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Lose the Stress

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By: Dr. Stephen O’Neil

‘I'm stressed out', is a common answer when asking someone how he or she is doing. They are most often referring to mental stress, relationships, work, money etc. Stress however, comes in many forms and affects us in very different ways. The same stressor can affect different individuals in completely different ways.

This stress must be kept in check or balanced in some way so we can prevent it from taking over our thoughts and lives. As I said before, stress comes in many different forms. Most common is mental stress. This includes our fears and insecurities, the pressure from our peers and work environment as well as social and global concerns.

Stress also comes in the form of chemical stressors. These are most commonly self-inflicted. The things we ingest like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating fast food or other poor dietary habits all constitute chemical stress. Chemical stressors also include some that we have less control over such as the amount of pollution that we breathe or drink. A third type of stress is physical stress, which is often the most noticeable because it is more often than not, associated with work. These can be repetitive stressors such as working on an assembly line or sitting at a computer all day or heavier stresses which require heavy lifting or twisting the body into odd positions like a plumber or mechanic.

The bottom line is stress is all around us and we all experience it in some way, shape or form. It is important to note that although I named three categories of stress, they are far from independent of one another. Chemical stress often causes physical stress for example smoking and drinking as we all know lead to lung cancer and heart disease. Mental stress causes an increase in cortisol release in the body, which can also lead to physical stressors such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

So what do we do about all this stress? As I said before, we must find someway to maintain balance in our lives. Finding forms of stress relief is very important and many people go to great extents to do so. Exercise is a simple way to combat the physical stressors in our lives. Chemical stressors must be minimized by making smart lifestyle choices. This includes drinking responsibly, quitting smoking and eating a healthy balanced diet. Changes must be made to improve your mental state in order to relive mental stress. If something is making you unhappy eliminate it, if you are in an unhealthy relationship fix it or end it, if you hate your job so much that it is dragging you down, find a new one. The point is you must try to minimize all types of stress in order to live a long happy healthy life.

All of these stressors adversely affect the quality of our lives and the quality of our health. Stressors are an underlying cause of most major health issues that plague our population. The nervous system is the part of our body that must deal with stress but in order for it to do its job and help us maintain balance it must be healthy. For the nervous system to be efficient it must be free or interference. This is where chiropractic care comes in. Chiropractors apply a specific, gentle thrust to areas of the spine, which are restricted or causing nervous system interference. In restoring and maintaining proper alignment and range of motion in the spine, the nervous system is freed of interference and is then more able to efficiently deal with the stress placed upon it. Health can occur in no other way because it is impossible to completely eliminate stress from our lives, we must have a nervous system that can constantly balance and cope on a daily basis. An efficiently functioning nervous system is the cornerstone to optimizing and fulfilling one's health potential. See your chiropractor for a nervous system analysis and spinal exam. Begin taking the steps to eliminate and balance the stressors in your life.