The Holistic Homestead

by Arwen Ek


 Stress takes a toll on our bodies:


  • Stress can lead to insomnia, or sleep deficiency. According to the National Institute of Health, “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up.”
  • Stress eating is a well-known phenomena in our hurried culture, when we find ourselves eating on the run, or eating when we’re not hungry. Our minds are consumed with mental stress, and not listening to the cues of our body. Other negative behaviors connected to stress are drug and alcohol abuse.
  • According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver ‘metabolizes’ stress in the same way it metabolizes alcohol. The Hepatitis C Support Project published their findings on the connection of stress and liver disease: “In the part of the brain that controls the liver, stress was found to impair blood flow and may lead to or trigger liver damage. Stress can exert a dual effect(enhancement or reduction) of the inflammatory process that takes place in the liver. … Stress, depression and anger can go hand in hand.”

This article from the European Journal of Pharmacology examined the relation of stress and brain plasticity (meaning our neural connections will re-wire in an adaptive response to environmental stimuli, sometimes these new neural connections are temporary and can be reversed, chronic stimulation can lead to ‘hard-wired’ connections):


“Stress begins in the brain and affects the brain, as well as the rest of the body. Acute stress responses promote adaptation and survival via responses of neural, cardiovascular, autonomic, immune and metabolic systems. Chronic stress can promote and exacerbate pathophysiology through the same systems that are dysregulated. The burden of chronic stress and accompanying changes in personal behaviors (smoking, eating too much, drinking, poor quality sleep; otherwise referred to as “lifestyle”) is called allostatic overload.”


Many of my clients come in with chronic conditions that are the body’s compensation for long-standing and deep stress. Take a moment to identify the stressors in your life, write them down with gentle awareness and kindness toward yourself (as opposed to using this as another source of stress…)







The Holistic Homestead is a Colorado Nonprofit Corporation based in Gilpin County with a mission to increase health literacy, build healthy communities, and advocate for the medically under-served. Subscribe to our blog to get the latest headlines in health and wellness!



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