Updated: Aug 22
Can Stress kill you via the Mind and Body Connection?
Modern medical science has proved that the Mind and the Body are inextricably connected to each other. The matter part of the body is nothing but the condensed form of the bio energy - Prana- of which even the Mind is made up of. Mind is a composite of thoughts which are packets of energy, the nature of thoughts - good, bad - determines the corresponding quality of the Mind. As per the theory of evolution of matter from the three gunas comprising Prakriti, Ahamkara is the common link between the Body & the Mind: Mind evolves from Sattvic Ahamkara, and the 5 Gross elements forming the body from Tamasic Ahamkara.
The Mind and the body are connected on another plane as the subtle cognitive senses are the evolutes of the Mind but they operate via grosser sense organs located in the physical body. At Physical level the Mind is represented by the intricately woven network of the nervous system, physical brain included. The electrical impulses which keep the physical nerves enervated are again the packets of energy, prana, just like the thoughts which constitute the Mind. So, in a way, it is the Mind which remains penetrated into each and every tissue, organ, or cell of the body, riding on the nervous system.
The answer to the question, can stress kill you? is in the affirmative as stress, tension, or strain is a state, quality ( negative) of the Mind which can impair the functioning of the cells, tissues, or organ systems by virtue of the link between the physical body and the Mind. It has been researched that more than 90 percent of all physical ailments are rooted in psychological disturbances. Afflictions ranging from a minor headache to a cold sore, arthritis, and heart disease all have their genesis in negative emotions, stress being the most destructive of them all. Taking a stress test is the right way to know whether one is already in its grip or is even prone to it.
Can Stress Kill you by causing an accident?
Recent scientific research has already established a clear connection between stress and disease. Stress, especially the negative stress, can not only trigger the onset of various diseases but has also been found to exacerbate the condition of an existing malady. It can be a potent catalyst in blowing the lid off a number of medical conditions afflicting humans.
Can stress kill you by disorienting your judgement into a fatal accident? it very much carries the potential for the same. It has been found that individuals are more prone to accidents during more stressful phases of their lives. The study which established this tracked 103 high school boys for accidents and any major life changes for 5 months. The term "life changes" included events like change of school, moving into a new house or a locality, or a serious illness, loss in the family. Post 5 months, when the data for both the parameters studied was tallied the group of boys which faced more stress than the others reported 3 times more accidents.
Employees exhibit increased instances of job related errors, judgmental errors, and a rash of physical accidents while they are stressed. This is because stressed people lack the ability to think, act, and react in a normal, relaxed manner. The concentration power of the stressed individual suffers leading to accident.
Can Stress Kill you through Asthma, Allergies?
Can Stress kill you by fueling Asthma, and other Allergies? yes, their is a definite link between the two. Generally allergies occur when the body's natural defense mechanism, immune system, misreads the presence of a completely harmless substance - dust particles pollen grain etc. - in the environment as an hazard and rages a chemical war against it which results in an allergic reaction. Studies, where in guinea pigs were subjected to stress and then exposed to certain chemical irritants showed higher skin sensitivity to these chemicals than the one's which were comparatively calmer.
White blood cells are the soldiers of our defense mechanism, the immune system, which are wired to detect the presence of a hazardous substance, a substance which can cause harm to the body via infections etc., in the environment known as the enemy antigen. These white soldiers release a posse of chemicals weapons known as antibodies in the blood the moment they detect enemy antigens in order to destroy them. These antibodies are usually of type IgE ( Immunoglobulin E) and latch on to the cells in the nose, throat. stomach, intestine, lungs, or the skin to manifest an allergic reaction.
People suffering from allergies are generally detected with high IgE levels in the blood. George Solomon, the professor of psychiatry at UCLA has successfully demonstrated that any degree of mental strain, tension can increase IgE levels in animals. Any episode of stress, or tension can weaken the immune system which increases one's sensitivity to various substances, chemicals, or foods. That is the reason that yogic relaxation techniques like Savasana, or Nishpanda Bhava along with basic breathing exercises help reduce the stress levels in the body and thus benefit allergic reactions like Asthma. In fact yoga for healing Asthma is mostly based on eking out the relaxation response within the body.
In fact, yoga meditation helps slow down the chatter within the mind, calming it down like no other technique can. Relaxation response, which help deepen both the inhalation and exhalation ( significant to preventing and relieving an asthmatic attack) is one of the many benefits of doing meditation on a regular basis.
Can stress kill you via Arthritis?
Data has demonstrated that Rheumatoid arthritis erupts in people who are under the arrest of severe inner turmoil. This internal conflict is the result of being extremely conscientious, afraid of criticism, having frequent bouts of depression, and holding a poor self image. A majority of arthritis patience have a long trail of anger and tension in the past. More important, these people do not admit to the internal boil of stress, but maintain an external façade of calm & peace.
