Mind Body Wisdom

Frequently we hear the comment that someone has been “psychologically” affected by a stressful situation. The view that stress results in a psychological problem or is incurred from a psychological event is widespread and has resulted in a great deal of heartache for people who become ill following a stressful situation. A frequent refrain is that the stress is all in their mind and that they can just snap out of it. However, science is now discovering that this view may not be correct. Stress is experienced in our biology. Our response to stress defines our ability to fight or flee from a dangerous situation. Stress is a necessary part of our biology and is needed so that we can survive. It makes us alert and aware of the dangers in our environment. However, if stress is ongoing, or extreme and if we replay the stressful event over and over again it may affect how our brain and, consequently, how our mind functions. As human beings, with the ability to use words to describe our distress, we may look for a “psychological” explanation. But, it may turn out that it is our biological response to the stress that has altered our body, brain and mind.

In addition, I will provide an understanding about the relevance of the latest scientific information regarding the impact of stressful situations and the effect that these may have on our minds and bodies. How does stress alter our immune system, our endocrine system, our ability to sleep, our eating patterns, our ability to learn and our sense of well being. In addition, as a psychologist, I am aware that many people have spent most of their lives attempting to deal with stressful events by being “psychologically” strong. Because of the stigma associated with experiencing and expressing our ”psychological” response to stress we have become adept at hiding stressful signs and symptoms in our bodies. Thus, I believe that it is important for us to identify the stressors in our lives and the emotional impact they may have had.


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