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Posted on 10-21-2015

Stress is a Part of Life

Our bodies are created to react to stress and protect us in situations of fight or flight. We also have emotional, environmental and physical stresses placed on us each day. So while stress is normal, too much or prolonged stress can cause serious health and emotional issues.

How Stress Works Within Our Body

There are several reasons for stress such as physical (danger), emotional (going through a divorce, loss of job), environmental (chemical, dietary). When we encounter stresss the hypothalamus sets off an alarm. Then through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, the adrenal glands release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies (much needed response if a fight or flight situation). Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases and releases glucose (sugars) into the bloodstream and enhances the use of sugars in the brain (sharpens focus, heightens acuity).

When the fight or flight system kicks into gear, heightening what it needs, it also curbs what it doesn't need. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. Mood, fear, motivation, sense of well being are all altered as well.

This system works to keep us safe and help others in emergency situations. The problem comes into play when this system remains on for lengthened periods of time.

When the natural stress response doesn't function properly

In a healthy body, once a threat has passed we go back to our "functional" levels of heart rate, adrenaline and hormone levels.

However if there is a problem somewhere, whether it be environmental, emotional or due to nerve interference, this system can be disrupted. If disrupted, the stress system may not shut off and continue to stay in a state of stress. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

Anxiety
Depression

Digestive problems
Heart disease
Sleep problems
Weight gain
Memory and concentration impairment

It is so important to remove stress whenever possible and manage stressors in your life.

Tips for reducing stress and keeping a harmonious balance in your life.

1. Regular exercise. We recommend interval training 3 to 4 times a week - run full out for 30 seconds, walk for 1.5 minutes, goal is to repeat 8 times (start slowly and work up to 8 times). This is an excellent workout for your heart and body as it increases heart capacity. (and can be accomplished in a short period of time)

2. Diet:

  • Avoid foods with high sugar and/or fat content
  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat high quality proteins (organic when possible)

3. Liquid vitamins and fish oil. (We use the same products at home that we carry at the office. We don't carry a lot of product, but this we do because it is so important!)

4. Get regular chiropractic adjustments. Proper nerve function is crucial in keeping your nervous system functioning well.

5. Get enough sleep each night.

6. Work towards keeping a positive mental attitude. You cannot control what goes on around you, but you can control your response.

7. Prioritize. Make a list, do most important things first. And remember "don't sweat the small stuff".

Add enjoyment to each day and add years to your life by reducing your stress when possible. Regular chiropractic treatments at American Family Spine and Health is an effective way to relieve stress and tension from your body. You will feel better and be healthier.

Call 704-792-2700 today to schedule your appointment.

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