How Can Poor Nutrition Be Stressful?



obese man

Just like I mentioned in the previous post, there are several factors which can cause stress in our body.  Certainly, there are physical stressors and also psychological stressors.   Let’s go into more detail about each of these.

Physical Stressors

This is perhaps a term you haven’t heard before — but, in the medical world, we like to label everything.  A ‘stressor’ is simply something that causes stress.  So, in this sense, a ‘physical stressor’ is something concrete, something physical, that is actually causing your body stress.  So, if you fall down and break your leg, that fracture is a very real physical stressor.  Likewise, if you cut your finger, that is a very real, blood-oozing physical stressor.  While it may not be fully obvious, if you go several nights without much sleep, that also is a physical stressor.  While your lack of sleep is not something you can tangible hold in your hand (ie. like a concrete physical object), it is still perceived to be something that is a very physical process.

Here are more examples to demonstrate what a Physical Stressor is:

  • getting the flu
  • falling down and bruising yourself
  • severely over-exercising and causing significant soreness the next day
  • sitting behind a computer screen too many hours of the day and causing yourself eye strain
  • carpal tunnel – induced by poor ergonomics at your work station
  • eating highly processed and fatty foods – causing a very real strain in your body to attempt to digest this food
  • Overeating for years – so you now are obese, causing strain on your body

Psychological Stressors

Very similar to the Physical Stressors, a Psychological Stressor is anything that causes a stress to the body that is primarily caused by a mind or thought process.  Here are some examples of psychological stressors:

  • You are overly anxious about an upcoming project or presentation
  • You are fearfully obsessing over an outcome you don’t want to happen
  • You are critically chastising yourself for doing something that you feel is wrong
  • You are depressed and have given up hope for creating a better life for yourself
  • You worry, worry, worry
  • Deep down you may believe you don’t deserve a certain success, so you find ways to unwittingly sabotage yourself

So, Irregardless Of The Source Of The Stress, The Resolution Is The Same

It is worth noting that the cause of your stress — ie. the ‘stressor’ — is something that just happens.  You have absolutely no control over it at all.  (Well, perhaps you may have had some control — by not wearing high heels on an icy street, or by not attempting a daredevil stunt — but, I think you understand my point).  Whether it is a physical stressor or a psychological stressor, the fact remains — the stress exists.  The big distinction here is that the RESPONSE to the ‘stressor’ is what you have 100% control over.

Yes, 100% control.

The response you choose to offer to the current stressful situaiton is EXACTLY what will determine if (and how much) stress will be perceived by your body.  You see, when you transform your thinking to understand that you CONTROL YOUR RESPONSE …. rather than NOT CONTROLLING YOUR REACTION … This is the big distinction.

If you are fully unaware of having a choice, of taking control, then the chances are very high that you will reflexively react.  Just like when a doctor takes the reflex hammer to your knee — if he/she taps you in just the right place, your foot will wildly kick up.  This is a REFLEX. You see, your mind did not think — “OK, foot, I want you to jerk up when the doc taps my knee”.  Not at all.  It just happens.

All too often in life, people’s reactions to life’s stressful situations also ‘Just Happen’.

My challenge to you is to be aware of what is happening . . to pause .. then to chose a RESPONSE.  Realize this takes a bit of time to develop this skill, for you are changing a life long habit.  However, once you can change this habit, you and your health will be significantly improved!

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