Everyday workloads, family life, un-healthy lifestyles choices, and financial pressure can lead us on a path of self-destruction. One of the first battles of dealing with stress is being aware that you are stressed, and coming up with a plan to manage it. Sounds easy to say, right? Maybe not so easy to do. Knowing what stress is can be a very helpful tool in the battle for mindfulness, happiness, relaxation and beating chronic stress.
What can cause stress?
“Stress” is a response the body activates when we are in emotional or physical discomfort, most people are un aware that this emotional or physical stress activate the exact same response inside the body. Chronic stress is something that far too many of us fall victim to. When stress becomes chronic the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) begin to fail at dealing with our stress response, and knowing when to switch it off. Here are just a few reasons why your stress could get the better of you.
- Work/Career pressure
- Sickness of a family member
- Well-being of family or friends
- Unhealthy relationships with conflict
- Pet illness
- Financial instability
- Relationship break ups
- Poor Nutrition
- Lack of Exercise
- Over exercising
- Chronic pain
- Chronic illness
- Concussion/Brain injury
- Severe acute injury
- Muscle tightness
- Frequent headaches
- Sleep deprivation
- Brain Inflammation
What is stress exactly, and what does it do?
Stress is a response which we also call “fight or flight” mode, basically meaning the body is preparing to fight or flee. This instinctive response increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenal medulla produces epinephrine for surge of energy, and the adrenal cortex releases a stress hormone called cortisol. At this point we are unconsciously preparing for activity that may result in bodily harm.
What happens to us in “fight or flight” mode?
- blood clots easily (preparing for acute injury)
- the liver and muscles break down glycogen into glucose to provide a quick source of glucose for energy
- increased fat breakdown to provide glycerol (to make glucose), and fatty acids, results in increased concentration of fats in the blood to be used for energy
- decreased muscle fatigue
- higher heart rate and more forceful heart contraction resulting in increased cardiac output (more blood flow)
- more blood flow to the muscles and less blood flow to the organs
- breathing becomes rapid
These are all incredible autonomous primal responses, preparing for some type of battle that may result in death, injury or victory. Most corporate lifestyles or stay at home parents may not need this primal response to get a project finished, or pay next week’s rent. When these responses activate on a regular basis due to emotional or pain related triggers, our system gets overloaded and our stress starts to become chronic, resulting in chronic illnesses and even cancer in extreme cases.
So how do we beat chronic stress with hemp foods?
Stress becomes chronic and debilitating due to many factors, one of the easiest ways to reduce chronic stress is good nutrition and exercise. Chronic inflammation in the brain is a major contributing factor when it comes to shutting off our fight or flight response, if the brain is inflamed the nervous system has a reduced ability to deal with stress both emotionally and physically, and it becomes harder for the central nervous system to shut off our stress responses. Brain inflammation happens when, we are deprived of vital nutrients and fatty acids, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) also play a role in the brain being inflamed.
This is where hemp foods play a major roll, the perfect balance of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids assist chronic inflammation. The omega 6 gamma linolenic acid (GLA) found in hemp, drives deep into the cells of the body, and inhibits the secretion of inflammatory cytokine’s which are proteins that initiate the inflammation response between cells. Which means these incredible fatty acids are fighting the root cause of many illnesses that develop due to inflammation, chronic pain and stress.
So next time you are battling a little too much stress consider reaching for some hemp seed oil, and taking a mindful stroll around the block. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
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