If you are an modern day human, chances are you are stressed out. Chronic stress is the basis of a whole host of diseases we encounter today. Heart attacks, high blood pressure, Irritable Bowel Disease and other digestive issues, stroke and even insomnia, depression and anxiety can all be linked to chronic stress.
So what is stress? According to the dictionary, stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” And, it is subjective. That means the same event experienced by two different people could produce a stress response in one and not the other. Stress, then, is in the eye of the beholder.
What we do know is humans have an innate “fight or flight” response. In chronic stress, this response just never really shuts down. In other words, our bodies are always reacting to life as though there were a lion at the door. The amazing body then produces specific hormones and chemicals an directs its resources toward preparing the body to flee. This chain of reaction in the body is vital when fleeing a lion but not so helpful when we are stuck in traffic.
While no two people will have the same response to stress, there are some proven strategies to reset our body’s perception of the threats around us.
releases the energy potential stored in our muscles and is a time tested way to reduce the stress response. Taking a walk each night after dinner is a great way to both release the stressors of the day and help the body digest food. Jogging, Tai Chi or Qi Gong, and Yoga are all wonderful activities for the body and the mind. There are great work out apps and resources online for all experience levels.
is also a terrific tool. Many studies show that people who meditate on a regular basis have less of a stress response. Meditation helps change our perception of the event, not the event itself. That’s really key, since it is our perception that causes much of the difficulty. Meditation doesn’t have to be fancy. Taking a ten minute break a couple times a day to step outside and breathe deeply. There are a number of great meditation apps available, if you are able to carve out 10-30 minutes (depending on the app) and lots of tools available online.
is also an amazing tool in helping your body break the cycle of the chronic stress response in your body. A study published in a 2013 issue of Journal of Endocrinology showed that stress hormones were lower in rats who had received acupuncture. I’ll post a link on Facebook this week with more information about this study, by in short, what they found was acupuncture changed the rat’s physiological response to stress.
This is great news for us. After an acupuncture treatment, patients come out of the room often in “the zone” of deep and profound relaxation. A simple acupuncture treatment can offer the body a break from the stress response of our daily lives, it can reframe our perception and ability to handle those stresses. Regular acupuncture has a cumulative effect and therefore can act as a part of a preventative plan against high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and digestive issues.
Take advantage of my complementary thirty minute consultation and find out more about how acupuncture can help with stress and it’s manifestations.
You can read more about acupuncture and stress at bluebranches.com/a-balanced-approach/stress/