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So, 1/2 way through November and the silly season is approaching… the most common issues we’re seeing in the shop now revolve around stress: exam, money, pressure-to-get-stuff-done, can’t-switch off my mind-and-sleep, retrenchment, fear-for-the-future…

No matter what the cause, the biological effects of stress are exactly as they were when your ancestors lived in a cave, when humans crossed the continents and when your great-grandparent’s crop failed, it is an age-old biological and psychological response experienced on encountering a threat that we feel we do not have the resources to deal with. Your biology reacts by kicking into fight, fright or flight.

Sudden and severe stress generally produces:
o Increase in heart rate (find out more here)
o Increase in breathing (lungs dilate)
o Decrease in digestive activity (don’t feel hungry)
o Liver released glucose for energy

Once the brain has judged a situation stressful, adrenalin is released. Adrenaline creates changes in the body such as decreased activity for digestion, memory and immunity and increased sweating, pulse and blood pressure. Once the ‘threat’ is over the parasympathetic branch takes control and brings the body back into a balanced state. No ill effects are experienced from the short-term response and actually the response has survival value in an evolutionary context. But what happens when the stress is NOT short-term? What about stress that goes on for days? Or months and years? Next week’s blog will look at that issue