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The New Normal- Is Your Body Sending You an S.O.S.?
We love to feel invincible. We love to get things done. We take on work and favors that keep our minds active and our relationships valued. We are sharp, creative, take-charge tornados on task, except … when we’re not. We hate being sick and otherwise down-for-the-count: How will the world run without our competent hand in the mix? There is a point when we drive ourselves too hard; sometimes it’s difficult to recognize when we just need some rest vs. when our bodies cry S.O.S. (Systemic Overdrive Stress) which can be debilitating if not answered soon enough.
Maintaining a “normal” level of good health emotionally and physically is quite a balancing act, even when we’re proactive in taking good care of ourselves. When we don’t do things to take care of ourselves, we leave it up to our bodies to compensate on their own. Our brains and bodies are amazing in their ability to cope with stress, even the kind we endure today in this fast-track age. Your body recognizes the consistency in the new level of energy it needs to keep up with your current lifestyle; this resets the bar for what it will now consider “normal.”
Problems can start when your natural fight-or-flight defenses kick in, triggered indiscriminately by daily work stress, anxieties, mental overload, deadlines and other stressful conflicts. Such defenses really only are needed for true physical emergencies, but if you’re already running on reserves, your mind won’t distinguish the difference. With non-life-threatening stressors, those natural defenses can work like hitting a nail on the head with a bulldozer, and throw us unnecessarily out of physical balance.
This is S.O.S., or systemic overdrive stress
(a.k.a. general adaptation syndrome).
At the onset, our body reacts with an initial alarm phase, then a resistance phase where it tries to compensate in order to fix the imbalance. Then, if that fails, exhaustion phase.
The result of exhaustion phase can show up as insomnia, weight gain, high blood pressure, immune deficiencies and a wide variety of “dis-ease.” S.O.S. differs from regular chronic stress when you find the compounding presence of multiple symptoms rather than one. Motivation and energy for life is more often than not massively diminished as well. This new “normal” can includes states of anxiety, depression or apathy. The symptoms are difficult to treat as separate and the strain of dealing with them can make you feel helpless.
Because you have taken an interest in this article, it might be safe to assume you are not in the exhaustion phase. In fact, you may be well distanced from the alarm phase, and perfectly healthy. It is best, however, not to discount the possibility that someone reading this article is in the resistance phase. Be proactive. If you’re feeling off and the medical world is telling you you’re fine, don’t give up. Find someone who will listen to you and meet your health needs.
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