• The Three Stages of Stress

    3 Stages of Stress

    Did you know that stress can be both positive and negative? Remember when you bought your first home and you felt a nervous excitement during the whole process? Or the first day on a job? All of these new opportunities came with a little bit of stress but the overall excitement quenched the anxiety from getting too out of control.

    Unfortunately, when the new and exciting job led to tons of stress related anxiety that just never seemed to end, your body is responding to negative stress. Negative stress is when our body goes into fight or flight responses. Negative stress can save your life if you find yourself going to take the trash out and you find an alligator hanging out by your trash can. However, experiencing a series of negative stresses that are work related take a toll on you both mentally and physically.

    In this article, I want to explain how your body physically responds to stress.

    Stage One

    The Alarm Stage

    When you first experience stress, your body immediately goes into panic mode and starts to produce adrenalin related hormones. All areas of your body begin to work together to give you the tools you need to safely get away from the alligator lurking in the distance.

    You will automatically feel an increase in:

    • Pulse
    • Blood Pressure
    • Blood Sugar
    • Blood Fats
    • Respiration
    • Sweating
    • Pupil Dilation

    All of the above combined is also known as panic.

    Stage Two

    The Adaptive / Resistance Stage

    After the alarm stage, your body can naturally work to begin to calm down and reach a stable state of calmness. If work or relationship related negative stress happens regularly, it becomes difficult for your body to stabilize. When triggered too often your body will stay in the fight or flight response. The continual release of adrenaline-related hormones can wear your body down over time.

    Mood issues:

    • Anger
    • Depression
    • Lack of Energy
    • Irregular Sleeping Patterns

    Heart problems:

    • Increased Blood Pressure
    • Increased Heart Rates
    • High Cholesterol
    • Increase Risk of Heart Attack


    • Decreased your ability to recover from illness
    • More susceptible to illness
    • Weaken the immune system

    Gut Health:

    • Experience Stomach Cramps
    • Painful Reflux
    • Nausea


    • Increases Fat Storage
    • Binge Eat
    • Develop negative eating patterns
    • Cravings
    • Make Poor Nutritional Decisions


    • Loss of Libido
    • Lower Sperm Count for Men
    • Absent or Irregular Menstrual Cycles for Women


    • Aches and Pains in Muscles and Joints
    • Lowers Bone Density

    Stage 3

    The Exhaustion Stage

    Operating in a constant fight or flight response will lead to severe exhaustion. If you are constantly being chased by an alligator, eventually your body is going to give out. One of the things that I tell people when we first start working together is to get some sleep. You cannot begin to change your habits when you come from a place of exhaustion. The first thing you have to do is give in to the exhaustion, stop pushing yourself and get some rest.

    You Can’t Fight Burnout. Burnout Will Always Win.

    I like to recommend taking an at-home retreat. At-home retreats help guide you through taking a few moments out of your day that lets you to reflect and get to a relaxed state of mind. I recommend trying Kate Theriot’s 3-day and 5-day retreats.

    Breaking the Cycle

    It’s time to learn how to break the cycle of getting stuck in fight or flight response. At some point, you have to take stock of your primary foods that consist of career, spirituality, relationships and physical activity. One or more of these areas is out of balance. It’s impossible to reach the relaxation response without getting rid of your chronic stress.

    Women tend to put too much pressure on ourselves to maintain this dream of work, life and balance. There are a few things you need to acknowledge:

    • Not everything is a priority
    • It’s okay to delegate
    • It’s okay if it doesn’t get done right now
    • Create peaceful environments instead of stressful environments
    • Plan a realistic task list

    I understand the cycles of stress because I lived with them for many years. The desire to live a more meaningful and less hectic life took me on a journey that led to me becoming an entrepreneur and then an integrative health coach. Now I have the privilege to share my journey with all of you.

    Sign up for my New Years, New You program.

    New Year New You

    Contact me for more information.

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