Briefly and generally-speaking, this is the physiology of our body's response to stress: Increase heart-rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, vasso-constriction to organs (that means the veins constrict, decreasing blood flow to the organs). The brain starts shutting down the parts for short-term memory and learning. Adrenals release catecholamines, which release free-fatty acids into your system for energy. Catecholamines and cortisol will stimulate the release of sticky factors and blood platelets. Cortisol will down-regulate insulin receptors. Cortisol converts extra calories to fat and moves it to the abdominal area. (Extra abdominal fat increases your risk for diabetes and heart disease.) Under stress you crave Fats & Sugars. Most people do not go for healthy fats/sugars like lean meats, nuts/seeds and fruits & berries. No, instead they grab a Soda, BurgerKing and a candy bar. All that trans fats and HFCS increases you blood sugar EVEN MORE, increases insulin resistance even more, and increases your risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Cortisol also down-regulates your immune system - increasing your chances of Colds, Flu, Cancer. Cancer is an immune issue – we all have cancer cells, but most of the time we are able to fight it off. Do you ever wonder why is it whenever you are stressed out you get sick?
But what about a baby? Do babies have stress? Sure they do. They don't know if your coming back for them, they might wake up in a dark room, they have something wet on their bottom that they can't get off. They are being constantly introduced to new people and places. As a toddler, they might start preschool with a new teacher, friends and fun things to do...but they wonder if you are coming back for them? Your family might move to a new house - but this new place is strange and unfamiliar to a little one, even though you are there. Your child might even witness you and your spouse fighting - and that can be scary to them. They might be mastering a new skill - crawling, walking, climbing. A new toy or movie might be stimulating their brain. Although these situations are not all negative, they are "stressors". Think about your wedding day, or going to a foreign country, or a rollercoaster - all fun and exciting, but can still have the same "stress response" on your body.
So, as adults, we have the knowledge and means to reduce our stress and improve our health. Yoga, exercise, meditation, a raw, clean diet, regular chiropractic care, etc.
|So relaxed from breastfeeding |
I couldn't even finish my smoothie....
Breastfeeding is a great way to reduce stress for Mama, too. It makes her sit, relax, slow down and focus on her baby. There is also a release of hormones (oxytocin) to her brain, which makes her feel happy and in-love with her little one.