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About Stress

Stress is part of the universal human experience.

–Robert Scaer, Neurologist and Author of The Body Bears the Burden

No matter who we are and where we come from, we all experience stress in a variety of ways. In fact, stress is such a part of the fabric of our daily lives that we are often blind to the impacts it has on our health and wellbeing. But like it or not, our bodies and nervous systems take a beating everyday.

Whether it is ongoing financial concerns, workplace duress, relationship struggles, the overwhelm of being a working parent trying to meet the needs of your family, or the toxicity of negotiating micro and macro experiences of systemic oppression, the strain of modern life can be constant and insidious. Add to that the growing recognition of the impact early childhood adversity has on overall health and wellness, and the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) in Western culture, and we have a certain recipe for nervous system imbalances and overwhelm.

The problem is that our bodies and our nervous systems were designed to manage occasional stressors and bring them to swift resolution. Instead we are living in a deluge of chronic, toxic stress often for decades at a time.

There are many ways that habituated and prolonged stress can disrupt our bodies’ balance. Stress is predominantly a physiological phenomenon. Our bodies respond to any stressor by triggering changes in the musculoskeletal system. Have you ever noticed that when you are exposed to a loud noise or a startling experience, your body flexes in on itself? Or perhaps you have had the experience during the course of a busy day sitting in front of your computer and noticing that your shoulders are curled forward and your chest caved in. Our bodies have a natural reflex to protect themselves by moving into flexion whenever they feel the effects of stress or any perceived threat. This is the body’s way of protecting its underbelly, the vulnerable area of the abdomen where our vital organs are housed.

Besides musculoskeletal changes, stress creates changes in the autonomic nervous system as well as in the hormonal system (through the release of adrenaline and cortisol). Over time, chronic stress disrupts the proper function of our body systems and leads to increased dysregulation of our nervous systems as well as sustained levels of cortisol in the blood. Some of the results of chronically elevated levels of cortisol include:

  • Elevated blood glucose and lipids

  • Elevated blood volume or hypertension

  • Decreased immune function

  • Disrupted digestion


But perhaps most damaging is that chronic stress can actually produce a sustained baseline of arousal or agitation in our nervous systems. When our baseline is normalized at this higher level of agitation, we have a narrower window of tolerance for life stressors. In other words, ongoing stress makes us less resilient to life and more prone to overwhelm, thus perpetuating an ongoing cycle of imbalance and of suffering physically, mentally and emotionally.



Fortunately, there are many ways that we can work with our bodies and minds to counteract the impact of stress in our lives. Nervous System RESET is one way of  directly and effectively addressing the physiological impact of stress in our musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Just as our bodies have a biological reflex to protect themselves, they also have natural reflexes and pathways to rebalance and regulate themselves.  We just need to learn how to recognize and work with the innate intelligence of the body by stepping into a more conscious relationship or partnership with its responses.

For more information about Nervous System RESET guided programs as well as the self-paced, online courses, visit the Online Courses page.

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