Long term exposure to stress changes our physiology

Let’s separate your stressors from your stress.

Stressors are the things that activate the stress response (bills, family, work etc).

Stress is a response to those stressors which is activated in your brain and body.

The sensitivity of your stress response is unique to you and your lived experience.

Stress is an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism that allows you to respond to perceived threats. Or it was evolutionarily adaptive, back when our stressors had claws and teeth and chased us for dinner. These days we are almost never chased for dinner, but still our body’s response to, say, a toxic relationship is largely the same as it would be to a lion. Your physiology doesn’t differentiate.

As we know, too much stress can prime your brain for chronic pain. This is because, the more your fight / flight response stays activated, the more sensitive your brain becomes to unpleasantness.

Stress underlies worry, anxiety, fear, terror, all the variants of “Run away!” But it also underlies anger, irritation, annoyance, frustration, rage (“Fight”) Also to a great extent it underlies the shutdown that characterizes depression (“Freeze”).

Are you open to the possibility your pain has a stress / emotional connection? I can help.

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