How stress impacts your body and what to do about it

For most people, 2020 has been a pretty stressful year so far. The combination of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 has either directly or indirectly affected all of us. As we emerge from these challenges, it’s time to take a look at your stress levels, and the impact stress has on your body and overall wellbeing.

What is stress?

Stress is our natural physical and mental reaction to events that occur around us. It’s our flight or fight response and is designed to protect us by giving our bodies the adrenalin hit we need to think and act quickly to escape perceived danger.

In modern life, stress can be caused by anything from daily work and family issues through to significant events such as the diagnosis of a serious illness, or death of a family member.

During your body’s stress response your heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens and muscles tighten.

Why stress is a concern

While in short bursts, stress can be beneficial to helping your body quickly respond to a situation and protect itself, ongoing, longer-term stress can lead to many issues including:

  • Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eating disorders, which may cause issues such as obesity
  • Fertility concerns
  • Skin and hair problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Chronic muscle and joint pain
  • Weakened immune system.

How to stop stress

While you can’t stop the life events that cause stress, you can control your reaction and reduce stress impacts on your body.  Some great ways to reduce stress are:

  • Just breathe deeply.  When we are stressed we often shallow breathe, which puts stress on our body and causes further stress for our minds.  By just taking some deep slow breaths, it will help your body to relax a bit so that you can better cope with the stressful situation.
  • Meditate. Even if you just take five minutes to take yourself out of the stressful situation and take your mind to a calm, peaceful place, it will help you to think more clearly and keep you calmer.
  • Try yoga or pilates.  Yoga and pilates stretches help your mind to focus while also easing muscle tension.

How your chiropractor can reduce the impact of stress

When you are stressed, your muscles are tense and your nerves are on edge. As your body endures ongoing stress, it becomes much more sensitive to physical imbalances and pain. When your body feels pain this also causes stress, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Chiropractic adjustments help your body turn off the fight/flight response by unblocking the central nervous system, improving blood circulation and easing muscle tension.  This helps to relieve irritated spinal nerves so that the body can return to a more relaxed natural state.

As a result, you are able to think more clearly and rationally because messages between the brain and nervous system move seamlessly, reducing mental stress.

To help you maintain harmony between your mind and body, your chiropractor can also provide lifestyle advice so that you can take charge in reducing muscle tension, becoming more relaxed and ensuring your body is well nourished.

For more advice about stress management and stress reduction techniques contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

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