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Reality of Stress

Photo courtesy viraldotcom

Photo courtesy viraldotcom

Are you dealing with the reality of stress in such a way that your body heals itself? One of the beauties of the holistic approach is that you can use your mind to make a decision about your body and feel good in your spirit. The is the mind-body-spirit (heart-centered) framework for self-care that informs intelligent decisions.

There is stress that is good for you, for example, that accompanies feeling exhilarated on hearing good news. Hearing bad news — the opposite occurs. According to one of the British bibles of aromatherapy (and I paraphrase), “There are three stages in the development of the body’s response to stress:

“Alarm stage:

  • a temporary cessation of digestive juices occurs
  • the respiratory and heart rates increase
  • extra oxygen is transported to the brain and the muscles (in preparation for strenuous action or emotional strength)
  • energy is released quickly from stored fats and sugars
  • the immune system shuts down

“Resistant stage:

  • extra oxygen, energy and adrenalin are brought into action to enable the body to cope with this unacceptable situation (expected to be temporary).

With isolated occurrences the body is able to rid itself of the stress and the body functions return to normal.However, in the absence of helping or release from the situation, the responses in stage 1 above are continuous and the body tries to adapt itself to the stressor in an effort to reach a balanced state…. 


… [results] with reversion to the alarm stage, resulting inevitably in eventual health problems, These may be manifest as headaches, inability to sleep, digestive problems, skin disorders, susceptibility to infections, etc. owing to the closing down of the immune response.”


The aroma bible continues, “A great deal of time and energy is spent on physical fitness but very little effort is put into mental and emotional fitness. There is little doubt that mental and emotional health go hand in hand with certain attitudes to life.

“People who are happy-go-lucky remain mentally and physically fitter than those who are negative or who have too much stress in their lives to cope with rationally. Lack of stress can be defined as ‘proper emotional balance whereby a full range of responses can be expressed according to the situation — neither too dramatically nor too grudgingly.’ (Stoppard 1988 p. 73)

“A person with little stress has a sense of reason about the standards that should be set for oneself, an awareness of strong and weak points and a certain understanding of other people and their reactions to different situations. Dealing with stress means being prepared to take on responsibility for one’s own life rather than blaming other people or events.”

Photo Courtesy Unstress-my-life.com

Photo Courtesy UnstressMyLife.com


“Left untreated, stress can lead to self-destructive or harmful behaviour towards others. Stress related disease is not only on the increase (Seaward 2000), but it has a pathogenic effect on immune function (Hori et al 2003), appearing to exert an effect on the immune system similar to ageing (Hawkley & Capioppo 2004).”


–Penny Price, from Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Third Edition, edited by Shirley Price and Len Price (2007)