Chronic stress is serious business and it shouldn’t be ignored.
The implications it can have on your health and wellbeing are real and today is the best time to start taking action to make changes.
A lot of people say “yeah i’m stressed so what?” or “isn’t that just part of (insert reason here eg.the job, being a mum….)” but just because it’s been normalised does not make it ok.
Stress affects your whole body. A lot of people think it’s “just in your head” and that mental issues are just of the mind but couldn’t be further from the truth.
– affect your sleep.
-upset your digestive system.
-lower your immune system.
-trigger anxiety and depression and cause relationship issues.
-cause tension in your muscles and connective tissue, which can become painful and cause injuries.
-cause hormonal imbalances and more!
In short, it pretty much impacts all of our bodies systems and organs and it can be a major driving factor in us becoming sick and unhappy which is why managing your stress levels are just as important as exercising regularly and eating well.
In clinic we try to educate our patients on this topic and one way of explaining it is discussing how the nervous system works from a very simplified point of view.
When it comes to our nervous systems we have two main gears that our body switches between. Let’s call them 1st gear. (REST and digest) and 2nd gear. (FIGHT or flight).
As we go about our day and are met with different physical and emotional challenges we are supposed to switch between 1st and 2nd gear.
Our bodies perform differently depending on which gear we are in and will focus on different tasks internally depending on whether we are in gear 1. to gear 2.
Blood flow will get directed to different areas of the body and certain chemical reactions occur for regeneration and activity depending on what gear we are in.
Now, the problem a lot of people today who are suffering with chronic stress is that they are stuck in 2nd gear.
2nd gear is supposed to be reserved for times of emergency. It uses up a lot of our energy and resources so it should only be used in short bursts.
Being stuck in 2nd gear is like you don’t have an “off” switch. You are always “busy” and on the go.
This will eventually make you sick!
In some cases where stress and anxiety is becoming a pattern and returning regularly then counselling might be a good option as well as other activities such as meditation, yoga or walking where you connect with your breath, get some fresh air and relax.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are also excellent ways to help your body change gears and give your nervous system a gentle push in the right direction when it comes to needing some help to switch off.
Ironically, when you “switch off” you are actually “switching on” your bodies healing powers of regeneration and detoxification which we need to be healthy and disease free.
The treatments we provide as like a re-set button for your nervous system or at the least give you a chance to remember what it feels like to switch off.
We hope that this message today will motivate you to dedicate some time to self care and check in to see if stress is affecting your life and to take some steps towards reducing it.