Feb 5, 2008 11
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Below you have a very insightful article on stress by one of our new Expert Contributors, Gregory Kellet, a researcher at UCSF. Enjoy! (Credit for Pic of Victoria Crater in Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, via Wikipedia).
“My brain is fried, toast, frazzled, burnt out. How many times have you said or heard one version or another of these statements. Most of us think we are being figurative when we utter such phrases, but research shows that the biological consequences of sustained high levels of stress may have us being more accurate than we would like to think.
Crash Course on Stress
Our bodies are a complex balancing act between systems working full time to keep us alive and well. This balancing act is constantly adapting to the myriad of changes occurring every second within ourselves and our environments. When it gets dark our pupils dilate, when we get hot we sweat, when we smell food we salivate, and so forth. This constant balancing act maintains a range of stability in the body via change; and is often referred to as allostasis. Any change which threatens this balance can be referred to as allostatic load or stress.
Allostatic load/stress is part of being alive. For example just by getting up in the morning, we all experience a very important need to increase our heart rate and blood pressure in order to feed our newly elevated brain. Although usually manageable, this is a change which the body needs to adapt to and, by our definition, a stressor.
Stress is only a problem when this allostatic load becomes overload. When change is excessive or Read the rest of this entry »