In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of t ...View Article
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Posted on 10-14-2016
Chiropractic Care: A Natural Stress Reliever
Our lives are full of pressure, stress, frustration and worry, both physical and mental, about — job security, being overworked, driving in rush-hour traffic, arguing with a spouse, concern about a loved one, retirement.
Much of our stress simply comes from everyday responsibilities. In response to these daily strains, our body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism and blood flow to muscles. This response is intended to help the body react quickly and effectively to high-pressure situations. It’s known as the “fight-or-flight” response.
The Stress Response
The body's fight-or-flight reaction has strong biological roots. It's there for self-preservation; it gave early humans the energy to fight aggressors or run from predators, helping the human species survive. Today, instead of a protection, it may actually make the body more vulnerable to life-threatening health problems. Any of life’s changes, good or bad, can cause stress. It's not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters.
How stress affects your body
In a stressful situation, the pituitary gland responds by increasing the release of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). When the pituitary sends out this burst of ACTH, it's like an alarm system going off deep inside the brain which tells the adrenal glands, situated atop the kidneys, to release a flood of stress hormones into the bloodstream, including cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones cause a whole series of physiological changes in the body, such as increasing heart rate and blood pressure, shutting down the digestive system and altering the immune system. Once the perceived threat is gone, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream decline and the heart rate, blood pressure and all other body functions return to normal.
If multiple and repetitive stressful situations occur, the body has no chance to recover.
Common physical responses to chronic stress affect:
If you show signs of these or any of the following conditions, it may be a sign that you are suffering from stress: anxiety, insomnia, back pain, relationship problems, constipation, shortness of breath, depression, stiff neck, fatigue, upset stomach and weight gain or loss.
We can show you how to reduce the effect that stress has on the body:
Practice Relaxed breathing
Stress typically causes rapid, shallow breathing. This kind of breathing sustains other aspects of the stress response, such as rapid heart rate and perspiration. Get control of your breathing. The spiraling effects of acute stress will automatically become less intense. Relaxed breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help.
Practice this basic technique twice-a-day, every day and whenever you feel tense:
Learn Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The goal of progressive muscle relaxation is to reduce the tension in your muscles. First, find a quiet place where you'll be free from interruption. Loosen tight clothing, remove glasses, take shoes off.
Tense each muscle group for at least five seconds and then relax for at least 30 seconds. Repeat before moving to the next muscle group.
Exercise is healthy way to relieve because it releases pent-up energy and tension. Physical activity can decrease levels of anxiety and stress and elevate moods. Numerous studies have shown that people who begin exercise programs, either at home or at work, demonstrate a marked improvement in their ability to concentrate, are able to sleep better, suffer from fewer illnesses, suffer from less pain and report a much higher quality of life than those who do not exercise.
So if you want to feel better and improve your quality of life, get active! Contact us today to hear how we can help.
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