Stress exacts a toll on your body, mind, and soul. But how your body responds is unique to you. The same outside stressor may create a very different reaction in your body than in mine.
Your body is an amazing integration of multiple systems that normally all work in harmony. Any one of those systems can break down when any kind of stress becomes too great.
If you are paying attention, your body will tell you when you need to take action to prevent further damage. Each of us has one or two body systems that are most vulnerable. For me, if I lose too much sleep or work too many hours I sometimes get a migraine headache: that’s my vulnerable body area. For you it’s probably something else.
Some common vulnerable areas are:
- Headaches. Tension, migraine, or any type of headaches
- Cardiovascular. High blood pressure, heart disease, angina
- GI distress. Upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Immune system. Allergies, asthma, frequent colds or other respiratory infections, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
- Pain syndromes. Fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, other chronic pain
- Endocrine system. Diabetes, thyroid problems
- Reproductive system. Menstrual problems, menopausal symptoms, lack of libido
This is only a general overview of common physical vulnerabilities. There are certainly other areas where your body may be vulnerable also.
You probably know what your most vulnerable area is if you think about it. It’s where you are most likely to have symptoms when you are under stress, or aren’t taking care of yourself as you should.
You may need medical treatment for whatever vulnerable physical area you struggle with. Don’t ignore it just because stress makes it worse. Get help if you need to.
But also, go one step farther; learn to see that physical problem as a barometer of your stress level. When you notice an increase in symptoms, do something about it.
When your indigestion becomes more frequent, your arthritis flares up, or your menopausal symptoms get worse, take action.
- Ask yourself where increased stress may be coming from.
- Pay extra attention to healthy lifestyle practices such as rest, healthy diet, and exercise.
- Get some extra support from friends, family, or a professional if necessary.
- Pray. Spend some extra time with God.
You can’t eliminate stress completely. Your body has limits on what it can withstand, and that is unique to each person. But paying attention to where your body is most vulnerable will give you an early warning signal of when you need to pause and take appropriate action.
Your turn: Where is your body most physically vulnerable? What do you to do minimize problems in your most vulnerable area? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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