Are You “Thinking” Yourself Into Physiologic Stress Response?
Stress – it seems to be everywhere. We all have it, and most of us are aware we have too much of it.
But what is stress, really?
When we hear the word “stress”, most people think of the usual suspects: sitting in traffic, tight deadlines at work, familial conflict, loss of a loved one, or disease. Certainly, these are significant stressors to the body, and are often unavoidable, outside of us, and seemingly out of our control.
However, there’s much more to the stress story.
The classic definition of stress is: “any real, or imagined, threat and the body’s response to it.”
The key words here: OR IMAGINED.
In other words, you can actually IMAGINE yourself into physiologic stress response.
Essentially, your body can’t distinguish whether the lion is actually chasing you, or you are simply imagining and believing that the lion is chasing you. Its response is the same. Sensing that there is an emergency at hand, your body will launch its complex and powerful physiologic stress response. A few of the physiologic repercussions include holding on to excess fat (not releasing weight), slowing down metabolism, and turning off digestion.
So if you’re having trouble losing weight, experiencing digestive distress, low immunity, or any other unwanted symptom . . . it’s time to take a look at the thought patterns and beliefs that may be driving us every day:
“I hate my body.”
“I must lose weight, or no one will love me.”
“I’ll never be happy until I’m skinny.”
“I have a lack of willpower, and just need more discipline to fix my issues.”
“Food is the enemy – it’s always a battle.”
Sound familiar? Like broken records in our collective consciousness, these are actually some of the most potent stressors affecting our health today.
The good news?
With the right support and practice, we humans have the ability to choose the thoughts and beliefs that can support our health.
At the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, one of the pillars of our curriculum lies in detecting, identifying, and treating the stressors in our life, thereby eliminating unwanted symptoms and health concerns.
What imaginary lions are chasing you?
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