What is stress and how do we overcome it?
We’ve introduced the topic of stress in various blog posts over the last few months, but we haven’t gone into it in more detail until now. It is worth bringing up because, after all, we all experience stress — practically every day. In fact, some of you might be going through a bout of it right now for one reason or another. But what is stress, and how do we overcome it?
Stress is defined as a state of physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. The everyday stresses we experience can be external or internal, and how we respond to that stress plays a big role in our well-being.
We tend to think negatively when talking about stress. But stress is very normal and can actually benefit us in small doses. It can:
- Motivate us to be productive
- Boost our memory and creativity
- Improve our efficiency
- Act as a vital warning system
Notice how we said earlier, “in very small doses.” When we are stressed and have a fight or flight response to a particular stressor, our body produces a chemical called cortisol from our adrenal glands. When that is excreted, it’s only supposed to be for short bursts to get us out of whatever situation we are facing at that moment. This is how stress can be a good thing.
The problem with stress is when there is too much of it for a prolonged period, the body ends up producing too much cortisol, and our adrenal glands become fatigued. When this happens, we instantly feel a myriad of negative effects, including:
- Feeling run down, tired, and fatigued
- Anxiousness and depression
- Sick (colds, flu, etc.)
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Body inflammation
Body inflammation leads to muscular and joint pain, which can manifest itself in the lower back, shoulders and neck, feet, etc. Naturally, if your body is under constant stress, you won’t be able to heal.
Calming the body
Perhaps there is no more stressful time than what is going on right now with the coronavirus pandemic. We are watching the news more today than we ever have in the past, and many of us are anxious and fearful about what is going to happen next. To come out of this, we have to change our mindset and be proactive in responding to our daily stressors.
Here are just a few simple examples:
Exercise — Working out doesn’t have to involve picking up free weights or using everyday workout machines at the gym. Using our own body weight can be just as effective in building lean muscle, burning fat, and simply keeping us active. It is also a great way to recenter and reduce stress. Click here to read our blog post on easy bodyweight exercises you can do right now.
Meditation — Perhaps there is no better way to calm the body and reduce stress than through meditation. Sometimes, it’s as easy as finding a quiet place free of any distractions and close your eyes for a good 30 to 45 minutes. Beyond meditation, which is meant to put you in a positive mental state, finding new ways to laugh more throughout the day will help decrease stress.
Stretching — Jennifer Sprock is a medical exercise specialist who we have brought on here at Brain-Body Connection Chiropractic to add stretch therapy and medical exercises to our ever-evolving list of services. Stretching is a great way to decrease stress and enhance relaxation while also improving posture and flexibility. Yoga is also a fantastic option to incorporate exercise, breathing, and meditation at the same time. If you can’t make it in to our office, try these stretches.
Supplements — There are natural supplements such as Adren-all that you can purchase to help mellow the body. Products like Juice Plus are the next best thing to fruits and veggies and can give your nutrition a boost, which will also help you avoid feeling run down and fatigued. Supplements can lead to a stronger immune system, improve circulation, and reduce total-body inflammation.
Stress can disrupt our lives, but only if we let it. If something is stressing you out, such as watching way too much television, then take a break from it and see how you feel. We can break the cycle of stress and boost our body through intentional daily actions like the ones mentioned above.
If you’d like to have your adrenals tested, we can send out a saliva test to the lab and see how they are functioning.
Call Brain-Body Connection Chiropractic today
Remember, the goal at Brain-Body Connection Chiropractic is to continue offering all your chiropractic and wellness needs under one roof. This allows us to treat everything from a backache to poor posture, range of motion issues, post-injury management, a herniated disc, scoliosis, and more. Sometimes, all you need is a quick adjustment from a chiropractor, but Dr. Twila Henderson and her growing team will always do a complete evaluation to see if more techniques are needed to help your brain and body function properly.
Call us today for your next chiropractic appointment.