How often do you feel stressed? If the answer is all or most of the time then our chiropractor recommends that it may be time you reevaluated your situation and take some proactive steps to manage your stress.
If you are not aware, stress, can contribute to a number of illness including obesity, anxiety, depression and heart disease.
Many people are unaware of the toll stress is taking on their bodies and well being. However, if you consider what happens in our bodies when we are stressed you will see that undergoes physiological and psychological changes that are quite significant.
It’s important to remember that the stress response is meant to protect us in situation that are a threat are are perceived to be a threat. Our body is preparing us for ‘flight to fight’ in dangerous situations. When we believe we’re in this situation the stress response triggers reactions that are meant to make us more alert, improve our reaction times and shutdown bodily functions that a are not deemed necessary at this time. All reactions that help us in the short term crisis but not a state that our bodies are designed to be in long term!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the major changes that happen when we are stressed:
- Hormones Often referred to as ‘stress hormones) that include adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine are released that make us more alert, improve our reaction time and trigger additional physiological changes
- As a result of stress hormones being released our heart rate and blood pressure increases to prepare our body to act immediately.
- Breathing becomes rapid and shallow
- The liver will secrete glucose into the blood stream to give us a sudden burst of energy
- Regions of the brain will become more alert
- Muscles become tense as they become more ready for action
- Any function not deemed to be necessary for ‘flight or fight’ is deprioritised. These functions include our metabolism, our digestive process and our reproductive system.
All in all quite major changes.
It’s hardly surprising therefore that chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.
If you are under constant stress, there are techniques and actions you can take that will help alleviate the impact of stress. Here are a few techniques our chiropractor recommends:
- Get good quality sleep – this is a time for your body to repair and rebalance. Aim for 7.5 – 8.5 hours a night.
- Eat a healthy diet – Unhealthy foods often over-stimulate the body which worsens the effect of stress. Include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts and legumes in your diet.
- Use relaxation techniques – relax more with the right kinds of relaxation techniques e.g. yoga classes, tai chi or having a regular massage.
- Practice mindfulness – being in a mindful state will dramatically reduce your stress levels. There are lots of books and other material you can find to help you practice this state.
- Spend time with people you love – this may be with family or friends whatever works best for you.
- Take regular exercise – this is important for your overall health. However, taking exercise can help stress reduce levels as it combats many of the results of stress such as releasing endorphins, using up excess glucose created and reducing muscle tension.
Don’t let stress affect your health. Take some positive actions to counter its effects on you.