This is turning out to be a pretty tough century. Or at least so far.
The recent earthquake-like shocks in the economy have impacted
everyone, and most people's stress levels are sky-high.
have been lost, retirement savings have shrunk drastically, and energy
prices are rising again. Economic stress leads to real physical stress.
Stress is more than just a state of mind. Stress has real
physical components, including tight muscles, headaches, difficulty
falling asleep and restless sleep, abdominal pain, allergies and
asthma, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
Some results of
stress may have long-term consequences. Prolonged high blood pressure,
for example, may lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Long-term inflammation may lead to weight gain, diabetes, and even
Of course, we could have stress because we have
stress. We're stressed, and now we begin worrying about all the things
that could go wrong because we are under stress. Not a good plan.
better plan would involve being proactive and beginning to take action
steps that support our health and well-being. The action steps include
the usual suspects - exercise and good nutrition. Everyone knows they
"should" be doing regular exercise and "should" be eating good food
every day, the difficulty is that no one wants to do what they
The way to reducing one's stress levels is in
choosing to take action. We choose healthy behaviors because we want to,
not because we think we "should". The concept of personal choice is
powerful and may lead to shifts toward behaviors that are healthy.
From an information point of view, both exercise and good nutrition have potent effects on a person's health.1,2,3
Both reduce inflammation. Both neutralize circulating free radicals,
reducing a number of health risks, and both provide new energy
resources, making us healthier and happier.
Choosing good health
improves our lives in countless ways. By choosing, we take back the
power of good health. Everyone in our lives benefits by our renewed
energy, creativity, productivity, and love for life.
program of chiropractic care is another positive choice we may make.
Chiropractic adjustments help our bodies work more efficiently and
effectively, directly reducing physiologic stress and indirectly
improving our ability to effectively manage the stress in our daily
Your chiropractor is an expert in health, wellness, and
well-being and will be glad to help you design exercises and food plans
that will work for you. Remember - being healthy is a choice!
LJ, et al: Effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on blood
pressure control: main results of the PREMIER clinical trial. JAMA
2Elmer PJ, et al: Effects of
comprehensive lifestyle modification on diet, weight, physical fitness,
and blood pressure control: 18-month results of a randomized trial. Ann
Intern Med 144(7):485-495, 2006
3Viera AJ, et al:
Lifestyle modifications to lower or control high blood pressure: is
advice associated with action? The behavioral risk factor surveillance
survey. J Clin Hypertens 10(2):105-111, 2008
Meditation - A Good Antidote to Stress
The notion of meditation brings to mind images of very healthy-looking
people sitting cross-legged on the floor. They are chanting or doing
deep breathing. Incense may be burning or small bells ringing.
Well, we may not like incense. We may never be able to get into those
pretzel-like positions. Chanting or deep breathing exercises may make
us feel weird.
Fortunately, meditation is not really like all
that. And, a regular meditation practice may help to significantly
reduce the effects of stress - both physically and mentally.
I could never sit still for half an hour," you say. "I could never
concentrate on one thing for thirty minutes at a time." Again,
fortunately you don't have to. The benefits of meditation can be
obtained from as little as ten minutes each day.
meditation is not about "concentrating on one thing". Your thoughts go
where they go. The only purpose of meditation is to notice your
thoughts, and return to a quiet place. In one popular form of
meditation, you focus on your breathing. Not deep breathing. Just
regular breathing - in and out. You focus on your breath. Your thoughts
go where they go, and you notice and gently bring your attention back
to the breath. That's it.
Sit comfortably in a chair with a firm
seat or on a mat. Focus on your breath and meditate for ten minutes.
This may not be the easiest thing to do at first, but you'll be
surprised at how easy this becomes. Make this a daily habit. You may
want to eventually add another ten-minute session. Soon, you'll notice
a decrease in your levels of stress and an improvement in your sense of
your own well-being.