Do you know how stress is destroying your life and what to do about it?

You’ve all heard of stress but most people think of stress as the emotional kind and are not aware of another kind of stress – oxidative stress. Let's talk about emotional stress first.

Hans Selye is known as the father of stress. He said that stress is a "non-specific response of the body to a demand put upon it." There is eustress (good stress), such as writing a test, getting married, or training for a marathon and there is distress (bad stress), such as being in a job we hate, relationship problems, parenting challenges and dealing with illness. Unfortunately, we all get far more bad stress than good stress.

Walter Cannon first coined the term “fight or flight”. When we are stressed, the body releases cortizol, adrenaline, and other stress response hormones, which allow us to react properly when we face danger or threat. This response system was needed in the days of cave dwellers and woolly mammoths to help us to survive. However, let's face it; we aren't hunting woolly mammoths any more. This is, especially, true in North America!

Why is this important? Most of the stress we have today is by choice. Our lives really aren't threatened and we don't really have to fight to survive anymore, but our bodies are no longer able to see that there is no imminent danger or threat. Our bodies are staying in high stress mode all the time. Being in high stress mode all the time is causing damage, a lot of damage. We are being slowly destroyed by oxidative stress, as a result.

What is oxidative stress? Dr. Ray Strand, a medical doctor who specializes in nutritional medicine, describes oxidative stress in the following way. Imagine a wood fire slowly burning in the hearth. It’s all cozy and warm and because there is a grate in front, the fire warms you without doing any damage to your home.

However, if you take away the grate in front of the fire, it’s no longer a cozy little fire. Sparks jump out and damage your rug. If you did this, night after night, what would be the condition of the rug in front of the fire after awhile?

Dr. Strand also uses the example of a car. If you get a new car, take good care of it, and keep it out of the weather, it stays shiny and new. If you leave it out in the weather and neglect it, what do you get? You get RUST!

One theory of how oxidative stress happens in the body is the theory of the unpaired electron. The mitochondria of the cell are like little furnaces that fire up to generate heat in your body. This is one reason why you are able to stay alive and have energy. This activity is so volatile in the body that it can be seen under a microscope. Occasionally, though, an unpaired electron shoots off into the body when the mitochondria fires. Normally, the immune system of the body is able to do damage control when unpaired electrons (free radicals) are created. It's a natural process and the body is well equipped to deal with the problem.

However, we have depleted our bodies and increased our stress far too much. Now, there are too many free radicals (unpaired electrons) being created for our bodies to manage. Our bodies have become that ratty carpet in front of the fire or that rusted car out in the weather.

What happens when this process goes on too long? In the old days, we used to die of infectious disease like influenza and scurvy, but nowadays, we are dying from chronic degenerative disease. These include inflammatory diseases such as asthma and diabetes as well as autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cancer. Chronic means that the disease is long-term and ongoing; and degenerative means that the disease will get progressively worse as time goes by.

Did you know that more than 100 known diseases today are classified as chronic degenerative diseases and are believed to be caused by oxidative stress. This includes Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes and Stroke. The scary thing is that 75% to 80% of all people die from chronic degenerative disease and not old age. That means that 7-8 people out of everyone you know or have ever known will die from one of these diseases, probably way before their time.

You can't put too much faith in the genetic connection either. Some believe that we are fated to get sick because of genetics and there is no question, this plays a role in what disease you may get, but we have a choice. The part of your body, that is weakest because of genetics, is the part that will likely break down first from oxidative stress and create a chronic degenerative disease. For example, if you have weakened lungs, genetically, you may get a respiratory disease such as asthma, like me. However, just because we have a genetic predisposition to a disease doesn't mean we are forced to throw up our hands and just accept that we will eventually die from that disease. No, we have a choice.

So what do you do about it? It’s simple, you reduce or eliminate the stress in your life and you fortify your immune system. Easy, right? BUT IT’S NOT SO EASY! This brings me to the reason why a business professional is telling this story instead of a doctor or health professional.

It's high time we all learned to SOLVE THE WELLNESS CHALLENGE. I am not talking about another diet or exercise plan, either. I am talking about learning about what causes stress in your life and what you can do about it.

Stay tuned for future articles or check out my website at http://www.strictly-stress-management.com/problem_solving_model.html for more information.

Author's Bio: 

Jill Prince is the "PRINCE OF WELLNESS." She is the author and founder of strictly-stress-management.com and Solving the Wellness Challenge (TM). Through these companies, Jill teaches people how to solve all their wellness challenges using effective problem solving tools and techniques based on sound business and project management theories. Jill is, currently, a student in a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) Degree program through the University of Athabasca and she is a graduate of the E-Myth Worldwide Business Mastery Impact Program (2009).