Don't let stress get best of you

DE-STRESS: Yoga, Pilates and mindfulness meditation are great methods to learn to control your breathing and relax your mind.
DE-STRESS: Yoga, Pilates and mindfulness meditation are great methods to learn to control your breathing and relax your mind. Thinkstock

THE link between stress and your physical health is well established by research. Higher levels of stress have been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, digestive issues and changes in the brain. Stress can leave you vulnerable to lower immune function, fatigue and depression.

Research during the early and mid 20th century made it apparent that our health is influenced by stress no matter what form it comes in, whether physical, emotional or chemical in origin. Our bodies continually strive to adapt but resources are limited to do so. The more stress we are subjected to, the greater risk of disease.

Here are some simple ways to reduce stress and help your body better adapt to stress.

When it comes to emotional stress, consider the power of focused and controlled deep breathing to relax your busy mind and your physiology. Make a point of slowly breathing in and completely inflating your lungs multiple times a day. Yoga, pilates and mindfulness meditation are great methods to learn to control your breathing and relax your mind.

Secondly, own your happiness. True happiness and joy come from within, not from others. Consider your personal dialogue - are you cutting yourself down or building yourself up?

When it comes to addressing chemical stress, consider the additives in your food and the personal hygiene products you put on your skin. Familiarise yourself with food and product labels, learning which ingredients to avoid.

Water intake is important to dilute the impact of toxins we encounter and to avoid the stress of dehydration. A good rule of thumb is drinking 1 litre per 25 kilograms of bodyweight per day and a pinch of Himalayan salt with every litre for electrolyte balance.

Finally, physical stress. Very simply, you need to move more. The impact of being sedentary is more devastating than you may realise.

As humans, we are designed to move. Stand up and move as frequently as possible during the day. Get extra movement into your day by simply walking around while making phone calls, using a small water bottle so you need to get up and refill it often, choosing the furthest car park away. Join a gym, yoga class or sports team and participate regularly.

Spinal movement in particular is very important for brain health and therefore overall health and function. Your local chiropractor is highly trained in identifying stress in the skeletal and the nervous systems. Getting checked and adjusted by your chiropractor can help to re-establish better movement, reduce stress, assist your body to better cope with stress and help to improve health.

See your local chiropractor for regular appointments if optimal health is important to you.

Dr James MacKay is a chiropractor at HealthGuard Wellness and a member of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia.

Topics:  chiropractor mindfulness relaxation stress

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