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Chasing the Tiger (Stress)

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If you took a moment to observe the way your body feels right now, would you notice that you are stressed?

We all know that stress can make us feel pretty uncomfortable: racing heart, sweaty palms, sore stomach, tense or sore muscles. So why does our body do this and when does this natural reaction become detrimental to our health?

Your body’s inborn stress response is in fact a survival mechanism. When our human brains first developed, we needed a strong survival instinct to help us overcome environmental challenges. If you were being chased by a tiger for example – all of your body’s resources were needed to help you run away as fast as possible. Those humans, whose bodies could respond quickly, were the humans who survived.

Fast-forward to our busy modern lives, we are no longer being chased by tigers BUT we are faced with stressful situations much more frequently than our ancestors were. Although our brains have developed tremendously over the last millennia, our inborn stress response and survival mechanisms have remained the same.

Our stress responses are a natural bodily reaction to an external event – being cut off in traffic, running late for a meeting, being asked to speak in front of your class, managing children, or even COVID Lockdowns.

Your body’s innate stress response is specific to YOU. You may feel it physically, emotionally, mentally or even behaviourally.

 

Physical symptoms
Emotional symptoms
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased sweating
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Tense, achy muscles
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infection
  • Clenched jaw or grinding teeth
  • Being agitated, frustrated or moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loss of control
  • Having difficulty switching off
  • Low self-esteem
  • Avoiding others
Mental symptoms
Behavioural symptoms
  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganisation
  • Inability to focus
  • Pessimism
  • Poor judgement
  • Changes in appetite – either eating too much  or too little
  • Procrastination and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Nail biting, fidgeting and pacing

 

What’s the secret of being un-stressed?

Every single person will have experienced some of those symptoms in their lifetime. Some may even be experiencing them right now!

The biggest secret about stress is that it’s NORMAL. Every single human on earth WILL experience stress in their lifetime and when it is occurring at a manageable rate, it is actually fundamental to our growth and development.

Stress only becomes dangerous when we are not having enough rest in between the activation of our stress response. When our body is functioning on high alert all the time, when we start chasing the tiger instead of it chasing us, our bodies begin to break down. How would your car function if you drove with the accelerator flat to the floor the whole time?

The secret to stress management, is not to avoid all stress – that’s impossible!

It’s time to stop chasing the tiger.

Add a few things in to your day that allow your stress response to switch off. For example; deep breathing, stretching, walking, laughing, sleeping, exercising, chiropractic care (of course!)

Chances are, anything you love to do that you know is good for your body – switches off your stress response. Because when we are not stressed and when we are not experiencing these symptoms our bodies generally feel good!

So, if your practitioner told you that the best remedy for stress is to do more of what you love – what are you going to include in your day today that makes you feel good?

 

If you’d like to find out more on how you can manage your stress, call us to find out how.

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