The very mention of the word ‘stress’ is enough to raise the blood pressure and increase the heart rate in many people. But stress is not necessarily bad.
Stress can be likened to the tension on a guitar string: too little and the music is dull; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. We need some level of stress in our lives in order to function. Stress becomes negative when the demands of a situation outweigh the body’s ability to cope.
Your personality type and your reasons for being stressed may provide a solution. Do you relate to any of these?
Smoulderer: Let go of your grievances. Use your highly active mind to find ways of relaxing. Meditation or Tai Chi work a treat at stopping those obsessive thoughts. Breathing exercises will help you control panic attacks, and combat your frequent feelings of powerlessness.
Fighter: Stop taking it all so personally and chill out. Use some of that competitive drive to exorcise your demons on the sports field. Work off some energy pulling weeks out of the garden. You don’t even have to compete: give something lively and noncompetitive such as Boxercise a try.
Sufferer: Give yourself a break: stop blaming yourself or anyone else. You know you ought to face your problems, but that can be difficult when you’re feeling low, so don’t be hard on yourself. One practical approach might be ‘neurolinguistic programming’ - this involves observing what happy people do and copying them. Take up dancing - anything that’s fast and fun.
Avoider: If you stop running away, your problems will stop chasing you. Take action - perhaps with the help of an expert, or your best-organised friend - to face up to your problems and find solutions. Turn your day dreaming into visualisations and then act. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Survivor: If things do start getting on top of you, stay positive. Remember that you’ve always coped in the past. Make time for your favourite stress-relieving activities. These probably already include time with your friends and family, and physical activity. If not, or you’ve slipped out of the habit, reorganise your schedule to allow time for these, along with eating healthily and getting enough sleep.
How can chiropractic help?
Physical, chemical and emotional stress can cause subtle imbalances to develop in the spine. Chiropractors call these imbalances subluxations. The imbalances caused by subluxations weakens the body’s ability to adapt to stress, creating a vicious circle.
The goal of chiropractic care is to adjust subluxations using specific and gentle forces on the spine and to teach you how you can manage the causes of subluxations.
While serious consequences to stress may require medical care, camouflaging the symptoms with medication may not be as effective as developing coping strategies. Coping with stress is best achieved with a nervous system that is free of nerve interference. Then you can perform at your adaptive best.
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