In our high-stress world, we have become a nation of shallow breathers. We have let the stress levels become so intense that many remain in the fight or flight response to the world long after the stressor is gone. When under stress, our bodies naturally undergo a change in breathing. Our breath becomes more shallow and streamlined, and all blood flow goes to our extremities – our arms and legs – to ensure successful fight or flight results. This process robs our vital organs of the oxygen needed to function properly. The brain does not get the necessary oxygen to make good decisions and has a difficult time focusing. For a short-term, real-life crisis, this works very well. The problem is, so many have lost the ability to disengage from this state, and they run on heightened alert all the time.
How Stressed Are You?
The average person gets “hit” with about fifty-five stressors on any given day. If you have a very stressful job or home life, the number is even higher. If we don’t learn how to “de-stress” ourselves in between these hits, long-term stress can lead to serious health issues, such as insulin resistance, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Chronic stress promotes fat deposits, increases the risk of tumors and infections, stimulates cravings for sweets, and decreases the brain’s ability to use glucose. Stress increases your heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to stroke. According to the American Institute of Stress, over 90% of all health problems are related to stress! Even thinking negative thoughts can stress your body.