It’s true; when you live in a state of stress, it can cause physical illness.
When your body is experiencing stress, it acts in a "fight or flight" mode. This means the sympathetic nervous system has kicked in and released a hormone called Cortisol.
Cortisol signals the body to release glucose stores, providing your muscles with energy to run away or engage in defending yourself.
This ancient response to physical safety wasn't meant to happen consistently, day in and day out. But our modern psychological stressors cause it to work in overdrive.
How do you know you’re stressed?
If your mind isn't spinning, some physical symptoms may still be showing you're under pressure:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension
Why does stress make you sick?
Stress makes you more susceptible to illness because constant Cortisol creates an inflammatory response in your body. This can cause a cascade of aches and pains.
Your body also decreases its lymphocyte production – this is the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are essential to helping fight off infections, and with fewer of them, you could be more susceptible to viruses and colds. Cortisol also suppresses insulin production and narrows arteries.
Chronic stress can contribute to health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Stress is a vicious circle – the more stressed you are, the more prone you'll be to engage in a not-so-healthy coping mechanism like over-eating, smoking, or skipping out on sleep – all of which contribute to, and compound, poor health.
Stress and worry are a part of life for everyone, especially around the holidays. But you can manage your stress so it doesn’t hurt your health.
Try these tips to reduce your stress:
- Get enough sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing, especially throughout the day.
- Make time to exercise every day. Even a comfortable stroll for 15 minutes releases endorphins that stimulate relaxation and boost your mood.
- Manage your social media time. The research on social media and mood is extensive. Most of it points to a negative correlation between use and mental health.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Find a balance between work time and leisure time.
- Connect with others in real life.
A health and wellness plan can also help you manage stress. At True Potential Chiropractic, we have your back with chiropractic care and more. From holistic and extensively evaluative chiropractic care to advanced bodywork techniques like assisted stretch, therapeutic massage, and FlexFit, to a library of free exercise, stretch, and informative articles, discover how True Potential can help you re-align your health priorities. You’ll feel less stressed and ready to take on any new challenges the holidays, or life, can throw your way.
Call us today! (503) 574-4872
Get more great info directly from the Doc on reducing stress and survining - and thriving - this holiday season. Join Dr. Bell for a FREE Workshop:
Topic: Stressed Out? The Holiday Red Zone
Time: Dec 20, 2021 at 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 889 0253 4585