What is happening, what is going wrong?
A short reflection on stress from a biological point of view.
Influences on our body that threaten its balance are stress factors activating a stress response. Stress factors can be physical as well as psychological factors. As a rule, the stress response proceeds unconsciously. Usually consciousness is only switched on after the event, when it would already be too late for an adequate reaction.
For you to survive the biological stress response must proceed well coordinated and perfectly timed.
It is initiated, maintained and controlled by the immune system, the central nervous system (CNS) with its sensorimotor part, the autonomous nervous system and hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and many more, all components tightly intertwined with the various central and peripheral regulatory circuits.
This whole system of complex regulatory circuits is modulated by perceptions and their interpretations (see article on “motivation”), by the flow of antigens that constantly puts pressure on the immune system via the mucosal linings in the intestines and the lungs, and through a number of other stimuli such as blood pressure, body temperature or the blood sugar level, etc..
The brain regulates, coordinates and controls all basic activities of our body and so it does with the stress response. Various centers in the CNS fulfill these tasks, why they are tightly connected by positive and negative feedback loops and interrelated circuits. The activities of the immune system are controlled and dampened if needed by the autonomous nervous system. This happens in real time. The cortisol regulatory loops contribute towards this damping too. The cortisol system is always highly active during phases of stress.
Due to its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effect, cortisone is readily applied as a therapeutic solution. Many of you will have already experienced the soothing and anti-inflammatory effects of cortisone. After a short active phase all the mentioned systems endeavor to keep the answer to stress under control, or else the centers of inflammation that constantly appear via the intestines, lungs and muscle activities from spreading throughout the body. Depending on the genetic disposition, the floodgates are opened to diseases.
Visits to the doctor are often frustrating
Many health issues are first of all due to stress exposure that brings about regulatory imbalances. If you suffer from regulatory failures you rarely receive clear diagnosis, yet are still not healthy. Yet, if you trivialize functional disorders and carry on pushing yourself, then you can experience a crash landing, from which it can be hard to recover. In the case of chronic stress, an already activated system no longer comes to rest. The stress control processes induced by permanent stress weaken the immune system. Depending on which pattern of activity emerges in the immune system allergies break out, infections or wound healing disorders are triggered or atopic eczema etc. may worsen.
For this reason, the following passable rules apply
Stick strictly to the phases of recovery, not only for the muscles but also for the head. Take warning signals the body sends out seriously and put together a good and balanced diet if possible. Biestmilch can be an integral part of this diet to balance immunity and increase stress resistance. An ascetic lifestyle and doing without everything that tastes good and is good fun, is not really the right kind of advice to be successful. The immune system should be taken into consideration when planning training. Maybe the one or other of you will consider including mental training in your training plan, for the sake of your immune system.