If you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed, you are definitely not alone, particularly in these uncertain times. There are four simple things you can do right now to ease your feelings of tension and sadness:
- Focus on your breath
When we are feeling sad, anxious or stressed we tend to shallow breathe. This puts stress on your body because you are not getting enough oxygen, which in turn further increases your emotional stress – so it’s a vicious cycle.
To break this cycle, simply sit quietly and focus on breathing slowly in through your nose for five seconds and then out through your mouth for five seconds. See if you can increase it up to 10 seconds, without putting stress on your body. Do this a few times and you will immediately feel some calming effects. The beauty of this exercise is that you can do it anywhere – at home, at work, in the car and even on the toilet
2. Drink water
Similar to oxygen, our bodies need plenty of water to function. Did you know that often you can be dehydrated without even knowing that you are thirsty yet? Just like a lack of oxygen, a lack of water can put your body under stress and amplify feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
The best way to achieve this is start with a drink of water when you first get out of bed each morning (and when your body is often already dehydrated). Even better if you can squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice in the water.
Try to avoid drinks that can contribute to dehydration such as coffee and soft drinks. If you really don’t like the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of fresh juice to your cup, or if you want something more exotic, try a small splash of rose water for a very nice tasting rose petal drink
It’s amazing how quickly our bodies can lock up on us, especially as we age. Stress, anxiety and depression cause muscle tension, which can very quickly turn into quite painful problems in the muscles, back, neck and joints. Our body being in pain further adds to our emotional stress.
To ease this, make a habit of doing a few small stretches each day, whenever and wherever suits you. Don’t overdo it of course, just enough so that your body feels a little bit of a release from muscle tension.
You may choose to bend forward and very slowly and gently try to get closer to touching your toes each day, or you may also choose to very gently give your neck a nice stretch by tilting your head to one side and then the other very slowly. Find some stretches that make your body feel good and try to do a couple each day. You can even do them while watching TV.
4. Get some sunlight
It’s a well-known fact that sunlight is a great source of feel good vitamins and, in particular, helps to naturally boost serotonin levels (which are the feel-good chemicals in your brain).
Try to sit outside or near a sunny window for a few minutes each day. You will be amazed at how much this can help to lift your mood. Even better if you can take a walk outside each day. Just make sure to wear a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses whenever out in the sun to avoid sunburn.
How your chiropractor can help
While your chiropractor can’t rid you of the cause of your stress, whether it be work or family related, they can help to relieve you of the symptoms so that you can handle stress much better. Key benefits of chiropractic care include:
Eases nervous tension
Chiropractic care aims to find the right balance between your mind and body. Your spine is literally the backbone of your neurological system. Your brain communicates everything, including functions such as breathing and swallowing, with the help of the spine. As you feel stress and begin to tense up, this causes your spine to move. After your chiropractor has adjusted it and your spine is in alignment, the central nervous system is unblocked so it can function the way it should. You may find yourself to be sick less, have more energy and feel less stressed overall.
Another benefit is the realignment of the spine helps improve blood circulation, and it allows your body to turn off the fight/flight response, which is integral to relieving your stress.
Triggers positive hormonesSpinal health influences almost every region of your body. Chiropractic adjustments lead to an increase in hormones such as neurotensin, oxytocin, and cortisol. These hormones are involved in positive nervous system functioning, such as:
- Neurotensin: neutralises stress-induced pain
- Oxytocin: boosts neuro-communication and feelings of social bonding
- Cortisol: blocks pain deriving from inflammation.
Helps you get better sleep
Insomnia is a symptom of anxiety and/or depression. With chiropractic care, you may find getting to sleep a little easier. Studies show that chiropractic manipulation may also improve patient sleep patterns.
Relieves tension, stiffness and headaches
Patients with anxiety and/or depression also suffer from muscular tension. Chiropractic care can aid in reducing tension and stiffness, as well relieve pain related to tension headaches. Studies that measure electrical activity in muscles found that after a chiropractic adjustment, muscle activity was reduced by 25 percent.
If you’d like more information about how to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, or need help with managing the symptoms, contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.