It’s a rushed, barely on time, kind of morning. Getting into work was a nightmare. Traffic was abysmal and you were certain you were going to be late. You rush into your cube like a tornado and sit down to start your computer. The minutes seem to last forever and your brain sends out the order for your stress hormones to surge. They trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response and can take a toll on the body.
Stress and Its Toll on the Body
We are all collectively stressed. And while some stress was actually helpful back in the day, the same can no longer be said for today’s world. Instead of acute stress, like that of a lion or bear, we are subjected to long-lasting, chronic stress. This high amount of stress can wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically. It can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. These symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia.
A Breakdown of Stress Symptoms
Different kinds of stress can lead to a number of different stress symptoms. Emotional symptoms of stress include quickly changing, feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty relaxing, low self-esteem, depression, isolation and avoidance of others. Physical symptoms of stress include low energy, headaches, upset stomach (including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea), aches, pains, and tense muscles, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and compromised immune system.
Cognitive symptoms of stress include constant worrying, racing thoughts, forgetfulness, disorganization, inability to focus, poor judgment, and being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side of things. Behavioral symptoms of stress include changes in appetite, procrastination, avoidance, increased use of self-medication, and exhibiting nervous behaviors.
The Physical Effects of Stress
A part of the brain called the hypothalamus is normally the player that gets the stress game to begin. When we encounter a stressful situation, the hypothalamus alerts for the release of adrenaline and cortisol. In the stressful events of our ancestors, these hormones were extremely important. They increase the heart rate and send blood to the parts of the body that need it most in an emergency. We gain a surge in energy as we decide to either fight the stressor or run from it.
But in today’s world, our stressors aren’t exactly lions or bears. But rather we get stress from deadlines, grades, speaking in public, and big relationship talks. And with even more increasing popularity with social media platforms, we are almost in a state of constant stress. This chronic type of stress is what causes such a toll on the body.
Negative Side Effects of Chronic Stress
The following are only some of the numerous side effects of chronic stress:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased risk of stroke
- Shortness of breath
- Stress-induced asthma
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased heartburn/acid reflux
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Decreased immune system
- Decreased testosterone levels in males
- More painful periods in women
How to Cope with Stress
There are a few different ways you can go about managing your stress levels as a means of taking care of yourself. We know you won’t be able to avoid stressful situations, which is why we believe coming up with healthy coping mechanisms is the best place to start. Embrace healthier habits like getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Get your servings of fruits and veggies. Move when you can. Try yoga or meditation to focus on breathing and getting out of your own head. Take up mindfulness practices. Reach out for support from a therapist or counselor if you feel that’s what you need.
Stress Management with Zock Chiropractic
Stress can affect any and every aspect of your life. It affects your emotions, thinking ability, and even physical health. However, no two people interpret stress in the same way. People handle stress differently. And because of that, symptoms of stress can vary. And even others could be the same symptoms as other medical conditions. This is why it’s crucial to talk to your doctor!
Part of achieving our best physical and emotional health is through chiropractic care and massage therapy. Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Dr. Zock would love to discuss your concerns in regard to resetting your health. Her vast knowledge of natural supplementation and body processes make her a great guide in helping you make the best choices for your body. Make an appointment in Cranberry today to schedule an introductory chiropractic treatment session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.