Stress: Managing Stress and its Effects on Your Health
In today's busy world we are bombarded by all types of stresses which can affect our health if not managed well. Stress, improperly managed, is by far the number one cause of illness and disease today. Knowing this, we must take an active role in managing stress in our lives. Stress can be defined as a physical, emotional or chemical reaction to change. It can be either positive or negative, but ultimately stress will move you towards some sort of change in your life, whether that change is positive or negative.
Positive stress (also known as eustress) is usually a short-term type of stress. It can help you to be productive, and keep you alert and efficient in your daily tasks. A great example of this is a deadline for a project at work.
Negative stress, or distress, is the type of stress that occurs too often or is stress that is not managed properly. It will ultimately affect your overall quality of mental and physical health.
Any type of stress can further be broken down into 1 of 3 categories. These categories are emotional / psychological stress, physical stress, and even chemical stress. Chiropractors often refer to the 3 types of stresses as “Thoughts, Traumas, and Toxins.”
Examples of each type stress include:
- Thoughts (Emotional / Psychological Stress): Work, home, family or financial issues
- Traumas (Physical Stress): Lack of exercise, posture while working, lifting or sitting, sleeping in an improper position, injuries (either blunt macro traumas or repetitive micro traumas)
- Toxins (Chemical Stress): What we put into or on our bodies, processed foods, drugs/medications, alcohol and environmental toxins
Stress can have many negative effects on our bodies. Increased blood pressure, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia/poor sleep and even a slow metabolism are all effects of stress that our patients report to us on a daily basis. Many people think that stress is something we are victim to and have no control over- This is far from the truth! You are more in control of the effects of stress on your bodies than you even know! Every choice you make every day will either help you face and overcome stress or will lead you on the path to disease or illness.
Major symptoms caused by stress
- High blood pressure
- Musculoskeletal disorders (stiff neck, achy joints, lower back pain)
- Digestive disorders (ulcers, heartburn, reflux, irritable bowel)
- Allergies and sinus issues
- Immune system issues
- Depression and anxiety
Below is a list of recommendations from the doctors at Kempsville Chiropractic of what you must do to manage stress in your life.
- Exercise Regularly:
There are so many benefits to exercise and we cannot possibly list them all. Regular exercise is essential in training your body for physical types of stress and preventing injuries. Additively, exercise will improve brain function. People who exercise in the morning perform more optimally in their jobs and tend to have better relationships with friends and family members. They have more energy throughout the day to complete tasks.
- Eat Properly:
Cut out the junk from your diet! Stick to foods that are not processed, i.e. lean grass fed meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. Stay away from sodas — even diet sodas! Drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day (for a 160 pound person = 80 ounces of water per day). Also see our article on Nutrition to Maximize Your Health.
- Develop a Positive Attitude:
Zig Ziglar once said, “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude in life.” In 2001, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that their research established a link between a more optimistic outlook on life and a lower risk of heart disease in men as they get older. A Women’s Health Initiative Study, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, associated a reduction in coronary heart disease in post-menopausal women with a positive mental attitude. As chiropractors, we know that our patients who have the best attitudes get faster results with their care. Having a great attitude and being grateful for what we do have instead of focusing on the negatives in our lives is extremely important in reducing stress and anxiety in our lives.
- Laugh Your Troubles Away:
While laughter may not be an actual medicine, it does have the ability to help reduce anxiety and stress while giving you a new perspective on your troubles. Laughter has the ability to enhance your mood, boost your immune system, promote your creativity, lower your blood pressure, increase pain tolerance, and potentially improve health care treatment for many problems, including diseases such as HIV and cancer. It is also believed that humor is linked to happiness, which in turn has been associated with a higher self-esteem, being more outgoing, and feeling more in control of your life.
- Relax Your Mind:
For thousands of years, many have practiced various forms of meditation to relax and even find relief from pain. Today’s stressful lifestyles are bringing meditation back into popularity. Meditation allows us to slow down for a moment, focus our thoughts and actions, and put stress and anxiety aside. Meditation can be as simple as concentrating on the spiritual, prayer, focusing your breath, or even be combined with movement as in Tai Chi and various forms of yoga. Because meditation can potentially benefit the immune system by lowering your stress, it may help cancer patients and others enhance their quality of life.
Another form of meditation is called “guided imagery,” which involves visualizing positive pictures as prompted by an audio recording, is showing promise in pain reduction and stress relief. Guided imagery is based on the idea that your mind can affect your body, and by focusing on positive images your mind can help your body heal.
- Get a Massage:
Much has been written about the therapeutic benefits of massage. Massage can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce depression, improve mood and behavior, and lead to better sleep and reduced pain. Kempsville Chiropractic has a team of massage therapists that work with us toward the goal of getting your spine and nervous system functioning optimally.
- Get Adjusted and Listen to Your Chiropractor’s Advice:
As chiropractors, our main focus is to remove interference to the nervous system’s function. When you receive a chiropractic adjustment this increases nerve flow (afferentation) into your the emotion center of your brain, called the limbic system, which is responsible for regulating your ability to be happy. Of course removing subluxations or misalignments in the spine is extremely important to maximize nerve flow to every organ, tissue and muscle in your body. We are also very passionate about educating our patients on how to make wise choices in their lives every day. Every choice that we make either leads us closer to a stressful life or into a healthy lifestyle that’s free of disease.
Benefits of Managing Stress
- You will have a stronger immune system for fighting disease
- You will have a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses
- You will have improved relationships at work and at home
- You will reduce burnout in both your work and personal life
- You will experience increased productivity and awareness by increasing blood flow and oxygen to critical areas of your brain!
Stress and Chiropractic Care
Stress can be a source of many physical and mental problems. As chiropractors, stress is one of the most common causes of subluxations (misalignments) in the spine that we treat on a daily basis.
Stress is often carried as tension in the back and neck areas. This constant strain will actually cause your spine to become misaligned, which can lead to many other problems. When your spine has subluxations it negatively affects the way your central nervous system responds to your body, and weakens your immune system.
In addition to the list of recommended lifestyle changes to deal with stress, listed in the article at the right, it is important to meet with your chiropractor when you are trying to manage your stress. By the time you feel your stress needs to be better managed, subluxations may have already occurred in your spine. Arranging an appointment with your chiropractor will allow him or her to properly assess your spine, gently adjust any subluxations or misalignments, and help you reduce your stress.
Many people are experiencing stress in their lives and need to find constructive ways to reduce and manage their stress before their health is negatively effected. Call Kempsville Chiropractic at 757.467.5258 to arrange an appointment with one of our doctors. Let us help you find ways to reduce your stress. If any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, please recommend this article to them.
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
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