We all know that prolonged stress is bad for a person’s overall health, not just one’s mental health. We also know that stress can lead some people to substance abuse and addictions, which can perpetuate the cycle of mental illness. What’s little recognized though, is that negativity for some people is just as addictive as alcohol and drugs, and keep the body in a constant state of fabricated readiness that depletes energy levels and a person’s normal ability to deal with stress.
The Body’s Reaction to Stress
It doesn’t matter if the body is facing a major or minor crisis, physiologically, the body works to protect itself by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, relaxing the air channels in the lungs, releasing sugar into the blood for energy, dilating the pupils to let more light into the eye, and slowing digestion so that more blood flows to the muscles, heart, etc.
If the stress remains unresolved, the body’s pituitary and adrenal system – which provides the body with energy for dealing with stress – can continue to produce steroids which can interfere with the body’s immune response, opening the way for infections. If additional stress from other sources comes along, then the body might not have the resources to effectively carry the weight of it.
The body’s systems aren’t made to run continuously and eventually the body will not be able to keep up with demand.
Negativity actually maintains or adds to stress levels, except the stress isn’t necessarily real or physical. Negative thinking about ourselves, others and situations keeps the body functioning as if real, life-threatening stressors are attacking it and the pituitary and adrenal systems running.
Negativity addiction is defined as “a physical and psychological need for the habit-forming stress chemicals which enter one’s bloodstream as a result of habitually thinking negative thoughts/feelings.