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Be About It

CPC's Blog About Health and Wellness

Stress – you need it

Sunday, 5 / 1 / 16

There are many different ways people conceptualize stress and VAST differences in how it effects each of us. Stress has one of the largest impacts to our overall health more than any other bio-marker. When you go to the Dr you are tested on many different markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, pulse, O2 saturation, etc. The list is long and all are of major importance. Elevated levels or low levels tells your health practitioner that something “off”, there is a story there. The medical field knows what healthy levels are and what range you should be in but what about your stress level… how can you measure and quantify stress? No one knows and it’s problematic to all of us. At some point you have experienced a time in which stress made us not want to eat, ruined our sleeping pattern, made us irritable towards loved ones, forgetful and it even made us susceptible to infection. Stress can ruin you but how much can YOU handle and why?

With so much out there about stress reduction and stress management I truly believe people are becoming hypersensitive to the concept of stress being BAD. We ALL NEED STRESS and like anything in excess is bad. There is always a measure in which something that is “good for you” will become a negative. Water (Hypoxia), fat soluble vitamins (Hypervitaminosis), Sun exposure (Skin Cancer), strength training (Rhabdomyolysis) we could make a list all day long. But take a moment and think about what happens without stress… You degrade.

Gravity – gravity is a stress. In the absence of gravity our skeleton no longer needs to maintain the same density. In our body Osteoclasts are always present in our system to break down bone and utilize the Ca for our body processes. Without the STRESS of gravity the Osteoblasts (the opposing bone builders) no longer have a stimulus to create new bone so they sit back, throw their feet up and say “fuck it. Why do work of making bone?” In the absence of gravity/ stress to the skeletal system our bones don’t have a stress or a reason to do their thing and stay healthy. Our red blood cell production is housed in our long bones and that will soon be affected leading to an avalanche of other health problems. So, no stress? No life!

One of my most FAVORITE examples of this was:

Does anyone remember the Biosphere project that was conducted in the early 90’s in Arizona? No, not the terrible movie Biosphere with Pauly Shore. “Biosphere 2 was originally meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life; defining mission one as eight humans for two years.” An incredible about of time, money and research went into this project and was an absolute failure. The reasons for the failures were stated as “ran into problems including low amounts of food and oxygen, die-offs of many animal and plant species, squabbling among the resident scientists and management issues.” There were low amounts of oxygen and die offs of plants, why? This environment was methodically put together and it was PERFECT. Exactly, perfect = wrong. In the construction of the project the scientist did not equate for wind or lack of. Wind provides nature with the vehicle for cross pollination but equally important it provides STRESS. In the absence of wind the trees bark and root system weakened. This led to the diminished usage of minerals and decreased turnover on a cellular level or tree rot. Someone tried to create a system with perfect conditions for livings organisms. What they failed to measure is that nature already did it right. Living things need stress and without it, they die.

My expertise really only allows me to draw attention to your physical activity and physical stress. There may be other areas of overwhelming stress for you and there is always someone to talk to and get help. So where do you need more and where do you need less? Stress that is. You exercise regularly so that’s good but are you consistently getting hurt? You are creating opportunities for your body to experience physical stress and causing micro-tears in muscle, incentive for increased bone density and a cardiovascular demand appropriate for a change in mitochondrial density. But are you changing?! If you haven’t witnessed a change then maybe you’re exercising too little or too light of an intensity to illicit change. On the contrary if you’re always fighting injury you’re under too much stress and need to back down. Only you can answer that for you – no measuring against someone else because this isn’t ever going to be an ideal scientific study, there are just too many variables we can’t control. You need to have a better relationship with your body and recognize that stress effects us all very differently and it’s dynamic changes during different times of the year.

My last point is about me as an opportunity to appeal to some parents. I know I have NO BUSINESS telling anyone how to parent their child. Quite frankly even if you are a parent you have no right – keep your mouth shut when it comes to someone else’s kid. Mine point is giving props and a thank you to my parents. I did not have helicopter parents. I had parents that believed their kids should contribute to the house work. That believed in getting a job, paying my own bills and building responsibility early. From middle school on I built the skills necessary to juggle school, work, friends and sports. I reflect back on those days and man was I pissed during! I didn’t want to have to wake up every weekend day to go to work. I wanted to just be able to go away with friends and not have to analyze how it would be afforded; I just wanted them to pay for it like my friends parents did. I was taught to deal with conflict myself and they didn’t immediately assume that the teacher dropped the ball when I came home with shitty grades. They had me deal with stress head on at an early age. I developed skill sets that can’t be taught in any college or MBA program. My parents let me fail but they were there to make sure I learned from it. They let me get stressed out, cry because I might not be able to get it all done, miss fun times with friends because of my responsibilities and truly respect making a buck. People have horrible childhoods and I am in no way saying mine was. I am thankful that my parents let me struggle and learn.

The last 4 months of my life were the most stress out I have ever been. I have had 3 days off in 16 weeks. My average workday was 15 hours and I came in directly coached over 200 people a day. I have NO desire to keep that pace or ever repeat what just happened. I made a decision as an owner that it was in the best interest of CPC to make this spring the way it was. I welcomed the stress my body and mind just endured. I was able to stand during what could be measured as a hurricane because I was taught how to stand on my own two feet in the breeze.

Remember that we all need stress and we all grow from it as well. To avoid it, shield it or attempt to remove someone else from it is be doing them a great disservice.

Rest hard, eat well, live more, do you.

TAGS: Goals, Health, Stress
Geoff Sullivan