Did you know there is more than one type of stress?
When you think about stress, you probably think of the feelings of anxiety, frustration and overwhelm that occur when you’re faced with something difficult in your life.
This type of stress is emotional stress. It’s based in our mind and in our emotions, rather than in our physical body.
The other type of stress is physiological stress. This type of stress affects the overall homeostasis of an individual. That’s a fancy way of saying it affects your body at the cellular level. Physiological stressors can be external, such as environmental toxins, or internal, like a food allergy. Some other examples include physical trauma, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies.
Learn more about the impact of emotional and physiological stress (and how to reduce your susceptibility to them) in my Youtube video.
Whether Physiological or Emotional Stress, Your Body Responds the Same
What’s important to understand is that your body doesn’t distinguish between emotional and physiological stressors. So, regardless of what TYPE of stress you are experiencing, your body will produce a similar stress response. (Learn more about the stress response here.) That means stress from a toxic relationship could cause the same physiological response in your body that an environmental toxin does.
You should also note that your ability to handle certain stressors, as well as your stress response, is individual to you. Some people won’t have any noticeable stress response to, say, an environmental toxin like a pesticide. Others might experience a significant stress response in the form of headaches, fatigue, mood swings, or other symptoms.
The Effects of Stress and Toxins on Your Body
So, what happens when your body encounters stressors, whether physiological or emotional? Your stress response kicks in—that’s the flight, fight, or freeze reaction. When this happens, it can lead to all sorts of physiological issues, including poor digestion, inflammation, fatigue, body pain, and the inability to produce insulin.
Any of these responses can lead to further detrimental effects. Consider poor digestion, for example. If your digestive enzymes—which break down toxins—are not functioning properly, then they can allow toxins to enter into the large intestine. This is where your microbiomes (your healthy gut bugs) should be fighting off toxins. But if you have poor gut health (another possible effect of stressors), your body won’t be able to break down the toxins.
Of course, your body is very adaptable, and it may be able to cope with a significant amount of toxins and stress for a while. But eventually—and particularly if you have stressors coming in from both the emotional and physiological sides—it will struggle to keep up. These stressors will build upon each other and contribute to increasing health effects.
The Good News
If all of that sounds scary, don’t worry! The good news is that it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. You have the power to reduce your intake of these stressors and toxins. It just requires that you be conscious of what you are taking in—both emotionally and physically.
As an integrative therapist, I work with my clients to assess how various emotional and physiological stressors are contributing to their overall health. If you’re ready to get to the bottom of your health issues and make real progress toward healing, I’d love to help. You can schedule your free consultation here.
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