Regain emotional stability, reduce stress, boost your immunity and regain your vital energy through simple, everyday gestures and movements.

Ready to combat stress, cultivate calm and live a life full of vitality? 🙌🏻


This week's Youtube video (vlog in French)

This week I'd like to raise your awareness about the harmful effects of chronic stress and share some solutions for getting out of this vicious cycle


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