The American Medical Association has recognised that stress is the cause of more than 60% of all human illnesses including headaches, dizziness, anxiety, anger or panic disorders, increased heart rates, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, weight gain and obesity, muscle tension, immune system dysfunction, ulcers, nervousness and more.
But what exactly is stress?
Stress is your bodies nervous system response to a perceived threat, whether that be a mugger, an attack by a lion, sitting your Leaving Cert or being interviewed for a new job. Your nervous system reacts the same way.
Stress causes your heart to beat faster, your blood pressure and breathing rate to increase, and your muscles to tense, all to prepare your body for fight or flight. When you interpret a situation as stressful, whether it is or not, your brain triggers this reaction by sending a signal through your spinal cord and nervous system to every single cell of your body.
Here are our 6 tips to help avoid and relieve stress.
1) Sleep – Keep your night time rituals the same every evening, on average the human body needs eight hours of sleep a night. See our blog on sleep for tips to help. http://clanechiropractic.ie/5-ways-better-sleep-caveman-style/
2) De-stressing – Schedule de-loading (destressing) times into your diary on a daily, weekly and annual basis. An annual holiday, a weekly yoga class or daily meditation or exercise. It’s a great idea to have a short de-loading strategy you can call on at any time, I like to go out for a walk, Dr Ellen likes to listen to music and dance like no one is watching.
Mindfulness meditation is becoming very popular and has shown to reduce stress. A good book we would recommend is Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
3) Laugh – Surrounding yourself with the right people will keep you on the right track. Believe it or not but there’s a lot of truth to the old saying “laughter is the best medicine”—it’s a proven fact that laughter lowers stress hormones.
4) Eat a balanced diet and avoid sugar– Eating food with low nutritional value leaves you vulnerable to stress. Sugar has little nutritional value and puts stress on the body. Spend some time doing meal/menu plans and shop accordingly. Prepping your food in advance will ensure you’re not reaching for the less nutritional quick fixes. Make sure you are drinking enough water.
5) Exercise daily – Your body is designed to move. Exercise is great for both your physical and mental health, it is a great way to reduce stress through the release of mood enhancing endorphins. Borrow ‘Spark’ by Dr John Ratey from our patient library for more amazing insight on how exercise effects the brain.
6) Get your spine checked– Subluxations in the spine can induce stress hormone release which stimulates a stress response. If you’re not feeling your best, contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.
If you would like to learn more about the mechanics of stress and appropriate proactive steps to combat it join us for our December Body Signals workshop.