Stress can break you just like it broke my brass lamp. Stress wears you out. And, just when you couldn’t be any more fatigued, you break.
The picture shows cracked metal and central column lifted away. What happened was, I came into my living room one December morning to find my brass lamp broken. That explained a loud crack I’d heard during the night and attributed to cold creaking through my house.
In the light of day my experience as a silversmith in London told me the cracking resulted from fatigue along stress lines created in the metal during manufacture. As long as the lamp was at a fairly even and warm temperature there was no movement in the metal and it remained intact.
But when my living room got very cold over several hours, the metal fractured at points where one piece of metal moved differently in response to the cold than an adjacent, attached piece of metal.
I’m not sure whether it was the interior plate of metal or the external hollow column which adjusted most to the change in temperature, but it’s fairly clear that both parts did not adjust in unison.
What happens in our bodies when different stresses call for change, even force changes on us that we can’t healthily accommodate?
For instance, something shocking happens, like being fired in a downsizing you feared; or, the person you love says they’re having second thoughts and a chill races through your body; or, for months you’ve made yourself perform some duty, despite it wearing you out, then you’re hit with an additional demand. In stressful situations such as these your body may experience abrupt, unrelenting changes to your body temperature: you start shivering, to muscle tension: you become stiff with anxiety, to heart rate, etc.
These are critical moments. If you have someone to give you warm tea and words of comfort, or genuine hugs, then everything may synchronize as you recover, no major damage done.
But if you’ve been pushing yourself to your limits and have no resilience left, nor anyone to hug and encourage you, then you may throw your back out, get sciatica, or suffer any number of pain related health issues.
From the scientific perspective, your telomerase, essential for longer telomeres and longer life, is decreased. Stress shortens telomeres. Short telomeres are related to illness and earlier death. More to come, keep reading.
Are Our Cells Listening to Us?
Elissa Eple who studies the role of stress in telomere shortening gave a lecture that’s scientific in clear, ordinary language, supported by graphics and examples that relate to a lot of us.
Emotions, Stress and the Rate of Telomere Shortening, by Elisa Epel
Blaming yourself for events long past, except you keep them uppermost in your mind, is one of the worst stressors.
You can bring yourself into the present and escape self-blaming ruminations that shorten telomeres by looking at what’s around you, choosing something you’d like to look better, then making it happen. How I transformed a room and my mind
I may not be able to walk, due to lasting effects of hydrogen sulfide in the condo I unsuspectingly bought, but I can make my surroundings almost as much fun as a visit to France or Crete. Maybe I exaggerate, but not entirely. I find joy in my home, and fun in changing it for the better, while at the same time changing my mind. 🙂
7/12/2014 ~ I fought stress today by increasing my telomerase, the enzyme that keeps us from getting decrepit despite onslaughts in our daily lives. I did it by bringing to mind good times when my ideals were strong and a wonderful part of my life. Seeing the Ideal
When something threatening and worrying comes along it can damage health. One way to counteract it is to focus your mind on good times. That puts a crimp in stress’s style.
7/14/2014 ~ Today I fought the stress of Goliath Wells Fargo once again attacking my home with foreclosure despite never serving me the Complaint. It’s scary, but by writing The Art of Asking, I feel better, and I’m getting suggestions on how to proceed.
Toxins and Stress
Say you have toxins you’re dealing with from medications, your environment, or “toxic” people you can’t avoid. If so, you may feel stress fractures, hairline ones, not yet as undeniable as the one in my lamp.
The fractures may not be perceptible to your doctor, but that doesn’t make them less real and given a shocking situation they may become undeniable because of the pain. Though, your doctor may continue to deny anything physical is wrong.
In terms of toxins, when I saw my avocado’s leaves crinkle I saw a similarity to the deep unevenness in my fingernails while I lived in the hydrogen sulfide. My thumbnails had particularly noticeable “gullies” in them.
My avocado did not have crinkled leaves before I transplanted it into the cadmium red glazed pot that I thought would be good for its roots, giving them lots of room. My avocado’s leaves began to look crinkled after it had been in the cadmium red pot for a few months. Cadmium is a known toxin, but I hadn’t thought about that when I bought the red pots, which were nice looking and not costly.
Were it not for the fact that two other plants, one of ten years standing, also became sick in two other cadmium red pots, I wouldn’t think there was any connection.
Here is my question to you: Do you see a similarity between the metal not being able to stand up to the stress of severe temperature change and the leaves not being able to stand up to the stress of toxins?
If you do, as I do, then you will be able to better understand how your body is not invincible when it comes to stress.
Status and stress
For me, stress is the crucial factor underlying status in The Status Syndrome by Michael Marmot. Marmot discusses how the less status you have, the earlier in life you are likely to die. He theorizes this happens because people with less status have less control over their lives.
Two hopeful things:
- 1.) compost may allow plants to grow normally in toxic pots — I’m experimenting now, but so far there are no results; and
- 2.) vitamin B12 (in the Methylcobalamin form) may allow our bodies to adjust under stress without breaking.
B12 keeps our nerves healthy and nerves are what transfer sensations and messages of change. For instance, when my feet began to lack sensation due to peripheral neuropathy caused by low vitamin B12 levels, I could no longer tell when my feet were becoming cold from being out from under the covers, nor could I tell if someone tickled my feet.
Now, after a lot of B12 replacement, nerves in my feet are beginning to more reliably send messages.
If you see what I am saying and if you are dealing with stress then take the precaution of getting and using Methylcobalamin lozenges.
What is a Health B12 Level?
I wish I’d known about vitamin B12 and nerves earlier. I wish I’d taken Methylcobalamin before my nerves were so severely damaged that it impacted my life in ways I wouldn’t have imagined, for instance, getting tetanus, and now reduced mobility.