Table of Contents
Conventional Stress Tests
When you think about a stress test, you probably envision a trip to the doctor, being hooked up with a bunch of wires, a blood pressure cuff, and an insane speed and incline on a treadmill.
If you are lucky, you don’t have a heart attack during the test or walking across the parking lot to your car! You passed!
You can also have a nuclear stress test that doesn’t involve the physical stress of the treadmill but is chemically induced. Either way, these are common stress tests conducted by medical professionals.
Questionnaires are also used. However, attempting to assess how stressed you are through a variety of questions could be misleading and inaccurate. As you may or may not realize, you tend to adapt to your stressors and simply forget on a conscious level what may be actually stressing you or to what degree.
A symptomatic stress test is also common. As for symptoms, one could easily surmise that almost all symptoms, in one way or another, could be associated with stress. For example, one person may suffer a neck ache while another may manifest a stress-induced heart attack!
Conscious and subconscious stress
Conscious stress is somewhat simpler to recognize or identify. Somewhat is the operative word. One would think that you should be consciously aware of what is stressful and easily identifiable. This is not true in many instances. Many of our clients tell me they are the most carefree people and stress is minimal at most. However, with a few questions during a consultation, they begin revealing a list of widely known and well-documented major stressors.
The point is your mind can hide or recontextualize your thoughts or emotions to the point you actually don’t recognize what is really going on at the conscious level.
You may not realize that the subconscious mind is immensely powerful and plays major roles that affect your health! My intention at this point is to increase your awareness of subconscious stress with a few excerpts and references to explore and to better recognize the potential existence and effects.
Subconscious Anxiety: Can You Have Anxiety and Not Know It? Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, anxiety could still be affecting your life and well-being. What is subconscious anxiety?
Subconscious anxiety is a type of anxiety that exists without your being fully aware of it. It often manifests as a persistent feeling of nervousness and discomfort, which isn’t connected to anything specific or identifiable. You may feel “on edge” for no particular reason and may experience physical symptoms of anxiety such as tightness or pain in your chest, shortness of breath, muscle tension, and headaches.
Subconscious anxiety can also make it hard for you to truly relax, even when you have nothing particular to do or worry about. Source: https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/is-your-subconscious-making-you-anxious#what-is-it
Our Unconscious and Conscious Minds Do Battle Daily, Which force of the mind guides your life? When Trauma Gets Stuck in the Body, how do we heal?
The reason why we don’t always think or behave in ways that are logical or in our best interests (e.g., overeating, substance abuse) is that our minds have two parts that drive us and they often work at cross purposes: unconscious and conscious. In other words, our unconscious and conscious minds are in a constant battle for dominion over all aspects of our functioning. Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/202202/our-unconscious-and-conscious-minds-do-battle-daily
These results provide preliminary evidence that physiological stress recovery is associated with IA. This is in line with the theory that unconscious stress is responsible for a-possibly considerable-part of unhealthy prolonged stress-related physiological activity.Brosschot JF, Geurts SA, Kruizinga I, Radstaak M, Verkuil B, Quirin M, Kompier MA. Does unconscious stress play a role in prolonged cardiovascular stress recovery? Stress Health. 2014 Aug;30(3):179-87. doi: 10.1002/smi.2590. PMID: 25100269. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25100269/
Subconscious stress may become detrimental toward one’s health and because it may be extremely difficult to recognize, we always recommend working with a qualified health professional.
Note: Having experienced a panic attack (thankfully only 1) while completely relaxed (or so I thought) clearly revealed the enormous power of the subconscious mind powered by subconscious stress. Unbelievable!
Physical vs mental stress
Simply put, the adrenal response is the same whether you experience physical or mental stress (real or perceived). As seen in stress nutrition, either type of stress (physical or mental) places demands on your biochemistry and contributes to many nutrient excesses and deficiencies throughout your biochemistry.
Stress evokes an individual response.
Because you respond differently to different stressors (General Adaptation Syndrome – the nonspecific response of the body to any demand) you may not realize what is happening on the inside. However, your nutritional biochemistry changes during the various stages of stress whether you realize it or not.
Stress evokes a neuroendocrine response normally to the degree of the stressor. Typically, the sympathetic nervous system becomes dominant and signals glands associated with the sympathetic nervous system to produce hormones for the stress response.
The adrenal glands produce many stress hormones. However, the adrenal glands (adrenal cortex) also control your sodium and potassium levels revealed on your hair analysis. Sodium and potassium levels help indicate your current stage of stress that you may not even recognize.
There are many elements as well as other essential nutrients that become affected by the stress response. Your individual response depends on many factors of types of stress, duration, current biochemistry, and so on.
A Stress Test using a nutritional analysis?
Hair tissue mineral analysis is an excellent tool to evaluate several minerals associated with stress and as such, becomes a valuable nutritional stress test. A hair tissue mineral analysis, when used as a stress test or indicator, can reveal a wealth of information about your stage of stress.
As just seen, the adrenal response effects the sodium and potassium levels which are two elements on our analysis. Sodium and potassium are important nutrients involved in the nutrient transport systems.
Also revealed in Stress and Nutrition, each stage of stress places specific demands on several essential mineral levels. Throughout each stage of stress and depending on duration, minerals as well as other essential nutrients become more imbalanced leading to nutrient excesses and deficiencies.
The analysis also reveals the presence of several toxic elements. The presence of toxic elements are burdensome toward and interfere with the metabolic functions of nutritional elements. As such, toxic elements may contribute toward any stress response due to nutrient interrelationships.
Are you curious about your current level of stress?
As just seen on this page, stress can be very deceiving, and you may not recognize how stressed you are or the biochemical changes that are occurring.
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Additional pages you may find interesting:
- Alarm Stage of Stress
- Resistance Stage of Stress
- Chronic Resistance Stage of Stress
- Exhaustion Stage of Stress
- Recovery Stage of Stress
- Stress Management
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