The most destructive element to our health is emotional stress! This is because it is subtle and yet insidious. Albert Einstein proved through his famous equation, E=mc2, that energy is never lost. It only changes forms. Since emotional stress is a form of energy, and not a very good one, we have created a new past-time, which involves funneling and out letting the poor energy from stress in more productive directions.

Why is emotional stress so destructive to the body?

Our bodies are designed to handle a certain amount of emotional stress before it becomes noticeably destructive. Some people are equipped to withstand more than others. We are designed to manage and adapt to many different stresses in our environment. The ones who adapt the quickest and most efficiently are usually the most successful. Charles Dawin called this Natural Selection. The ones who don't, have trouble surviving and fall prey to the menacing, debilitating effects of stress energy.

Here is why. We are equipped with a fight or flight mechanism in our bodies. It insures that we stay alive when we encounter a stressful situation. If you are walking through the jungle and you see a man-eating tiger about to leap at you, your first instinct may be to run. Maybe it is to instinctively cover your most valuable assets, like your head and eyes. Maybe it's to grab a branch as a weapon. Whatever the choice, that split second decision requires huge amounts of brain energy. That surge of decision-making brain power causes the body to instantly draw blood and fluids away from some areas of the body and deliver it to the area where it is immediately needed for survival.

Now, consider the fact that the rest of the body was relying on those life giving fluids to maintain normal body functions. They have all been short changed. The blood and body humors were removed from the immune system, the digestive system, the reticular tissues (the ultra-strong collagen network the holds the skin to the muscles) and wherever it is not immediately needed for survival, to be sent to the brain. This is why people under stress look haggard and prematurely wrinkled. This is also why many people with prolonged stress develop IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), ulcers and immuno-suppressive disorders.

Also consider that these stresses cause the release of additional cortisol. Cortisol has received a great deal of attention lately because it forces the body to retain fat. Yes, emotional stress actually makes you fatter! So so the extra Twinkies we eat as comfort food. Prolonged stress releases cortisol to add a thicker layer of protection around the body. It also ensures that there will be enough fat storage to draw upon during stressful, lean times.

How do we cope with stress?

This is such an individual question. Each of us has unique ways of dealing with stress. There are scientifically proven activities that help, however. These cause measurable increases in the stress-relieving hormone serratonin (which actually reduces cortisol). They are no great mystery and here they are: Rest, sleep, exercise, sex, meditation, proper nutrition (as Cayce suggested - promoting alkalinity), osteopathic adjustments, laughter, drinking water, music, sunshine, massage, and anything that elevates your mood.

I am reminded of what one of my college professors asked me about stress as I was preparing to take a medical board: "If emotional stress is a controllable element in your life and it serves no productive purpose, only to destroy tissue and interfere in your personal life, then why would a person ever allow it?" This may sound convenient but it has stayed with me and I am thankful every day for having heard those words.

Remember to make choices that support your highest intentions and resonate with you. Choose foods and activities that allow for your greatest energy and promote the most positive mental and spiritual attitude.

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