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The effects of stress on the healing mechanism of the body

No doctor will ever know your body better than yourself. The human body possesses a very complex mechanism of self-healing, and when we leave healing entirely in the hands of doctors, we actually ignore this basic principle. Doctors should be guiding the process of “repair”, but the real efforts should always be made by the patient.

Photo: wikipedia.org
Photo: wikipedia.org

Our body is equipped with everything we need to fight cancer cells produced every day, and also to fight infections, keep coronary arteries clean and delay the aging process. Also, we know that the autonomic nervous system consists of two major systems, the sympathetic nervous system responsible for reactions to stress, and the parasympathetic system, which gives responses to relax the body. It is very important to know that the self-healing system of our body works only when it is in a state of relaxation.

How stress prevents healing

If, let’s say, you were chased by a lion, there would be a sharp rise in the levels of cortisol and epinephrine in your body. In other words, self-healing efforts would be canceled and your energy would be channeled towards flight: the blood pressure would increase, the muscles would be activated and the heart would beat increasingly faster. Although such reactions should take place only when our life is really in danger, there are many people who live in an almost permanent state of panic.

The real problem is that with every stressful thought or feeling we slow down the ability of our body to heal ourselves. Stress is not just hard work and fear of deadlines, but is very much linked to our lifestyle: toxic relationships, worries about money, hypochondria, lack of confidence – and the list goes on.

The brain can’t distinguish between “I am chased by a lion” and “I feel that no one cares about me” or “I will never do well.” The nervous system receives exactly the same message every time, and the effects are equally damaging.

We often hear about serious illnesses that affect some people apparently very careful with their health. Although such persons comply with some rules related to diet and sport, they are in a state of chronic stress. No cure of green juices can fix the disastrous effects of too high doses of cortisol or epinephrine on cells.