Stress is the body’s reaction occurring when the demands placed upon a person, exceeds their perceived ability to cope. Stress is manifested in a physical, mental, and emotional response when the body, believing it is under attack, generates a fight or flight response. This involves a carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous series of hormonal changes and physiological responses that are designed to safeguard survival in an emergency. Once the threat is neutralized, or passed, the body returns to a balanced state. In acutely significant situations this is a good thing, because it is adaptive in producing a favourable outcome and resolves the crisis. Where it becomes problematic is when the cascade of responses becomes chronic or occurs in the absence of real threat.
Chronic stress stimulates an ongoing release of cortisol that contributes to increasing and maintaining distress. This unfortunately makes a person feel worse physically, with its inflammatory component causing aches and pains, low energy, headaches, and the list can continue. Alongside unresolved anxiety, chronic physical symptoms interfere with an individual’s perception of ability, that significantly impacts how they manage their fear and anxiety. Combined with this, there is a reduced ability to think clearly, leading to impaired decision-making or planning. When the stress response becomes exaggerated and longstanding, does not offer benefit or healthy coping, it can be classified as an anxiety disorder.
To better manage stress and burnout, treatment will vary from person to person. Depending on the needs of the individual client, stress management may also include naturopathic care to look for inflammation, food intolerances, gut-brain concerns, blood sugar problems that don’t show up on standard blood work, hormone balance (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone need to have a healthy balance for both females and males), and consider stress hormones like cortisol levels. There are natural products to help balance serotonin and Gaba to help keep the nervous system calm and better able to engage in the psychotherapy process. This combination of Psychotherapy along with Naturopathic support has been very powerful and has been very successful.
As the individuals, biochemistry improves and their emotional coping skills develop, we additionally improve energy and health behaviours like diet and exercise that the person had often found too challenging to start or maintain.