When we are under any kind of stress, our breathing becomes faster and more shallow - our "sympathetic nervous system" is switched on:
Our heart rate increases to pump blood to our muscles - ready for action !
Our blood pressure increases ..... we become tense and hypervigilent.
Stress hormomes, especially adrenaline - and in the longer term, cortisol - stream through our
body and, unconsciously, we become focussed only on survival NOW.
Everything else not required for survival is shut down (depending on the degree of stress):
immunity, reproduction, digestion, emotion processing and complex decision making.
This is why we are not logical when we are very stressed, why we can't concentrate or make good decisions, why our tummy's play up - remember the "butterflies" or even nausea (or worse!) before an important exam or speech? You may have noticed that this is a time you will often succumb to a cold. We may also develop temporary reproductive issues (missed ovulation or erectile dysfunction for example). Although essential for survival, all of this has a price - it is damaging. So when the danger is passed, there needs to be.......