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Breaking The Stress Cycle

By Jeff Ptak, DC

Your boss is getting on your nerves. You have to get a project finished, but the phone keeps ringing. You still have not met the right person to marry to have the children you want so badly, or you have children that are so bad you hardly want them. Your car breaks down; your bills are piling up; your inlaws are coming to dinner; your mother says she never sees you anymore; you are overwhelmed by your cholesterol count, your sodium intake, your sugar intake, and your fat intake. YOU’VE GOT STRESS!!!

There is simply no escaping it. Our lives and the world we live in are loaded with stress. More than 66% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related disorders. Each week, 112 million people take medication for stress-related disorders. Job stress costs American industry more than $150 billion yearly in absenteeism, lost productivity, accidents, and medical insurance.

It is worth noting that some stress may be good. Many people are more alert, more productive, and consequently happier and healthier with a certain amount of stress. Beyond that, however, it stops contributing to your ability to function and starts inhibiting it.

Stress is a double-edged sword. “Things going wrong” produce stress and in turn cause more things to go wrong. Stress over an extended period of time can make you quit your job or lead to depression or to drugs and alcohol. All of these can and will certainly affect your ability to perform, your ability to earn money, and your quality of life.

We all need to do more to overcome the effects of stress. We have to learn to find balance in our work and personal lives. Certainly there are some things that you simply cannot do anything about such as the unexpected death of a loved one, natural disasters, and accidents. However, everyone can and should carefully examine their lives and make an honest attempt to reduce the stressproducing circumstances that make unnecessary demands upon them. Determine which things you can do something about and concentrate your time and energy on them rather than on things you cannot control. We need to emphasize wellness, relaxation, and positive thinking, whatever the circumstance.

Chiropractic should also play an important role in your stress management. When a stress-inducing event occurs, muscles contract, breathing becomes faster and deeper, heart rate increases, and digestion is halted. Continually contracted muscles cause subluxation, which lowers your ability to deal with stress. Of course, just as different situations produce varying amounts of stress for different people, different stress management techniques will have varying degrees of effectiveness. Some people may benefit from exercise while others respond to meditation, deep breathing, or spending time on an enjoyable hobby. Chiropractic, however, can work for everyone because it reduces nerve system stress. Reducing nerve system stress allows the body to adapt to our daily stress overloads more efficiently.

Chiropractic care, positive thinking, and other stress management techniques can create a sense of well-being and lead to a longer, more productive, happier, and healthier life.