Let’s talk Stress! We all feel with it, we all deal with it, in various ways. Sometimes we don’t deal with it at all, and instead chronic stress yields a huge impact on us, physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Statistics show that well over 75% of people who are stressed, feel physical and psychological symptoms on a regular basis. Recognizing how stress impacts your body and mind however, can be a challenge.
Everyone manifests stress differently. And it doesn’t always have to be about overt anxiety or worry either. Stress can show itself through subtle changes such as blood sugar spikes, blood pressure variations, alterations in appetite, and bouts of fatigue or hunger. Ultimately though, chronic stress can have a huge impact on your health, over long periods of time. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, sleep dysfunction, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, are just a number of health conditions that are impacted by continued unmanaged stress.
The truth is though, you can mitigate stress and can manage it effectively, by taking some simple and natural steps on a daily basis. Here are a few:
- Exercise: One of the best all-time stress relievers is to simply get up and get moving! Every time we engage in some form of exercise, whether it’s yoga, or hitting gym, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, in the brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural ways to improve mood, decrease anxiety, and engage the parasympathetic system more effectively.
- Spend time in nature: Taking a mindful stroll on the beach or in the forest can actually work wonders for the psyche. Not only does it put you in a state of contemplation much more easily, it literally slows both your body and mind down, which can decrease blood pressure and calm the nervous system.
- Write it down: There is great value in sitting down at the end of your day and writing down all the things you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can not only help you become more reflective, but release all that which is worrying you and may give you a much needed shift in perspective as well.
- Breathe deep: Taking a few moments daily to just sit and take deep breaths from the middle of your abdomen – your solar plexus area – has been shown to lower cortisol levels, decrease blood pressure, as well as anxiety and frustration. Not to mention that engaging in deeper breathing practices helps improve sleep and energy restoration.
- Learn how to say ‘no’: Laying down boundaries, knowing your limits and sticking to them is a form of self-respect. When we give too much of ourselves to others and do not take care of our own needs as well, our adrenals eventually lead to fatigue and burnout.
- Eat nutrient-dense food: There are many healthy lifestyle choices that increase your resistance to stress. Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine, sugar, drugs are one side of things. The other is to eat food that vitamin and mineral rich, starting with a protein-packed breakfast along with appropriate servings of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. The more nourished your body and brain are, the better able you will be able to cope with the stressors around you.
- Try acupuncture: When the body is under stress, it releases an array of hormones into the bloodstream in response, many of them being part of the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis. Acupuncture not only help release the body’s own natural endorphins, but prevents elevation of HPA axis hormones, thus inducing a parasympathetic state and ultimately relaxation.
Remember, when you are living with chronic stress without managing it effectively, you put your entire health at risk. It is always important to experiment with a number of strategies to see what works for you. Understanding where your stress is coming from and identifying triggers are often a good place to start on your journey to controlling and management stress.
And don’t forget to talk to your Naturopathic Physician. Placing Mind-Body health and wellness is our priority in our practice. Along with proper and customized evaluation, we can help you explore your unique causes of stress and how to manage it effectively in ways that are right for you.
To your Health,
Dr. Olena Gill is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician and Registered Acupuncturist (2003). She practices acupuncture and TCM at Indigo Integrative Health/The Mind-Body Connection Centre in Parksville, BC.
Take CHARGE of your health! You’re the only one who can! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT with Dr. Olena today to get you on the road to wellness and improved health.
Disclaimer: No information given here or in any post or page on this site should be construed as medical advice. Always consult your Naturopathic Physician to receive professional evaluation and treatment.
Copyright 2017 Dr. Olena Gill, R.Ac., ND – Indigo Integrative Health. When sharing any post or page from this site, please ensure to share in their entirety with links back to this site. Thank you.