Is Stress Imaginary... or "All in Your Head?”

By Nicky Vanvalkenburgh

Sometimes stress strikes when you least expect it. John Torcelli, a veteran of the Gulf War, found himself stressed out on his wedding day.

John could hardly wait to get married. He was in love with a beautiful woman. Professionally, he was all set. John enjoyed working as an electronics engineer for well-known corporation. Getting married was icing on the cake. Life couldn’t be better.

John had served in military for seven years. He was glad the Gulf War was behind him. Or was it?

On his wedding day, John’s brother would be his Best Man. They planned to drive to the church together. However, something unusual happened. When John’s brother pulled up in his yellow Honda, the muffler backfired. John dove into the bushes.

John’s thoughts flashed back to the Gulf War. Emotionally, he was back on the battlefield. Only John wasn’t wearing camouflage gear. He wore a black tuxedo, and this was his wedding day. The loud noise triggered John’s “fight or flight” response. Evidently, diving into the bushes was a stress reaction.

Given John’s background and experience, his response is understandable. Some researchers call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PSD. It is something that can be overcome by releasing painful memories, and letting go of the past. To recover, PSD sufferers must also learn to think and respond differently. It is also healthy for them to cultivate a calm and relaxed manner.

You don’t have to be a military veteran to experience a physical response to stress. Doctors and researchers used to think that all stress was imaginary, or “in the head.” Now researchers know that stress occurs in the body as well.

When we encounter stress, our body reacts by producing adrenaline and cortisol. These powerful hormones are good for the body. Cortisol improves our memory. Adrenaline gives us energy and strengthens our immune system. In prehistoric times, adrenaline helped people survive by giving them a burst of energy to run away faster or fight harder. This is what is commonly known as the "fight or flight" response.

Stress becomes harmful when it builds up. That is why we must find ways to get rid of stress, or at least, reduce it. Excercise and relaxation helps us to reduce stress.

Is stress reduction really that important? Absolutely. When stress has no place to go, the hormones build up in our body and become toxic. When cortisone builds up it causes brain cells to shrink. We become jittery, anxious and forgetful. Unused adrenaline makes us depressed and lethargic. Left untreated, stress makes us vulnerable to illness, disease and mental breakdown.

The healthy way to deal with stress is to use up the adrenaline that your body produces. The best way to do this is by relaxation and exercise.

For deep relaxation that reduces stress, try the ALERT brain training system. It reconditions the mind to fight for health. By using the system for just 22 minutes a day, you will arouse, stimulate and awaken your brain to function at an elevated capacity. As you let go of emotional and mental stress, you will begin to feel incredibly energized. This energy will help you become aware of the root cause of your life and health issues. Ultimately, deep relaxation will restore the balance in your life, so that you feel like yourself again.

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