This suppressed anger builds up with time which eventually begins to eat them up in the form of arthritis. The stress & anger turns on the person carrying it, as the immune system turns against the body itself, it is a part of and meant to defend it against external invasions, in case of rheumatoid arthritis, it being a autoimmune disease. Clinical research has clearly shown that arthritis doesn't erupts in people who are emotionally healthy though genetically predisposed to it.
The blood of most patients of rheumatoid arthritis has been found to carry a distinct "rheumatoid factor", an antibody which begins to destroy bodies own protective antibodies due to reasons yet unknown to the scientists. Why is it that a lot of carriers of the rheumatoid factor do not develop arthritis? Why do only some develop this degenerative condition? The difference is in the psychological profile; Stress presses the rheumatoid factor into action where as comparatively healthy states of mind escape the scourge. Stress associated with ageing some what works in the same manner, older adults can benefit from yoga in a lot other areas as well.
So, can stress kill you by setting off the genetic time bomb of arthritis leading to degeneration of the body parts which are responsible for mobility, and holding it erect? The answer again is yes. Individuals living with dominating spouses, persons having no control on their life situations, and people who work in stressful jobs, or environments are more prone to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis doesn't kill the person directly but accelerates the process of death by destroying the functional, physical body.
Can Stress Kill your Back?
It has been estimated that about 95% of the back pain incidents have their roots in the Mind, or the state of Mind to be more precise. Back muscles are more sensitive to emotional stress, Tensions, anger, anxiety and stressful jobs can easily tense up the muscles of the back. In case the period of stress gets too prolonged it causes pain in the back muscles exactly in the same way as tension headache manifests itself. Moreover, being a highly mobile region of the body along with being the fulcrum on which the weight of the upper body balances over the hips, legs a tense back is easily susceptible to injuries.
Other way round, accidents which have the potential of harming the back happen under stress itself. A lot of times, when the stress levels are high, the unconscious mind translates the mental state to the physical body; like when one thinks." I wish he gets off my back", or, " I cant take this load on my back anymore". Such thinking can make the unconscious mind to manifest the thought of the pain in the back as a real sensation. Backache has been found to account for more " sick days' than common cold at work place. Yoga exercises for curing backache are generally chosen for their stress relieving properties.
Can Stress Kill you with Cancer?
Stress induced feelings of hopelessness and helplessness have been found to play a vital role in causing cancer. Cancer has also been interestingly linked to the suppressed, stifled creative energy within one's self. Creative expression is vital to sustenance of life, lack of avenues for letting out this energy stagnates and festers it as cancer. Always being aware of once uniqueness is another way of keeping oneself fueled up with the life giving prana, death of a life partner, retirement, or separation from a beloved can cut close the channels of one's expression , or one's uniqueness leading to the body submitting to cancer.
The level to which one's immune system is impaled depends on how one reacts to the external stress. People who can easily handle stress are the one's who know how to alter their reaction to stress. The stress resilience factor is higher in people who carry less anxiety and fear than the ones who are overly anxious. Studies have found that people who are going through death or serious illness of a family member have under performing white blood cells, soldiers, guards of the immune system. Another culprit from among the whole lot of risk factors for cancer suppressing one's anger tops the list.
Anger management techniques propose channelizing anger in the right direction and not suppressing it, a minimum amount of aggression is necessary for keeping oneself motivated and for self defense. A study of cancer patients was conducted in the 1950s in America where in some interesting similarities were discovered among the patients: all of their minds were conditioned to not to express hostility in their self defense whenever necessitated. These very patients were found exhibiting hostile behavior in defense of others but not when it came to their own defense.
Another study on women suffering from breast cancers reported the same relationship between suppressed anger and the disease. The same study also found out that these women, suffering from benign or malignant breast cancers, have had to handle more anger in the year just prior to the onset of the disease. A correlation between the frequency of anger bouts and the potency of cancer - benign or malignant - was also clearly visible among these women: high frequency of feeling angry in the previous year lead to malignant tumors and vice versa.
There are individuals who do express their anger but apologize for it later, it is similar to throwing out the angry feelings and then sucking them back into oneself. Some times stressful jobs, or stress work can keep one angry for longer duration turning the issue into a never ending internal conflict. Yoga got stressed out executives can help in this area. People who throw out their hostile feelings and forget about them, or direct their attention to more pleasant things are least likely to suffer its side affects like cancer which can actually kill you.
