International Ethiopian Women's Organization (IEWO

Health Matters and Wellness

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Stress and Health Click Here

Stress and Health
Even though stress appears to be a commonly known and well-studied subject matter and is an inevitable daily experience, its true meaning and implication on the physiology, psychology and spiritual functioning of the human body and community is yet to be explored and fully understood. Stress is an integral aspect of the human nature, as emotions, motives and so on are. Stress is in fact an essential biological function utilized for survival, but unmanaged and maladaptive stress can have adverse effect, it can damage and totally destroy ones’ life. Therefore how we manage and deal with stress is very important and determines the overall quality of ones’ life and wellness. 

The immune system is known to react to stress by becoming suppressed. When appropriate, this suppression of the immune system is the way in which the body combats immediate danger by generating the fight or flight response for a brief moment. Even though the flight or fight response is a good thing in the short term, when it’s repeatedly triggered, however, it creates some adverse health consequences; if the state of stress is maintained for a long time the more vulnerable the body becomes for diseases to occur.  When the stress-inducing events continue and chronic stress sets in, individuals’ vulnerability and susceptibility to infections and other illnesses by reducing resistances of the immune system also increases. As stressful events continue and persist the physical damage also become severe and dangers for life. Chronic stress produces bodily consequences that can trigger physical aliments ranging from headaches, sleeplessness, to metabolic disorders, such as weight gain/lose, cancer, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, heart problems, and immune system diseases.

The effect of stress on the body is not limited to the immune system in isolation, it also involves the entire system of the neuroendocrine-immune pathways mediated by the brain through the activities of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Stress, thus, directly and indirectly involves in the regulation of neurochemicals, which in turn affects the physical and psychological functioning of the individual and at times, groups collectively. The physiological aspect of stress is deeply connected within the neuroimmune and endocrine system. The brain reacts to the hormonal signals generated in response to stressful events and in turn produces neurochemicals, which affect the function of the entire body. Following the brains reaction to the hormonal signals, additional signals are send to shut down the functions of the internal organs and execs glucose is released and blood pressure is raising and so on. In such complex and integrated way stress, causes serious damage on the physical and mental health of people.

In other word stress involves the psychoneuroimmune system, which is a vital life- line system in the body. And when this important system is adversely affected and compromised, the integrity of the whole person that is the balance between and within the mind, body and soul functions, is as well, greatly distorted and compromised. Simply, it means that, stress becomes maladaptive and manifests itself as a host of mental and physical illnesses. It is important to note that as the disease processes associated with stress involves both physiological and psychological functioning, similarly, preventing, managing, modifying and neutralizing stressful events must involves holistic approaches, integrating body, mind and soul.


Please Visit the following sites:

Links to health websites of interest to women's wellnes 

FeMiNa  An excellent site with links on feminist issues generally. The health section has a number of interesting and unusual links.

Feminist Com Women’s Health  unannotated links on feminist health issues.

Fibroids  Clinical information

Fibroid News   Support site for women looking for information on fibroids.

National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome  Charity providing support for women experiencing PMS

New York Times Women’s Health  A good page of news and articles with a hundred carefully chosen links.

The North American Menopause Society  A non-profitmaking scientific organization dedicated to understanding the menopause.

The ObGyn Network  A superb and substantial site with information and links on all aspects of women’s health.

Ovarian Cancer  UK support group for ovarian cancer.

Well Mother classes and individual support for mothers,

Women’s Health Centre  A very large site with clear and useful information on a vast range of women’s health issues.

Copyright 2004 Network of Ethiopian Women (NEW) International