How important is mental health to overall well-being? So much so that this year’s World Health Day focused its theme on depression, its pervasiveness around the globe, and how it can be just as debilitating as a physical disease. Derived from life’s demands, pressures, and even constant digital stimuli, the mental anguish that underlies depression is often fueled by such stress and anxiety. Left unchecked, stress can create knots of negativity that undermine mental well-being.
How can a little stress create such major problems? Our bodies struggle to draw the line between major stressors and minor ones; between annoyances and full-on threats. Whether it’s a slow commute or a sobbing child, a computer virus or a stomach bug, the stress reaction triggers a “fight or flight” response that floods the body with adrenaline and hijacks a critical part of our brain. Stress can make smart people do stupid things: clouding our thinking, draining our energy, screwing with our sleep, and even aging us prematurely if left unchecked. We may experience tension headaches and upset stomachs. Worse, the shallow breathing of stress raises heart rate and blood pressure raising our risk for heart disease and stroke. No wonder there’s an expression about taking “a chill pill.”
We can grow numb to stress with enough exposure. Often the daily pressures and irritations of life begin to seem like “the new normal” and cease to faze us. We may not initially realize how much they’re undermining our mental, emotional, and physical health until it manifests as a rash decision, an impulsive outburst, or even an unwanted medical diagnosis.
The good news: We can rewire our stress response to put ourselves back in the driver’s seat, bringing the brain, heart, and nervous system back into alignment. Millions of us use the “binge and purge” approach to stress: letting it build up all day, burying it inside, and waiting for an evening yoga class or the weekend. This doesn’t work — the stress response has already activated. Handling stress in the moment is the best strategy and we can best accomplish this with positive thinking. That doesn’t mean suppressing or ignoring the stress; rather, it means approaching it head-on with pleasant thoughts, supportive self-talk, and high hopes.
In our next post, we will explore ways to cultivate the habit of positive thinking and its beneficial potential to grow stronger with practice to create a sturdier scaffold for overall health. Our acupuncture and chiropractic care also supports your well-being, recognizing and honoring the strong mind-body connection in a way that few medical clinics do.
Natural Health Chiropractic & Acupuncture serves the residents of Rochester, New York and the surrounding areas. Our location in Gates is conveniently located just off I-390 with easy access and plentiful parking. Easy to get to from Greece, Spencerport, Chili, and Henrietta.Leave a reply →