Stress affects us all in one way or another. There’s no escaping it…Sorry! The important thing to understand is that not all stress is bad stress. The kind of stress that is good for us is the sort that occurs when we are facing imminent danger. In this case, the age-old fight or flight response kicks in. Just as when cavemen used to run away from hungry meat-eating saber tooth tigers, the fight or flight response releases a surge of adrenaline into our system. This results in our heart beating faster, our muscles tensing, and our breath coming in short, rapid bursts. All of this is designed to help us escape as fast as possible or to fight the danger facing us.
It is when stress becomes chronic and long-term that it can become detrimental to our health. Some signs of chronic, long-term stress include:
Increased irritability or irritation experienced on a daily basis
Feelings of anger or frustration
Insomnia or loss of appetite
Loss of sex drive
Skin conditions: like eczema and psoriasis
We do not yet understand why long-term stress affects us this way both physically and emotionally. What we can do is address the causes of stress so that we reduce or eliminate them from our lives.
One very simple yet effective way to reduce the way stress affects us in our lives is to practice deep breathing. Take a deep breathe into your abdomen instead of into your chest. This helps to calm you immediately so that you can cope with a situation that may normally cause a great deal of stress.
Changing our perspective on how we view situations can also help tremendously with our stress and how we let it affect us. When we allow outside circumstances to dictate our inside world it causes us to overreact to certain triggers.Instead give this a whirl: STOP, CHALLENGE, CHOOSE.
STOP- before you respond in anger or frustration stop take a deep breathe.
CHALLENGE-ask yourself “is this reaction going to empower me or add more stress?”
CHOOSE- choose the empowering one.
The more you practice this, the more you will train yourself to respond differently to situations and not sweat the small stuff. In other words it will result in positive feedback that boosts self-esteem and further reduces long-term stress.
There are also a number of small lifestyle changes that we can easily make that will have an immediate impact on our levels of stress. By simply including a daily half-hour walk in our lives it has been shown that we can boost our overall emotional and physical health. The opportunity to get away from daily irritations and problems and simply enjoy and experience the benefits of nature is, in itself, enormously beneficial. In addition, the cardiovascular benefits of daily exercise undertaken at a reasonable pace help to counteract the detrimental effects of raised blood pressure, increased heart rate and muscular tension that so often accompany long-term stress.
Some other lifestyle changes to consider would be undergoing a Chiropractic care for stress relief. As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, when we are under chronic stress it can manifest physically in our bodies with symptoms like: Headaches, Neck and shoulder pain, and back pain. Chiropractic care can help relieve the tension that gets built up from ongoing stress. A Chiropractor can detect and address the areas of tension and relieve those areas that stress is affecting. They do so in various ways using different techniques and modalities.
If you are suffering with any of these symptoms of stress then I strongly recommend getting an evaluation to see if Chiropractic care can help you kick it to the curb!
It is vital to understand that, unless long-term stress is identified and eliminated, its negative effects will build up over time. This, in turn, leads to a cumulative negative effect on our health and well-being. Stress is not some 21st-century badge of honor. It is a real disease and should be treated as such. If you are suffering from long-term stress it is time to take an objective look at your lifestyle to work out what needs to change.
Hope these tips help you start on your path to stress less!
To schedule an appointment for a Chiropractic evaluation Call (201) 746- 6577.