Stress can rear its ugly head in many physical ways from your head to your toes. The stress symptoms themselves may become so bothersome that they just cause more stress which results in an overwhelmingly endless cycle. Or so it seems. I’m feeling stressed just talking about it. That is why I’d like to share with you some ways to stop those stress symptoms in their tracks and get you on the road to healthier, stress-free living.
- Heightened Risk of Illness: Chronic stress can actually weaken your immune system which you might think will just end up in an increased risk of catching the flu – which is true. However, when your immune system is working at less than full steam, other chronic issues like asthma, high blood pressure or IBS may worsen and become problematic. Even diabetes can be triggered by stress, according to Robin Molella, MD, a preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic. The Fix: Laugh. I’m serious. Most of your immune system is in your gut, but you also hold a lot of tension in your gut – which explains why your immune system suffers under stress. The act of laughter, even fake laughter, can release the tightness in your stomach and chest as well as activate your body’s natural disease-fighting cells. All of these things can help your immune system get back up to full throttle.
- Sore Shoulders: If you’re working too much, you might be stressing out more than your brain. Whether you work a desk job in front of a computer for hours upon hours or your job requires more heavy lifting, you could be putting a lot of added strain on your shoulders and back. The Fix: #1, try to find time to take a break. Step away from the computer or whatever you’ve been doing and walk it off. Shake loose and actively let go of the tension in your shoulders. #2, Stretch. The following classic yoga stretch in the morning and throughout the day will do the trick to keep your shoulders and back healthy, loose and pain-free: Yogi Jessica Bellofatto instructs, “Stand with right arm raised over your head, bend arm so elbow is pointing upward and right hand reaches behind your head. Extend left arm sideways, then lower it and reach upward behind your back; try to touch fingers together. Repeat stretch with left arm on top.”
- Bloating: If you’re too stressed for too long, your blood will respond in a healing way by flowing to areas of your body it thinks are under attack, but this often means your stomach and other digestive organs will get ignored. After all, your body’s instinctive response doesn’t think you would eat while you’re getting chased by a saber tooth tiger. The result is often poorly digested food which causes bloating, gas pains, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea and IBS. The Fix: Placing a hot water bottle on top of your tummy will help relax the muscle in your abdomen as well as the lining of your digestive organs which will also bring the blood back to your digestive area and relieve pain and bloating. Also, be sure to eat foods with plenty of fiber which will help regulate your digestive process.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
Image Credit: laughter by From Colette with Love. Used under a creative commons license.
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