Dr Bret Wilson

Stress You Cannot Avoid It

Stress You Cannot Avoid It – You Can Manage It

Dr Bret WilsonWe all have stress in our lives. The response to stress is mental, emotional, physical, conscious and unconscious. Stress can occur in ways that we consider bad (job loss) or good (getting new job). Stress occurs due to choices we make, events in our life, the people we associate with, foods we eat, work, family. Stress spurs us on, increases focus, adaption or performance. Stress can be overwhelming and become chronic causing health issues. No one can avoid stress, but we can improve our recognition of the causes of stress then learn how to make choices to manage the effect on our health.

Thoughts and Stress

DD Palmer referred to this type of stress as autosuggestion. Negative thoughts, adding to the drama in our mind, worrying about the bad things that could happen or did happen in the past are forms of this type of stress thinking. Stressful thoughts that persist or become chronic and recurrent create anxiety and depression.

We can be our own worst enemy, beating ourselves up with our own thinking. We can be harder on ourselves than we are on others. Practice self-compassion and start being nice to yourself and better manage stressful thoughts.

The key is to train yourself to replace worry with solution oriented thinking, avoid dwelling on the negatives, confront suppressed emotions, keep a sense of humor and focus on blessings. Optimism is an antidote for anxiety. Practice living in the moment, develop present time consciousness. Meditation, prayer, yoga, outdoor activities and creative hobbies can be vehicles to help you improve your mind body connection, and reduce stress.

Posture, Movement and Stress

There is a direct connection between body and mind via the nervous system. The brain sends signals to the body and receives data back along nerve pathways. The brain responds to stimuli, adapts, monitors results and creates new activity. The brain and the body adapt to the demands (stresses) placed upon it. The communication loop has significant control over our health.

Two visible results of this process are posture and movement. Gravity is one constant stress that we deal with. Stronger postures help us reduce the negative effect of stress. Humans are a species of hunter gatherers, we were designed to move. Prolonged sitting in modern society is causing obesity, deconditioning, and shortening lifespans. Sedentary lifestyles and jobs increase stress. Regular exercise and instituting regular periods of movement through your activities of daily living is great for stress management and fitness.

Make choices that promote healthy postures and movements that stimulate positive brain and body adaptation. Maintain this important feedback loop, the nervous system. One of those choices is a regular check by your chiropractor. Chiropractic care and advice can help you improve posture and reduce pain that may restrict movement. Chiropractic makes sure the lines of communication between mind and body are working at their best.

Diet and Stress

The foods we eat and drink can greatly affect stress levels. A diet of highly processed foods, high fat and sugar content, caffeine, alcohol and low nutrition provide poor fuel for the body and brain. Dessert spelled backwards is stressed. Poor food choices leads to toxicity that disrupt sleep cycles, deplete energy reserves, compromise immunity, disturb digestion, and antagonize the nervous system. Often we look for “comfort foods” or eat during times of stress and that only adds to the problem. We turn to beverages with caffeine, sugar and sweeteners to give us “energy” to get through busy times. These stimulants only add to stress, complicate the body’s reaction, and lead to the inevitable crash a few hours later. Alcohol used “to take the edge off” only fuels anxiety and depression.

A healthy diet and proper hydration are important during stressful times. Stress increases the nutritional demands on our bodies. We need to provide the proper foods, at the right times to deal with the stress at hand. Small nutrient dense meals and snacks that emphasize plants, proteins and healthy fats at regular intervals provide fuel and avoid low blood sugar. Avoid fast food, highly processed foods, and limit drinks with sweeteners, caffeine and alcohol. Make conscious decisions about the foods that comfort you by making healthy choices.

The Key

As the Eagles sang in Already Gone, “So often times it happens, that we live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key.” Don’t let the chains of stress keep you from living the life you were meant to live. Understand the stressors to your body and mind. Practice ways to better manage those factors and you will have the key. Manage your stress and maintain better health.

Yours in Health,

Bret Wilson, DC