Stress can kill your Heart
Heart disease has gained a lot of fame since corporate culture took its foot in our job environment . Target driven, fast paced stressful jobs, as created by the modern world, cause stress. Such stress has become a necessary adjunct of the company culture we work in now a days, employees take it as a necessary evil and willingly put themselves to the risk of heart disease. The kind of business goals the corporate world has set for itself today need individuals with Type A personalities: impatient, aggressive, fast communicators, and workaholics. Such people need to be ambitious and self driven, someone who can extract the maximum from the limited resources.
The first victim of such a company culture is the employee's individuality; every one wants to emulate others who are seemingly more successful than themselves, in the process, loosing the sight of what is their own natural construct, or capabilities. Trying to live other's lives creates friction stress, frustration which leads to hostile behavior. Research has shown that its actually not the fast paced, and high job involvement which cause heart disease, instead its hostility - stress and anger - which when gets paired with the other traits of type A personality that it turns dangerous. Also, risk of death increase for persons with hostile attitudes from a number of other causes too. Doctors data from across the planet stands proof of the direct link between the clogged arteries and the hostile behavior.
Can Stress kill you with Hypertension?
Researchers from around the globe have unanimously arrived at the number of main causes of high blood pressure as three: high intake of salt; lack of adequate exercise; and too much stress. Amount of release of adrenaline in the blood, which is responsible for increased heart rate due to narrowed blood vessels, is directly linked to the degree of emotional stress the mind goes through, this obviously spikes the blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Conversely, it has been found that people with hypertension have higher levels of adrenaline in their blood than people with normal blood pressure
Yoga techniques for healing hypertension help control high blood pressure from the stress angle. After a series of experiments of treating 36 patients of hypertension with a yogic relaxation response for several weeks it was found that the average blood pressure was brought down from 146/93.5 to begin with to 137/88.9 for these individuals. Thus stress levels have a direct impact on the blood pressure of an individual. Anything that can help with stress relief can help heal hypertension: relaxing with the singing bowl, engaging certain hobbies in free time, or practicing certain activities which help improve the concentration of the mind. Stress can kill you by impairing the functioning of vital organs via an increased pressure of blood circulation.
Other ways Stress can Harm you in
Persistent stress, if not attended too can cause a myriad of other problems which may be a tad less fatal than the one's discussed above but can throw one's life out of gear for sure. Stress can cause teeth grinding, and related problems, which can have a severe impact on one's over all health. Kids are no immune to the deadly stress, quarreling parents, being forced into a new school's stressful environment against the kid's wishes, and alcohol abuse in the family can develop irritating colon, abdominal pain in children as young as 3 years. Bed wetting is another symptom of the child going through a stressful phase.
Stress can scuttle the normal production of melanin, a hormone responsible for maintaining the color of the hair in humans, which can take the natural color off the newly emerging hair leaving them grey in appearance. Dandruff is also known to exacerbate with stress, and Alopecia areata - complete loss of hair due to inflammation on the affected skin on the head and face- also seems to have its weakened roots in chronic stress. It has been found that stress lowers the white blood cells in the affected individuals leaving them defenseless in the face of the microbes which cause Alopecia areata.
Tension headaches are the result of prolonged stress induced tightening of the muscles of the neck and the forehead. Though headache can also result from the tightening of the muscles of the neck wrapped around the lower head region due to wrong sitting or standing posture like a crane neck, headache caused by stress generally strikes when one holds anxiety, and anger within oneself. Moreover, the yoga techniques which help alleviate anxiety, and the yoga processes for helping alleviate anger have been found in reducing the instances of headache in people who are otherwise prone to it. Years of experience with handling migraine patients have led the doctors to adduce the cause to a stressful lifestyle, most of the migraine patients are workaholics, ambitious, hardworking, demanding, eager to please, and are sensitive to criticism, all the ingredient needed for begetting stress.
Add to this over conscientiousness and heavy goal orientation, and a powerful recipe for getting a cardiac disease is complete. Their is a clear indication that stress can depress the levels of testosterone in the blood leading to sexual malfunctions, especially impotence in men. Psychological stress is known to worsen the peptic ulcers, especially in professionals who work under time pressures. Stress can also cause skin problems.
Knowing the implications of stress and its impact on the health as well as the performance of its employees companies today are coming up with employee engagement programs, and stress management techniques for the executives which motivate the workers to maintain positive thinking as far as possible.
Human body can function, as well as remain healthy only under relaxed conditions. Any psychological stress, tension or strain can depress the normal functioning of the various body systems dampening the over all quality of living of the affected person. Can stress kill you? very much it can. Stress is known to cause life threatening diseases like cardiac issues, hypertension, arthritis, Asthma, and other related allergies. Learning to manage stress is critical to one's survival in modern times.