Stress and the Body: Respiratory System
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
"Stress is extremely harmful to the body. Even mainstream medicine is recognising how many diseases stress causes." - Eckhart Tolle
In my last blog, I introduced stress and the critical impacts it has on the body from a general aspect. Also I delved into how stress can affect the musculoskeletal system as well. In this blog, I am going to be focusing on the respiratory system and how stress obstructs it.
A quick recap of what stress is, stress is the body's reaction to a threat or a change that requires response or adjustment. Through this stress makes the body release hormones to make the brain more alert, as a result of which breathing speeds up, your pulse increases, and your muscles become tense. Now there can be a form of good stress as well, but if the stress persists it can lead to chronic stress which will negatively impact the mind-body connection. Let's review the functions of the respiratory system before we go into how stress affects it.
Now the respiratory system by definition according to cancer.gov (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/respiratory-system), "are the organs which are involved with breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Also called the respiratory tract." The respiratory system does many things, but here are some of the basic functions, which are allows you to talk and to smell, warms air to match your body temperature, and moisturises it to humidity level your body needs, delivers oxygen to your body, removes waste gases, including carbon dioxide, from the body when you exhale, and protects your airways from harmful substances and irritants.
When it comes to stress and the respiratory system, this area of the body is extremely affected because it can cause breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath and rapid breathing. If you already have issues breathing, than it could definitely worsen your symptoms. When you are in a stressful situation, you can hyperventilate despite having a healthy respiratory system. Stress increases the risk of asthma attacks in children as well, it is found to increase the body's inflammatory response to asthma triggers, which in turn increase the duration, frequency, and severity of the symptoms. Lastly, adrenaline is produced during stressful situations which makes the heart beat faster, and expands the air passages of the lungs to take more oxygen. There are so many issues and problems which arise when it comes to stress and the respiratory system that this blog can be a research paper. Therefore, I wanted to bring more awareness to stress and the respiratory system, so you can get a better understanding as to why stress management activities are imperative to not only your psychology but your physiology as well. Hope you enjoyed the blog and stay tuned for next week, peace!! :)