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Ways to manage stress


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We all suffer some level of stress. It has got the point where it is so common we consider it normal. In fact I don’t think many people would say that they live a completely stress free life. Let me start by saying this… stress is not a bad thing, it’s a completely natural process which activates our “fight/flight response” which we have used for millennia to help us deal with and potentially escape dangerous or harmful situations. In fact it’s been one of the keys to our survival on this planet. Just think you are walking around hunting and gathering when suddenly a bear jumps out of a bush and starts running towards you. Your body and brain have a quick decision to make, do I fight or run away. For the record, in this circumstance Dixon Health DO NOT recommend fight! Either is going to require as much of your energy as possible. That’s why we have cortisol. Cortisol is what makes your heart race after a rollercoaster. It is released by the adrenal glad and increases activity in all of the parts of the body, which are essential to that fight/flight response (the muscles, heart, lungs etc). In order to divert the most energy possible to those areas, the function of body systems that are not immediately needed is slowed. This includes the digestive and immune systems.

Now this slowing is all well and good for the 2-3 minutes it takes to run away from a bear or fight off an attacker. However when we put the body under chronic stress, it means a long term supressing of the function of these body systems. Think about how many times you have picked up a cold when you have been “run down”. And this is thought to be the cause of a number of chronic conditions, which we know can be affected by lifestyle factors. These include IBS, diabetes and high blood pressure among many others.

So, we know now what causes stress and that it can be seriously harmful. But fear not! There are a number of things you can do to take your stress levels- and therefore your health- into your own hands.

Kettlebell stress

Regular exercise is a highly effective way of reducing stress. And the main side effects are improved health and weight loss!

Get moving!

The first and arguably most important thing you should be doing to reduce your stress levels… you guessed it… exercise!! Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing your stress levels. It can reduce chemical stress through the release of endorphins, which are a natural opiate so give you a natural high. It also reduces physical stress; we are not designed to sit all day, and doing so increases the strain on our joints and muscles, causing them to become stiff and tight. Exercise improves the mobility of the joints and reduces tension in the muscles. As always it is important to do something you enjoy, and to start off slowly and build up to avoid injury.

 

Keep it regular

The body has various natural rhythms called circadian rhythms. This is often referred to as your body clock, and disruption to it can impair quality of sleep and upset other body systems such as the digestive system and hormonal system. Keeping a regular routine helps to keep your circadian rhythms in time. This includes regular sleep patterns; going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. It also pays to eat meals and exercise at roughly the same time each day (not together!). Circadian rhythms are also very sensitive to changes in exposure to daylight, which is why shift work can be so bad for your health. Taking an outdoor walk at lunchtime kills two birds with one stone as it also counts as exercise!

stress reduction

Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce stress

Stay Zen

Techniques such as meditation and mindfulness have been shown to be effective in the management of stress and anxiety. If you don’t know how to meditate there are a number of options. Mindfulness workshops are increasingly common, or you can download a number of apps which guide you through the meditation process. If this isn’t your cup of tea then simply walking in the great outdoors can have a similar effect. The important thing is to give yourself time with your own thoughts, allowing the brain time to recover. We often refer to it as a “Defrag”!

 

Finally… Get adjusted!

Chiropractic is about so much more than just back pain. Every time you are adjusted it changes the function of your nervous system, reducing tension in tight muscles and improving strength. This reduces the symptoms of stress such as tight shoulders and headaches, which enables your body to function to the best of it’s potential. Our chiropractors also look at your lifestyle as a whole and can often suggest small achievable changes, which can make a huge difference to the effect that stress has on your body.

 

Book now to de-stress!

Dont put up with it any more, call 01225 862140 or use our online appointment request form to get an appointment now. See what chiropractic can do for your body!