What Are The 5 Keys to Optimum Health? Let’s Talk Stress Management.
What Are The 5 Keys to Optimum Health?
- Good Nutrition
- Stress Management
- Proper Nerve Supply with Chiropractic Care.
Let’s Talk Stress Management.
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead with a smile on her face she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz. She replied, “the absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
Remember to put the glass down.
Too much stress can be detrimental to our health. Increased stress can comes from many different experiences, and people handle stress differently. Some stress is good, such as the adrenaline rush you get right before a big game. It keeps you focused and active during the game, and once the game is over, the stress goes away. However, chronic stress is much more common in today’s society of overworked, overscheduled (especially in our youth), sedentary, and unhealthy eating habits. This kind of stress is harder to turn off. So how can chiropractic help with stress?
The purpose of chiropractic is to restore normal function of the nervous system. A majority of our body is controlled by what is known as the autonomic (think automatic) nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is important for regulating functions like breathing, digestion, heart rate, blood vessel control, and cellular repair. This system has two parts including the sympathetic,fight or flight, and parasympathetic, rest and digest.
The sympathetics are used for “fight or flight” and assist in stressful situations. While they may help to increase our heart rate and send blood to the right muscles so that we can escape a threatening situation, they turn off other important activities like digestion, cell repair, and immune system regulation. The parasympathetics are used for “rest and digest” and are utilized when our body is in relaxation mode.
When we feel stressed or in pain, our nervous system reacts by turning up the sympathetic system. Once on, the sympathetic system is not always easy to turn off. It will continue to decrease digestion and cellular repair, while increasing bad hormone levels and disturbing the body’s natural rhythm. Over time, this makes us feel tired and sick, we get even more stressed, and we are more prone to vertebral subluxations.
The purpose of chiropractic is to restore normal function of the nervous system by focusing on the health of the spine. A misaligned vertebrae can lead to more stress on the body. By helping the autonomic nervous system to function at it’s optimal level you will be better able to regain control of the body, have better digestion, breathing, healing, and more relaxation.
Stress turns into physical pain and suffering if we allow it to consume us. We need to learn coping skills to de-stress our hectic lives. Just as that glass of water was of small consequence initially, life’s little stresses can snowball into large problems that become a huge roadblock to our optimal health goal.
It is a good practice to “check” our level of stress and there are many ways to relieve stress and relax. Stress relieving techniques in addition to chiropractic adjustments could include prayer/meditation, exercise, listening to calming music, laughter, being thankful/grateful, getting a massage, taking some “me time” and controlled breathing: deep and slow.
Next month we will talk about Proper Nerve Supply with Chiropractic Care.