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Stress and anxiety often seem like unfortunate features of modern life. The demands made on us in our personal and professional lives trigger responses in the body that affect both our mental and physical states. When the pressure doesn’t let up, this state of chronic stress can gradually wear down your well-being. However, understanding the physical effects of stress can help lessen its impact and point the way to natural ways to cope with it.
When you face a stressful situation, your body reacts by releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which in the short term elevate your heart rate, raise your sugar levels, tense your muscles, and weaken your immune system. These reactions prime your body for “flight or fight”—literally giving you the energy to either run away or face the trouble in front of you.
Unfortunately, many of the stressors we face these days aren’t resolved with physical action. If this happens only occasionally, it isn’t particularly harmful, even if it feels uncomfortable. However, when that natural stress response is provoked again and again, the cumulative strain it produces has a detrimental effect on your whole body.
The increased demand on your heart can increase your blood pressure and even raise your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. You may experience stomach pain, nausea, and other digestive disorders, and long-term elevation in glucose levels may increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Chronic muscle tension can give you migraines as well as pain in your back, shoulders, or elsewhere in your body.
The constant flood of stress hormones can also weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and making it harder to recover if you do get sick. In addition, stress interferes with your natural sleep cycle as well as your memory and concentration. The constant feeling of being on edge and anxious can turn into a vicious cycle where your mental state fuels the physical stress reaction that is wearing you down.
Thankfully, stress is not an inescapable state of being. Some key healthy habits can help you break out of a period of chronic stress and support ongoing good health in the future. These include:
Proper nutrition: When you’re stressed, you may not feel like eating at all, or you may turn to foods you know are unhealthy. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help alleviate the inflammatory effects of chronic stress. Supplements, such as Standard Process whole food supplements, can provide the body with what it may be lacking due to a lack of digestion or not enough nutrient-dense foods. Our Nutrition Response Testing will analyze what your body needs for more effective strengthening and healing.
Regular exercise: Exercise boosts your endorphins, neurochemicals that help reduce pain and stress. It also reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol, helping rid your system of excess stress hormones.
Restful sleep: Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep and getting the recommended amount can help reduce the inflammation associated with chronic stress and anxiety. Prioritizing proper sleep hygiene, as well as treatments such as our BEMER PEMF therapy, can help you get the restorative rest you need.
Physical relaxation: Alleviating the muscular tension that accompanies stress and anxiety can help improve your mental and physical state. Therapeutic massage and NovoTHOR photobiomodulation therapy are both effective treatments for reducing stiffness and pain in your muscles, reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of stress.
Social connection: Stress and anxiety are exacerbated when we feel alone in our struggles. Reaching out to others for help and support can help ease negative feelings.
If you’ve been struggling with chronic stress and anxiety, the Natural Healing Center can help. We know that physical and mental health are interdependent—you must treat them as a unified whole to achieve lasting balance and improved well-being. We take the time to investigate the cause of your symptoms and devise an individualized treatment plan that will reduce your stress and promote healthy habits for ongoing wellness. To find out more about our treatments or to schedule a free introductory consultation, contact us here.