Toxic Stress: When Too Much of a Bad Thing is Never Good

Toxic Stress: When Too Much of a Bad Thing is Never Good
Too much stress is BAD!

Stress never should make you sick....literately.  It really should not.

By definition, stress is a simple reaction to a stimulus – a stressor - that throws us off either physically or mentally.  Stress is something that something that should be well managed and kept under control.  A little bit of stress keeps our life interesting, but overdoing it is never a good idea. Stress can cause depression, anxiety, heart disease, and other medical issues. With the holidays coming up, stress will be creeping up when we least expect it.

Personally, I found out the hard way that stress can be very toxic to the body when gets out of control.  As most people know me, I am a person who loves to run and knit, which are two hobbies and activities that help me control my stress levels when things start to creep up.  I found that both of those activities combined could not control the amount of stress that was coming in.   It was coming in faster than I could control.  It was completely mind-blowing.  The breaking point was when I had sustained a running injury while training for the Twin Cities Marathon and things starts crashing down in a hurry.  My nervous system was so screwed up that I was referred to a neurologist because of balance issues along with developing ticks/spasms in my legs and into my arms.  After a head & neck MRI, EEG, sleep study and all crapload of blood work, everything came back normal except for my B12 and Iron levels, which I found out, can be affected when you are under a TON of stress even with taking supplements already.

Once I had a main stressor removed at the end of October, things started turning around for me....slowly.

It did not come back all at once. It has been a slow and patient process.  I am in Physical Therapy right now for another 5 weeks to help with the balance issues that still linger. I do not recommend this on anyone to deal with this.

Here are some of the things that I recommend that I have learned.

  1. Recognize the stress right away and do not try to avoid it.   It does help to recognize the stress instead of trying to pretend that it will go away.  It does not help at all if you do.
  2. Find a therapist that will help you through the stress. This is super important to have a place to talk about the source of stress.  In my case, I had a difficult time getting away from the stress until the right time, but it does help to not stuff the stress inside and hold the emotion in.
  3. Find the comfort of friends that can help you get through the difficult stressor. It does help to have someone who understands your pain and talking about it does really help.
  4. If one hobby does not help you tame the stress, find one that will do the trick. For me, when I could not run because of my injury, I had to find a way to deal with the stress. I had to get very creative during the process.
  5. Meditate not medicate the stress away.  Find your center and focus on your inner calm. Learn how to meditate from a professional or from the internet if you need to.

I hope that this article really helped deal with any stress that you are dealing with.  It may not completely take it away, but I hope that it does help lessen it.  Do not allow stress to make you sick. It is not worth it.

Filed under: philosophy

Tags: life, mental health, stress


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    Greetings, Chicago Suburbanites! Welcome to Active Suburbia! My name is Denise, but I am known as Firefly, Red, and "Hey there". I will be your tour guide to everything active within the Chicago suburbs. In this blog, I will be your guide to places within the Chicagoland Suburbs that will help lead a more active lifestyle and a lot of fun too. In fact, studies have shown that reading this blog will bring a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and burn those last nasty 5 lbs that you can't get off. (Ok, everything's true except for the last one that hasn't been proved.....YET, but I am determined to make it true.) Here's a short introduction about myself: I am a very active person. You can say that I have endurance, determination, grit, and hard work in my bones. I enjoy running and cycling. I have completed a couple of marathons, half-marathons, 5K's, etc in my running career. I also enjoy trying most things active and willing to explore if I have to. I enjoy checking out the trails near me and doing a lot of running. I also enjoy teaching Pilates and yoga. I am also a suburbanite living in the awesome suburb of Berwyn. I am a suburban girl at heart and love every minute of it. I originally grew up in the frozen tundra of the Twin Cities. I am also a die-hard sports fan and enjoy the competitive nature of it. I love baseball, college and professional football, and even hockey. I am always interested in finding more fun places within the Chicago suburbs. If you know of a gem, shoot me an e-mail at You can also follow me on Twitter too.

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