Unless you’ve been living in a cave, most everyone is experiencing more stress in today world.
With all the uncertainly around Covid 19, job loss, closed businesses and schools. The looming question is: when is this going to end? We are also dealing with issues of racial inequality that has lead to riots and protests. Putting these issues on top of everyday life, it’s hard not to be anxious in the world today!
In January before all this began 1 in 5 Americans were diagnosed with anxiety and now it is certainly an even bigger concern. According to recently released data from the Census Bureau, 1 in 3 of Americans now show signs of clinical depression or anxiety, this is the result of chronic stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is a built in, age old survival response. Its purpose is to give us extra strength to fight off danger.
When stress is controlled, it helps us perform our best. It can help us direct all of our energy towards a challenge.
Continued exposure to stress can be destructive if it is not controlled.
It can lead to mental and physical health problems such as:
• Muscular aches and pain
• High blood pressure
• Stroke or heart attack
Research is now suggesting that cancer and the common cold are related to stress as well.
How does stress work?
Stress works like this – When the brain detects that something is dangerous, either real or perceived, it triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response.
1. This begins in the amygdala then sends a signal to the hypothalamus.
2. This, in turn, sends a signal to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that causes the heart to pump faster and deliver oxygen to our muscles. You need this to run away or stay and fight.
3. Next is the release of cortisol that keeps the brain on high alert.
This is all great until it leads to chronic stress and begins to have deleterious effects on your brain and body.
For example if you do not allow down time from watching or reading the news, you may have a hard time sleeping or focusing. You may be crabbier or short tempered more than usual. You may be more ill more often or feeling more run down.
This is your body telling you to STOP! Or at least, slow down the stress. Because it’s likely having harmful effects on your heart, blood pressure and immune system.
What are symptoms of Stress?
When people are under chronic stress and it leads to anxiety, some of the symptoms may be:
• sensations of warmth in areas of your body
• heart palpitations
• rapid heartbeat
• tightness in the chest
• butterflies in the stomach
• trouble taking deep breath
• dry mouth
What can we do to eliminate stress from our lives?
The short answer of this is NOTHING. The goal is not to eliminate stress but to turn stress into something good.
Antony Robins is quoted as saying, “the purpose of pain, is to move into action. It is not to make us suffer.” This can be applied to stress. Without stress we would probably get bored or depressed, too much stress is overwhelming. We need to learn to manage stress and find a balance.
Things we can do to eliminate stress are:
-Being aware of things in your life that cause stress, good or bad.
-Try not to react too strongly to bad stress.
-Keep the perspective of not needing to please everyone.
-Physically breath deeper with your belly.
-Learn relaxation techniques like meditation and/or prayer.
-Exercise, at least 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes
-Sleep 8 hours per night.
-Eat right! Especially important!
-Add 4 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
-Foods to avoid when trying to manage stress are: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, cola drink, sweets and processed or fast food. These foods aggravate the stress response.
Of course, have your spine and nervous system checked regularly, by a chiropractor.
What Does it mean to have your nervous system checked?
• A chiropractor can check to see if your autonomic (stress) nervous system is in a state of Sympathetic tone or a good balance. The sympathetic nervous system is activated highly during times of stress or ‘fight or flight’ response. This system regulates your heartbeat, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, nervousness, and pupil dilation. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people function on a daily basis. (in chronic stress) The parasympathetic system opposes the sympathetic nervous system, in that it slows everything down. It regulates digestion and allows healing to take place.
Chronic stress will cause the autonomic nervous system to be out of balance. Generally in a state of sympathetic nervous system dominance. The body is not balanced between sympathetic and parasympathetic functioning.
• Chronic stress will lead to headaches, nervousness, depression, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, neck and or back pain, digestion issues, skin problems, muscle twitching, resistance to colds, flu and inability to sleep.
What do chiropractic adjustments have to do with handling stress?
In short , chiropractic adjustments improve the way the body performs in its environment.
Chiropractic is proven to lower the sympathetic tone more to normal and balance. In other words, our bodies are better able to adapt and respond to a wider array of life stresses and situations without losing that balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic that is required to maintain health.
In summary , your body will run smoother and handle more if is isn’t under stress from within. Bones out of alignment (subluxations) can cause an inability of the nervous system to cope with stressors outside the body.
It’s a great time to finally make that move and make an appointment!
Wishing you optimal health and wellness,