If someone asked you to explain to them what stress was, could you do it?
Most of us have an idea of what stresses us, but the same can’t be said for all people. Some people are totally comfortable in traffic, whereas others have an anxiety attack just thinking about it. Some people love time with their family, whereas others don’t want to go anywhere near theirs. Some can eat any kind of food without outward negative effects (inward is another story for another time), whereas others have multiple food intolerances. This is what makes stress so difficult to describe, it is as unique as your fingerprints.
What is common in each of us is the effects that stress has on our bodies. Stress changes the way that your brain works. It increases certain hormonal levels while decreasing others. It leads to muscle tightness. We talked about this in a little more depth in the last blog.
What I want to talk about today is handling stress more appropriately. What are you doing to minimize the effects that stress has on your body?
Here are my favorite things to do for stress:
Get Adjusted: You may think that I am biased on this, and you are right to an extent, but I am also educated on why getting adjusted is so important. Each time we are put under stress, or bodies react to that stress. If the body is not reacting appropriately, we have to reset the systems. That’s what the chiropractic adjustment does. It is like flipping the breaker to reset your electrical system.
Do a Stress Reduction Therapy: I know you’re sitting there thinking “What the heck is Stress Reduction Therapy?”. The Stress Reduction Therapy system is a combination of lights, sounds and guided meditation that puts you into a deep relaxation. This is an avenue I use multiple times a week to ensure that I am taking the time to recharge my batteries.
Exercise: Most of us know that exercise is a stress reliever, some of us just don’t make the time to do it. Exercise changes a lot of the systems in your body, notably your breathing. That change in breathing leads to a direct stimulation of the healing side of your nervous system. Of course you also get the added benefit of using some of that nervous energy, getting some detoxification of the body (decreasing stressors) and improving blood flow. Don’t think you have to run a marathon for this to be effective. Yoga and even relaxed deep breathing can give you a lot of the same benefits without the pounding of more intense forms of exercise.
Taking a nap: Unfortunately most people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, and being in bed for the appropriate amount of time doesn’t count unless you are actually sleeping. Any time that you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are going to stimulate the survival side of your nervous system to help you power through the day. Unfortunately, utilization of this side of the nervous system for longer periods of time (more than 1 day) leads to a breakdown in your body. Taking a nap is among the best ways to break that stress cycle and improve your body’s performance.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some of the tools that I use on a regular basis to reset my body to work better. As I mentioned stress changes the way your brain and body work. If you don’t believe me, ask someone who is under a lot of stress to remember something for a day. They struggle with it because their systems aren’t functioning properly. Look at someone who is under an intense amount of stress for longer periods of time. You can see hair loss, graying of the hair, wrinkles in the skin, autoimmune diseases, weight loss or gain and a multitude of other signs and symptoms.
Stress is always going to be there. Yours is going to be unique to you.
What is going to be the same for you and everyone else is how you optimize your body to better deal with those stressors.
Get adjusted, get some exercise and take a nap. I promise you will feel better, be more productive and enjoy life more.