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A guided tour of your body during stress

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

We all know that stress doesn’t feel good, but did you know what effects it has on your individual organs?

Here is a tour of your body in the minutes after a stressful trigger…

SKIN: pales as blood diverted to vital organs.

HEART: begins to pound, sending blood around body carrying sugar (energy) and hormones (eg. adrenalin)

MUSCLES: tense in readiness for action.

LUNGS: air passage dilates, breathing becomes more intense to provide more oxygen to feed increase blood supply.

LIVER: glycogen is converted to blood sugar to give ‘short distance’ energy.

DIGESTION: processes shut down as blood is diverted elsewhere. Mouth goes dry to avoid adding extra fluids to stomach.

BLOOD: thickens to help it carry more oxygen, fight infection & stop bleeding.

SWEAT GLANDS: start up to cool the underlying and overheated muscles.

BLADDER & RECTUM: Muscles relax to release any excess load.

BRAIN: Executive function and solution processes are shut down in an effort to focus on survival of a threat

FINE MOTOR DEXTERITY: Diminishes – who needs to thread a needle when faced with a threat?!

These are all finely tuned responses, honed over many years of evolution.  However, we can train ourselves to combat the effects of stress in those situations where the response is disproportionate to the trigger (like an overdue bill, losing a customer, turning over an exam paper, even unexpected changes in our routine).

Mindfulness, breathing techniques, grounding, journaling, role-playing, mirroring, self-awareness, techniques to tweak your physiological response to stress – these are all tools taught by coaches day in and day out to the world’s top business executives to help them manage work-related stress.

Do you maintain your resilience?  If not, now is a good time to start.

One small change – that’s all it takes to set in motion a powerful sequence of resilience-building activities.

Until next week, make sure you thrive every day!



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