Stress isn’t always bad. Stress can even help you perform under pressure and motivate you. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your body and mind can pay the price. If your body is always in a defensive state, it’s not getting necessary time for repair. Defense should always be short term, repeated short term stress can equal chronic health conditions.
Many of our patients might remember the hand test that was performed at their first visit. This test measures how stress affects your body. If your body reacts poorly to stress, it’s important for your chiropractor to know because it may effect the course of treatment. For example, some people may require different techniques or additional time for healing, since people with high stress levels can take a longer amount of time to heal.
If your ability to handle stress is poor would you have more or less physical symptoms? People who don’t handle stress well tend to have more physical symptoms. What does stress feel like to you? Many people say when they are under high levels of stress, they notice an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, twitches and often people will clench.
Whether it’s stress at work, home, with family or friends we can all agree that we’ve been there. When you imagine someone with a high level of stress, say a co-worker or family member, how do they look? Do you notice any obvious signs of stress? One of the most obviously signs of stress is posture. Many times you’ll find that their head is forward, this is because their neck is flexed, contracted neck muscles bring the head forward. You might also notice they are stiff or rigid, and often times you’ll notice they lean to the side, with their head or pelvis against the wall. People who are stressed spend so much of their energy with anxiety so when they’re leaning against the wall their body can save energy.
The most common emotion with high stress is anxiety. Anxiety is the anticipation of stress. Imagine you have a dental appointment later this week, anxiety is when you spend 3 days obsessing about how much it could hurt. Do you know what the most common ways people deal with anxiety and stress?
The number one thing that people do to cope with stress is eat. Ever heard of stress eating, it’s a real thing. Other common ways of dealing with stress are drinking and smoking. Many people also find themselves placing blame on others, this can lead to chronic problems, socially.
We know that eating, drinking and blaming are all negative ways of dealing with stress, but there are positive ways of dealing with stress too. Healthy stress behavior can include walking, exercise, taking time to step out, deep breathing, meditation, sleep, good nutrition and chiropractic care.