The Happy Wellness Room
Our bodies are how we interact with our surroundings, how we present ourselves to others, and an expression of who we are. They are our vehicles to get things done, and our shelter from the elements. The body is an amazing creation with all of its systems working together in perfect harmony. When we get too warm, the body releases the excess heat. When we get too cold, the body shivers to warm up. We don’t have to think about it; it just happens. The body knows what to do and how to do it. We tend to get in the way by eating and doing whatever we want, and ignoring the signals sent from the body to get our attention. Those signals include pain, discomfort, achiness, soreness, uneasiness, suspicion, and dread. These clues provide us with essential information we need to navigate our environment. If we ignore these clues, we get sick or injured, or worse. We are also increasing the risk of unwellness and ill health, especially as time goes by.
Muscle tension is the number 1 symptom of stress (Seaward, p. 278). The muscles that produce the greatest amount of stress and tension are located on the back side of the body (p. 282), hence the need for massage. The stress hormone, cortisol, is associated with weight gain (p. 322). More signs of stress on the body include headache, chest pain, fatigue, change in libido, stomach upset, and sleep problems (Gardner, n.d., Common effects of stress). Since these symptoms and signs can also indicate illness, it’s important to get checked out by your doctor; be sure to discuss your concerns with them and get blood tests done. Unattenuated stress can increase the severity of gastritis, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, and “any other chronic disease” (Gardner, n.d.). Another sign of stress is chronic pain. According to Abdallah & Geha (2017), chronic stress and chronic pain “share a common behavioral model of failure to extinguish negative memories” (Abstract). Textbook author Brian Seaward (2021) also shared “chronic pain and stress go together” and said, “physical relaxation is the perfect antidote for all stress” p. 228).
Dysfunction in the body can exhibit several signs to the observer: over/under-eating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol misuse or abuse, addictive behaviors, and social withdrawal (Gardner, n.d., Common effects of stress). Additional health risks include the development of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Once these conditions set in, it becomes much more difficult to release chronic stress. Stress and pain affect the body very similarly; so much so that it’s unclear whether chronic stress leads to chronic pain, or chronic pain leads to chronic stress (Adallah & Geha, 2017).
Get a diagnosis first! Don’t take chances with your wellness. Chronic stress is a long, winding road that intersects many other afflictions.