Chronic Stress and Overwhelm

Sep 13, 2022

Chronic stress could be called the major health concern of the 21st century, especially now that scientific research links it to all types of chronic disease… would you agree? 

I see over and over how fierce social competition and comparison, fear of failure, chronic stress, consistent experiences of overwhelm, highly charged emotional events and traumas of all types (both our own, and ancestral/generational) that are left unresolved, ignored, suppressed, and/or minimised contributes to a long list of imbalances in the body/mind system and life journey  of my clients, and the world at large.

These imbalances include, but are not limited to, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, emotional dysregulation, emotional exhaustion, burnout decision-making performance issues, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, insomnia and other sleep issues, muscle pain, hypertension, heart issues, dysregulated hormones, weight gain, microbiome issues, dysbiosis, leaky gut, increased inflammation, a weakened immune system, becoming more prone to illness and wear and tear.

The big point to note here is that all health conditions will deteriorate the longer any imbalances persist - in fact, they can last a lifetime if the root cause is left unaddressed.

The truth is we don’t ‘catch’ chronic non-communicable disease, we foster it with our every day choices over time. More than 1 in 8 Australians are living with at least one chronic disease - wouldn’t you rather make as many choices as possible to reclaim your best health, rather than continue to slip further into different states of dis-ease?

What is emotional regulation or dysregulation?

This is a pretty broad construct, especially considering that emotions are scientifically challenging at the best of times as they are unobservable, subjective, and ill-defined!

Emotions (as facial, bodily, verbal, vocal, or symbolic expressions) are a huge part of  our human experiences, however their role has often been marginalised and minimised due to a collective focus on cognitive (rather than affective) dimensions of life.

What is clear is that awareness of mind and body is the first vital step, and then our ability to emotionally regulate stems from the combined comprehension of our different cognitive, behavioural, and physiological  manifestations, plus how adaptive - and contextually appropriate - we are at responding to emotional experiences.

All of these responses could be either voluntary/intentional or automatic/unconscious, or a mix of the two.

How can you get yourself to a place where your emotionally regulated response is intentional and voluntary?!

By doing the work - learning how to communicate with, regulate and support, your body, breath and nervous system.  You can learn more about my Nervous System Course here - I cover so many aspects of this in a tangible, accessible way.

Sensory information that we can gain through building our own interoceptive awareness also plays a BIG role in our affective behaviours, our sense of self, decision making, stress response, defensive and coping strategies. I'll offer another blog on this :)

A key point to take away here is that emotional and interoceptive dysregulation underlies many chronic health complaints, as well as eating disorders and mental health disorders, including substance abuse and other addictions, anxiety, panic attacks, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and more.

So do you know what the linking piece is in all these different health issues?

You’ve probably guessed - my favourite topic, our nervous system!

Both the central and the peripheral nervous systems are integral to the coordination of our cognitive, behavioural, and physiological  adaptations and habits. 

And yet our nervous system, although a driver and master regulator of our systems, os still just a part of our whole.

Our entire body is a network of connections, from cells to tissues to organ systems and energy fields. We are a functional continuum, a living ecosystem, a holobiont that interacts with both the inside and the outside, the internal and external, as one unit of the whole.

This is why a holistic approach to emotional dysregulation, chronic stress, overwhelm and trauma is just so vital. 

If you need 1:1 support please reach out