Your Stress Survival Guide
17 October 2022
We’ve all been in bed at night overthinking how we embarrassed ourselves five years ago or feeling stressed about how we have an important work meeting the following week. Did you know that humans are the only species on the planet that stresses over past and future events, not just what is happening in the present?
Stress triggers our fight or flight response, and so we can trigger that response even when there is no immediate danger. Most species have a response to immediate danger, which is fear, whereas humans have a stress response just from their thoughts, otherwise known as anxiety. This starts chemicals moving through your body ready to escape danger, that’s why your heart races and you feel sweaty amongst other things. Your body diverts energy from “non-essential” processes at that moment, like digestion.
What impact does stress have on your body?
If you are placing yourself under constant stress, then some subconscious bodily processes can’t operate as well as they should. This is why it is so important to find ways to manage the levels of stress in your life. Studies have shown that a healthy amount of manageable stress can be good for brain function, boosting the immune system and preparing yourself for future stressful situations, but too much and your body can’t cope. When you find different ways to manage your stress levels, it allows these processes to work as they should.
Impact on the brain
Stress can impact your brain in so many different ways, some of which are positive and some are negative.
- It has been found that chronic stress in otherwise healthy individuals can cause areas of the brain associated with emotions, metabolism, and memory to shrink.
- A moderate amount of stress can actually improve brain performance by strengthening the neurons in the brain.
- It has been suggested that chronic stress can even kill new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. Research shows that new neurons produced during periods of stress are more likely to die within a week.
These are only some of the ways that stress can impact your brain. But, it shows us clearly why we need to manage our stress levels; excessive levels aren’t good.
Impact on the heart
Chronic stress has been shown to increase the heart rate and blood pressure, meaning that the heart has to work harder to produce the blood flow needed for bodily functions. We often forget how interconnected our bodies are. When we stress about anything in our lives, it has a very real physical effect on our bodies.
Impact on the immune system
When you stress too much, it can affect your immune system. It is harder for your body to fight off infection because it decreases the number of white blood cells. Over 300 studies have been done on the link between stress and immunity in humans. They have shown that psychological challenges are capable of modifying various elements of the immune response.
How can chiropractic help?
Chiropractic focuses on aligning the spine to ensure that the nervous system can work as well as possible to allow for healing processes to take place. Therefore, combining chiropractic and stress management techniques go hand in hand to make sure the body is working properly.
Emotional stress from jobs, family life, or events we can’t control. Chemical stress from food, drink or medications. Physical stress from doing too much too fast, or too little for too long. All of these move us closer to a state of dis-ease. We all need to develop habits that will move us towards love, light, patience, and perseverance, something we lack from two second dopamine hits from notifications, 10 second video clips, and super fast broadband.
Chiropractors find subluxations (blockages and interferences) in the spine. They then use adjustments to reduce and, over time, remove this build up in your nervous system. Your nervous system is made up of your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Interference from stressors stops the signals from the brain to the body, and the body to brain, from being interpreted correctly. This is why you develop pain.
Adjustments help your body to heal better by reducing this interference in the nervous system. Signals can then be interpreted correctly and essential processes can work. With regular maintenance care, your body can start to solve the root cause that is causing your pain and problems. When your body fixes the causes, it makes it much less likely that it will cause you issues again. This is much better than just masking the pain with painkillers and not really solving anything.
So, whilst people think that Chiropractors just ‘crack your back’, the power of the adjustments is incredible.