How to Battle Modern Stress
By Genevieve Smith
Life can get stressful. While each generation has had to deal with its own fair share of stressors, modernity has brought with it a neck-breaking pace and a world of constant interruptions. Phones zing and chime, news breaks, emails pour in. Our body releases cortisol in response to the stress. This ancient wiring is part of our biological fight or flight response. While creeping up on a deadline shouldn’t elicit this response, it still triggers the desire to run or tackle, and that has a significant effect on the body.
How Stress Affects You
High cortisol levels are known to bring on weight gain. Less often spoken about, however, is cortisol’s effect on pain. For various reasons, men with high levels of the hormone tend to experience pain in their lower back, while women often feel it in the neck and trapezius muscles, which can lead to occipital headaches bred from inflammation of the nerves at the top of the spine. High levels of cortisol are also associated with various gastrointestinal problems, and all of these symptoms can affect kids as well as adults. These days, everyone is plugged in.
How to Help It Melt Away
Stress can be addressed in a variety of helpful ways, both directly and indirectly. Let’s take a look at how to tackle the stress hormone and get into a calmer state.
- Talk it out - Find someone to talk to. Venting has an incredible payoff if you have a willing and neutral listener. Because mental stress is affecting your body and tension in your muscles, this will have a payoff for chronic pain. Thus, the origin of the phrase, “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.” It has been!
- See a chiropractor - Find the time to see a chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic at least once a month. Their manual manipulations apply pressure to areas of tension and help release the buildup. Creating space for “me time” also goes a long way toward reducing stress, and a monthly appointment all about the health of your body ticks off the box on that list.
- Blow off steam - Find an outlet for stored up energy to blow off steam, either through bicycling, swimming, or other high-energy, low-impact sports that are friendly to the joints.
- Just breathe - Learning meditation practices will help you maneuver through fight-or-flight eliciting situations. When you feel a panic brewing to the surface, take a full minute to breathe through your nose and key in to the feeling of hot air passing through the tip of your nose. Pay attention to the way your breath leaves the body, and acknowledge that these feelings of stress are an illusion, and that this is a project you can tackle.
- Unplug - Finally, find a way to manage your devices so that they are not having an effect on your daily life. Schedule time each day to check emails and texts, schedule a day to catch up on news, and learn about the “Do Not Disturb” function on your phone. By telling your phone when it can interrupt you, you have more control over your day. Your friends, family and coworkers will still be there other the other side. Everyone is trying to navigate through this process.
To get a kickstart on your you-focused shift, step into the offices of The Joint Chiropractic. With affordable pricing plans and an walk-in policy, you can stabilize those cortisol levels quicker than you realized. When the tension is rising, turn back to these tips. Your body will thank you.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glendale, Ariz.