Stress: The Road to Illness?

My Heart is Breaking...

My fellow California Estheticians are struggling through this pandemic right now because they have not been able to reopen their businesses. Some are hanging on by a thread and sadly, others have chosen to close their business permanently.

Throughout my 20+ year Esthetics career, I usually have something to say, advice to give, opinions to impart, online courses to offer... anything I can do to help lead Estheticians to and through their financially successful Esthetics career. But right now, my thoughts have more to do with preservation of our sanity, optimism, good energy and good health as we look to the future.  

During 2019, I worked at the Chopra Center live events and retreats. As part of the Core Team, I was able to meet and learn from not only Deepak Chopra himself, but also many other fascinating speakers, authors, thought leaders and geniuses. There was a definite theme to their message which is that 95% of illnesses are preceded by an underlying stressful condition such as fear, anger, or depression. 

Stanford University Medical School’s research released in 1998 by Dr. Bruce Lipton, a highly renowned and respected cell biologist, stated that stress is the cause of at least 95% of all illness and disease. Dr. Lipton reports that the remaining 5 percent is genetic and was caused by stress somewhere in the ancestry of that person, which makes sense if you understand how DNA can be changed and then passed down to generations.

This doesn't mean a person who suffers a tragedy will be diagnosed with cancer the next day. It means that in 95% of diagnosed illnesses, the patients had in common a lengthy, low-grade, underlying and ongoing negative internal environment. This statistic is supported by volumes of scientific research. There is some good news to be found with this statistic, however; and that is, we can be proactive and take necessary steps to keep ourselves healthy.

 

The Body's "Fight or Flight" Response

The term “Fight or Flight” was coined by Dr. Walter Cannon who was head of the Department of Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. “Fight or Flight” is the body’s response to impending danger, during which it prepares us to fight the predator or run like hell away from it. It makes a lot of sense when it comes to physical danger.

We've all heard of mothers suddenly having superhuman skills and being able to lift a car with their bare hands in order to free a trapped child.

When the danger has passed, the body’s Fight or Flight response recedes. However, the body reacts the same way to stressful conditions that are not physical in nature, so when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that Fight or Flight reaction stays turned on.

 

Estheticians Under Stress

As I watch Estheticians on social media right now, I am concerned for them. Although I understand that anger, blame and fear can be somewhat entertaining and addictive, and the group mentality can feel empowering, the underlying damage it may be doing to their health could be causing long-term problems they don’t know about. But sadly, they probably won’t put 2 and 2 together and get 4 – meaning: Constant stress + Fight or Flight = Illness. And that's why I have chosen this topic for today's blog. 

Another thing Estheticians may not realize is that when the Fight or Flight response is activated, their brain function is temporarily changed and their thinking is clouded. (See link below: “A guided tour of your stressed out brain”). Therefore, the best possible solutions to the problem, which requires creative ideas and forward thinking, are out of reach. 

 

I have provided a few links below so that you can read the scientific evidence which supports the information I have provided here. 

 Dr. Walter Cannon's Dramatic Discovery

Fight or Flight Response (an overview)

A Guided Tour of Your Stressed Out Brain (by a Yale Neuroscientist)

Chronic Stress puts Your Health at Risk (Mayo Clinic)

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