The Dominoe Effect: how stress links to Chronic Fatigue

Dominoe Effect

The Dominoe Effect

The Dominoe Effect begins with a trigger.  This can be anything that causes our body to react and switch on our fight, flight or freeze response.  The trigger can be anything that causes a rise in our stress and anxiety levels.  They vary enormously from person to person.  A trigger doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic situation.  In fact, it’s more likely to be lower level stressful situations or anxious moments that are triggered repeatedly throughout the day.

When we encounter a stressful situation, our adrenal glands get to work producing adrenaline.  This hormone that rushes around our body preparing us to do something, usually to fight, flee, or freeze.

Adrenaline does this by setting off a series of chemical reactions (this is the Dominoe Effect) that put our bodies on red alert.  Adrenaline prepares us to do whatever is necessary to deal with the situation.  This state of readiness means that our metabolic rate is increased so that we have more energy to allow us to react.  Our heart rate increases to move our blood around our bodies quickly, our digestion process is slowed right down as is our immune system function.  Neither of these processes are a priority when dealing with an emergency.

The evolution of our stress triggers

This red alert system was designed to deal immediately with a threat.  If you think of this in “caveman” terms, a threat may have been coming across a sabre toothed tiger and needing to fight it, run away from it or play dead until the tiger goes away!

Dominoe EffectThe action, and outcome, take place quickly – you either escape, are eaten or are left alone!  Whichever way it pans out, the emergency is over in a short space of time.  If you escaped, or played dead really well, then your body has the chance to calm down.  The adrenaline levels drop off and your body returns to normal function.  The drop in adrenaline allows your digestive and immune systems to switch back on.  Theses systems are now a priority as we need replace the energy used up during the emergency, and maybe to help deal with injuries.  (If you were eaten, well, let’s leave that thought right there…..

Zooming forward to modern day life, we don’t tend to encounter too many tigers.  We do encounter situations where the stress response is very similar i.e. our chemical reaction to a situation follows the same path, with adrenaline whizzing around our system.  Problem is, we don’t usually have the opportunity to release that adrenaline (fight, flee or freeze) and then have the opportunity for our systems to return to normal functions.

Adrenal gland function

If our adrenal system is constantly being triggered throughout the day, our bodies are at red alert more often than they are in “normal” mode…..and then we find ourselves in The Dominoe Effect.

Dominoe Effect and triggers
Tigger and cycle of events

The ability of the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland to keep up with the “red alert” demands become compromised.  They are simply working too hard.  In fact, if they spend too much time working and not enough time resting, it can lead to adrenal  and thyroid exhaustion.

Overactivity in the thyroid gland impacts on our cognitive function, meaning that our ability to think is affected.  “Fibro fog” is a good example of this where we struggle to think of the right word, put a name to a face or think in a clear manner.

The impact of stress on the digestive tract

Our digestion is constantly being given a “shut down” instruction so it is unable to function properly.  This is k for a short period of time, we are designed to cope with this.  Over the longer term, all sorts of complications emerge relating to Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, constipation, diarrhoea, leaky gut syndrome etc. etc.

A significant portion of our immune system is located in the gut.  When our digestion is impaired, there is an immediate knock on to how well our immune system can function.  This is especially true if the necessary nutrients are not being provided.  This lack of nutrients makes the job of tackling inflammation and infections even more tricky.  Ultimately it means that we are more prone to infections and take longer to heal.

Sleep issues become more pronounced.  This is because our bodies are on red alert.  Chemically, our bodies are wired for action, not sleep.  The balance of adrenaline and cortisol (our sleep hormone) are all out of sync.  Our heads might be thinking it’s bedtime, but our bodies are just not in the same place!

…and the end result is…

Our system becomes so discombobulated that our ability to effectively regulate our blood sugar levels is compromised.  We experience sugar highs, where we have lots of energy and are running around like busy, busy bees, and sugar lows, when we need to hibernate because we have burnt through all of our energy reserves!  Bobbing up and down between one extreme state and another is very hard work for our bodies and requires a huge amount of energy to manage – using up even more of our precious energy supplies.

Another impact of the general chemical chaos that long terms stress causes is the potential for high toxin overlead.  It’s another symptom of our body just not being able to function properly.  It can lead to all sorts of complications and imbalances.  The ripples outward grow more significant and poor methylation can be a factor.  Methylation is a chemical process that occurs everywhere within our bodies.  It’s one of the basic chemical processes that enable us to function, so anything that interferes with it has a profound impact on our bodies.

And finally, as if all of the above weren’t enough, we find ourselves in a scenario where at their most basic level, our cells cannot function correctly to produce the energy required to keep us going and we end up with poor mitochondrial output.  Mitochondria are the battery packs within our cells that make and store energy.

All in all, it’s a sad and depressing cycle of reactions….but it all starts with a trigger.

The good news is that if you get in front of those triggers, and either prevent or reduce them, you have the opportunity to interrupt the viscious cycle.  You can eliminate or at least modify the fight, flight or freeze response and break the Domino Effect.

Do you have the power?

You know that old adage about “information is Power”?  Here is a perfect example of how you can use information to have a powerful effect on your health and wellbeing.  By knowing how the Dominoe Effect works, you can take steps to interrupt it.

I love it!!!  Rather than being out of control and under the influence of things you don’t understand, put yourself in control.  It’s an amazing position to be in.

Find your triggers

Change your responses,

Feel the benefits of being in control

It is 100% possible to recover from ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS– you need information, a plan and support to get you there.

This is how I work with clients to help them overcome ME, Fibromyalgia and CFS.

If you want to know more….get in touch!  You can

  • email me  Suzanne
  • contact me via my website Reconnecting You
  • speak to me on 07973 305093 or
  • you can message me on Facebook at ReconnectingYou
The Chrysalis Effect
The Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Programme

For more information about The Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Programme click here