From the desk of Courtney Schneider,
Have you ever gotten to the point of being so stressed out that if someone made you laugh too hard you think that you would probably burst out in tears?
I’ve been there.
Sitting on my bathroom floor, laughing until I cried.
What if I told you that stress is normal, but there are ways to combat it before it gets to that breaking point.
Managing Stress Helps You Stay Healthier
Having too much stress can cause the body’s defense system- known as the “sympathetic nervous system, your fight or flight”- to kick in. At that point, the nervous system releases the stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, making your heart beat faster, your muscles tighten, and your breathing becomes more rapid.
When these things happen, it sends your body into an emergency stress response. Too much of this can start to suppress your immunity, cause digestive and reproductive issues, and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
As a chiropractor, we work with the nervous system to help balance your body, release tension, and increase circulation of the blood which can soothe the flight or fight response.
Chronic stress that is causing pain can create a feedback loop that amplifies your stress levels even further so getting adjusted regularly can decrease that extra stress that is put on the body.
Think of it like this…
Being stressed is like being at a high vibration, and that makes it harder to make thoughts and process information. If you decrease your stress, you are at a lower vibration and therefore, you are able to focus and deal with things more appropriately…
If you decrease your stress, you are more fun to be around, you enjoy your day better, and you get more accomplished.
You are most likely a go getter if you are reading this and that’s great… but you actually need more rest then just sleep.
Your body needs active rest time which are things like being mindful of what you and your body needs and being in a more mindless state to truly destress.
There are so many things in our daily lives that cause us stress.
Some things that we can control and some things that we cannot. If we are able to focus more on the things that we can control, by writing each of them down, we can focus less on the things we can’t control. Being mindful of what we cannot control in our life will help reduce our stress levels.
Healthy Habits to Decrease Stress
Now I know that the last thing that you want to do is eat healthy when you are stressed, but making healthier food choices can help to lower your cortisol levels that are already increased due to the stress.
Looking at Pinterest or Google, I have found several fun and delicious options to help my specific cravings and you can too! Drinking lots of water and taking a daily walk are also found to be very beneficial.
Personally, I have come to find 3 things that seem to help me reduce my stress levels when I am feeling overwhelmed.
Transitional Breathing– Transitional breathing is when you take 3 deep breaths before moving on to something new.
When you are leaving for work, get in your car and take 3 breaths with one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, closing your eyes. These breaths are signifying that you are going from your home environment to your commute environment. When you get to work, do the same thing. Take 3 deep breaths with your hands on the chest and stomach which signifies that you are now going from your commute environment to your work environment.
Doing this exercise can help to reset yourself.
Gratitude Practice– Gratitude practice is doing just what it sounds like. You think of 3 things that you are grateful for everyday, and it helps to decrease your stress.
You can put this into practice by maybe starting your day by writing the three things you are grateful for down in a journal or sticky note that you can put somewhere you can see in your home.
A study was done in 2017 that found that people who have consistent gratitude practice or think of things that they are grateful for every day are 90% less stressed than other people. What a difference being mindful of the goodness in your life can have on you!
Five Finger Meditation– The five-finger meditation exercise is one of my favorites because not only does it distract you from a bunch of other things, but it also feels nice on your hand.
Hold up one hand as you breathe in, then trace from your wrist up to the tip of your thumb. Hold your breath for 3 seconds. As you breathe out, trace from the tip of your thumb to the web of your thumb. Hold your breath for 3 seconds and continue to breathe and trace along your fingers.
This exercise is very successful in decreasing stress because of the kinesthetic portion. Both the focusing of your finger motion and your breathing helps relax and bring comfort.
My Biggest Takeaway
Dealing with stress is a common struggle in life….
That doesn’t mean that it is okay or something to just ignore.
I truly hope that these self-help techniques can help you reduce stress and the problems it can cause on your body. I also encourage you to get your body regularly adjusted by a chiropractor to help your body in combating this stress.
If your stress does become too much, you should always seek help from a healthcare provider who can give you more treatment options.
Always remember that you are not alone in this!
Oh.. and Kelsey and Grace from The Burnout Prevention Project are great. I hope you get the chance to work with them in their new program – The Resilience Multiplier 6 week program!
Here is the link to learn more and apply!
One more thing: Reach out to us at FM Chiropractic and Wellness! We’d love to help!