It’s National Stress Awareness Day! Time to take stock of stressors affecting our wellbeing and develop some stress management tips and tricks to mitigate the effects of daily or chronic stress in our lives!
Stress is a tricky trickster, as the body cannot distinguish between “good stress” (planning a wedding, buying a home, hosting house guests, etc.) and “bad stress” (financial turmoil, an unhealthy work environment, physical or emotional traumas, etc.) – nor can it distinguish mental/emotional stressors from physical ones. In all situations, the sympathetic nervous system (our “fight or flight” response) engages – whether we are getting ready to walk down the aisle, having an especially bad day at work, or are being chased by a bear!
If stress is chronic in our lives, it can physically manifest in a variety of ways… joint pain and muscle tension, headaches, digestive troubles, a weakened immune system, skin conditions, heart health deficiencies, and a reduction in sex drive and even fertility. It makes sense if you think about it: if your sympathetic nervous system is engaged because your body thinks it’s being chased by a grizzly (because we know it reacts in the same way as when our boss is being a jerk) – it is going to put all efforts towards fighting against the threat, or fleeing from it. It is not going to stop and think about making a baby, or warding off the flu, or calming a muscle spasm. Stressors take precedence, and our internal response functions go “all hands on deck” in a show of amazing bodily teamwork. But, when stress is ever present, these undesirable conditions also become chronic.
So, what can we do regarding stress management? Lots of things! Here are our “Top Eight” Ways to Manage Stress:
1) Deep breathing exercises
Example: Three deep breaths… inhale through the nose for three counts, exhale through the mouth for three counts; repeat three times
2) Meditation/mindfulness practice
Helpful Apps, especially for Beginners: Calm, Insight Timer, Head Space
3) Limit (or eliminate) alcohol and caffeine
4) Sleep at least 7 hours per night (and/or work to find the right amount of time for you!)
5) Exercise – especially helpful when you find something active that you love to do!
6) Keep a journal – whether a reflection on the day, a way to “release” negative thoughts, or perhaps a gratitude journal where you can express all of the good in your life!
7) Incorporate yoga (hatha or restorative if specifically for stress relief) once or twice per week
8) Acupuncture treatments!
At Aligned Modern Health, our acupuncture team treats patients with stress, anxiety, and depression on a daily basis. Acupuncture promotes blood flow, stimulates the body’s built-in healing mechanisms, relieves pain and inflammation, and reduces stress through the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system (our “rest and digest” or “calm and connect” response – in many ways, the opposite of our sympathetic/”fight or flight” response).
Whether you contact us for an appointment or Free 15-Minute Consultation, submit a request by clicking the button below to see if acupuncture is covered by insurance, or perhaps bring a little wellness to your workplace with group/community acupuncture in the office – Aligned Modern Health is here to support you as you navigate the what works best for YOU!Schedule an Appointment