Are You Addicted To Stress?
This may seem like a strange question and your automatic answer might be “no, of course not!” I’m happy and relaxed.
But I want you to think about the question again …
I’m an observer and in watching some people’s lives I’ve seen how they keep ending up in stressful situations. People I’ve known for a long time create situations that are stressful even though many of them could have been avoided.
It puzzled me so as the inquisitive person I am, I wanted to understand why.
Here’s what I discovered after researching and studying the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system is a primitive system in our bodies that controls things such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. It is completely automatic and happening continuously without our awareness.
There are two key parts to this system and each is vitally important for our survival.
One is the Sympathetic Nervous System which controls responses such as flight, flight or freeze. This system is essential when we are in danger, under attack or suffering a trauma.
The other is the Parasympathetic Nervous System which is essential for recovery, generating energy and for healing and renewal. The majority of our lives should be spend with this system activated. This is where we find peace, joy and happiness.
When the Sympathetic Nervous System is activated, your blood pressure rises speeding up your heart, increasing lung capacity and driving oxygenated blood to your arms and legs to enable massive action. Blood is also diverted from your prefrontal cortex which controls planned and controlled action, to the back of your brain where automatic action is stored. At the same time the chemicals adrenaline and noradrenaline are released from your midbrain and your adrenal cortex.
During dramatic events in our lives the Sympathetic Nervous System releases adrenaline giving us a fantastic feeling of power, energy and strength. As we struggle to deal with a difficult situation, our negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours can spiral out of control, constantly triggering the release of adrenaline over a long period of time.
But when life settles down again and we find something to be happy about, or we get the chance to rest, we find we’re lacking the power and energy we had before. The contrast between how alive we felt during the tough times and how we feel when they are over is extreme. There’s a sense of relief but at the same time we feel tired. We feel down. We feel flat.
And this is where the addiction happens.
It’s not something we do deliberately, but in the unconscious desire to regain the feeling of strength and energy we once had, our thoughts turn to what is wrong in our lives, what is wrong in the world, aches and pains in our bodies and what ‘bad’ thing could happen. This thinking, and the emotions that follow, trigger the Sympathetic Nervous System to release more of the ‘adrenaline drug’ that makes us feel ‘alive’.
And so a pattern is formed.
Its this pattern that I’ve observed time and time again in my clients, in people I’ve known for years and in society as a whole.
We’ve become addicted to the feeling of heightened awareness that adrenaline brings. We’ve become addicted to stress.
And stress will make you seriously sick.
Your system will literally ‘burnout’.
It begins with adrenal (the glands which release adrenaline) fatigue and if the habit is not broken, the entire system will be affected. Headaches, poor digestion, chronic fatigue, infection, high blood pressure, depression and even cancer can be the result of an ‘adrenaline addiction’.
The constant triggering of the Sympathetic Nervous System blocks the healing power of your Parasympathetic Nervous System which is required for recovery, generating energy and for healing and renewal. If the cells in your body and brain are not regenerated, they will deteriorate and eventually die.
The German word for addiction is Sucht. If this word is written with a lowercase letter at the beginning and pronounced slightly differently, it becomes a verb which means ‘to search’.
A person who is addicted is in truth someone who is searching for something.
The film Will Smith film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ explores the concept of searching. Constantly searching outside of ourselves for the thing that will make us ‘feel alive’. That will give us a feeling of euphoria.
But happiness is not an emotion.
It’s a sense of peace.
It’s a sense of calm.
It’s a sense of acceptance and contentment.
You cannot find happiness in an adrenaline fix.
You cannot find happiness in an adrenaline fix.
It’s what living in your Parasympathetic Nervous System brings.
It’s what you’ve been searching for …
*I work with people to help them break the adrenaline addiction and ignite their healing and regenerative systems for greater harmony, health and happiness.
Martina Waidhas is an alternative health practitioner, medical intuitive, healer and communicator who works with both humans and animals to facilitate healing in body, mind and soul. She has studied a wide range of healing practices including epigenetics, quantum healing, energy psychology, spinal column and joint therapy and has achieved a master level in both Reiki and the NIS (neurological integration system) therapy. As a former chef, Martina is passionate about the link between food and illness and brings a holistic approach to her work that is second to none. Her unique combination of skills gives her an insight and range of healing practices that allow her to tailor her treatments to suit each individual client.