Simple Everyday Stress Relief that Protects
Your Long-Term Health & Wellbeing
“If you think you can’t afford to give yourself the time to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health, ask yourself whether you can afford the time it takes to be sick.”
Accumulated stress takes a heavy toll on our physical health and conditioning, reducing our immunity to seasonal colds, as well as major disease. It also affects our mental and emotional well-being, leading to poor performance at school, home and work, anxiety, depression, broken relationships and many other problems.
Most of the clients visiting the clinic talk about the busy-ness of their lives and the ongoing stress they are under, when discussing their health with their practitioner. Many of these issues are embedded in their family and work circumstances and cannot be easily changed. However, what can be changed is your attitude to stress, and the small daily actions that will help you release the impact of your stressors on your mind and body.
When Was the Last Time You Thought About Where in Your Body You Were Showing Signs of Stress?
As I mentioned above, the build up of stress leads to many unpleasant physical, mental and emotional consequences that end up lowering your performance, satisfaction, and immunity, as well as your ability to cope with life and challenges. Sickness costs you large amounts of time, energy and money.
As a business owner and mother, I totally understand the need to work hard and the never-ending demands on your time and energy. However, I also understand that letting this tension build up and accumulate (because you don’t make time to take care of yourself) becomes self-defeating.
Last month, I was able to take my first long break (2 weeks) in several years. That long delayed break from my normal routine made me aware of the many ways that stress has built up in my body without my really noticing it. I finally gave myself a chance to remember what it feels like to be relaxed and how much more resistance I now have to coughs, colds, and other germs… in other words, how amazing it feels to be me!
So, here are four(4) things you can do to release stress and tension every day and stop (or reverse) the build up:-
1) Check in on your thinking. When we’re caught up in the whirl of daily life all our activities seem essential. When we use words like ‘must’ and ’should’ instead of ‘want’ and ‘choose’ we negatively affect the energy we bring to our tasks. It is important to ask yourself a few questions about each project and activity on your calendar: What is the purpose of this? Why is this important to me? Is it worthwhile? If your answer to these questions for an activity is positive then make sure that you use positive language to express your choice. It may seem like a small thing, but saying to yourself “I want to go and collect my husband from the airport,” or “I choose to go to work today,” instead of negative phrasing can change your feeling about the activity and about life.
2) Check in on your body. You don’t actually need to go on holiday to release the tension you are carrying in your body, but you do need to take some time to pay attention to how you feel. When you increase your awareness of how your muscles feel, how and where you are breathing, you’ll pick up the tension clues before they express themselves in outbursts of anger or other emotions, over-indulgence in foods you should avoid, or sickness. When you notice tension or pain in any area of your body you can mindfully breathe into that part, soften your muscles, and with practice, release it in just a few minutes.
3) What does your skin say? Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and for most people it is one of the best indicators of health and disease. Rashes and other breakouts, dryness, wrinkles, itchiness, and other problems are a sign that something within you isn’t properly balanced and using cosmetic acupuncture to work on your skin health isn’t a sign of vanity, but of wisdom because you’re not just treating the symptoms, but working on the cause and seeing the results.
4) Other people’s perspective. When you’re inside a problem that is causing you stress it is often hard to see it from any other angle but your own. Sometimes the mere act of putting your problem into words for another person is enough to make you aware of the solution. However, you will almost always get good advice from others who are outside the tangle of emotions and stress and they will often help you to find solutions faster.
Unless you acknowledge that you are (or might be) feeling extra stress and tension, you won’t make much of an effort to identify and release it. Ignoring any problem rarely makes it disappear, in fact, it usually exacerbates it. The steps above may seem simple, but they do make a difference because they encourage you to think about the actions you can control, rather than the results that you may not be able to control.
Stress can manifest in a variety of ways.
Skin problems? Digestive issues? Sleep difficulties?
Everyone experiences stress, yet not everyone experiences the same symptoms. In fact, your own symptoms can change over time, or even change with the kind of stress you are experiencing. Physical stress, emotional stress, pressure at work or school… it’s impossible to avoid stressors completely, so it’s wise to learn how to deal with them.
Common manifestations of stress include skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, digestive issues ranging from constipation or diarrhoea to bloating, indigestion and IBS, fertility problems and hormonal imbalance. This is not to say that stress is the only cause of these conditions, but simply that stress exacerbates them, and can certainly be a contributing cause.
People attempt to cope with stress in different ways. Exercising and exploring creative pursuits such as dance or music are examples of positive ways of addressing stress. Negative coping mechanisms include junk food and overeating for example.
Chinese medicine treatment may be able to assist with your stress and can be used to help you navigate through stressful situations in your life, in conjunction with positive coping mechanisms.
Acupuncture and Stress
According to the Chinese philosophy of the human body, stress causes blockages in your energy flow, which may be released by acupuncture allowing your body to relax. The flight or fight response determines how an individual reacts to a stressful occurrence. If a person is generally aggravated they become more agitated when faced with stressful situations. Have you ever noticed how much more rested and relaxed you feel after an acupuncture session? That’s because acupuncture releases endorphins, a chemical receptor that reduces the perception of pain and induces a state of relaxation. Every time you are able to release stress, you can help your body cope better with the particular symptoms you experience. Where appropriate we prescribe herbal medicines to support your body’s stress response for longer.
So Be Mindful of Stress Levels
Many people are unaware of the level of stress they are actually experiencing, so they don’t take adequate care of themselves until they are actually sick, or suffering more severe symptoms. It’s important to make time to care for yourself and to incorporate self-care strategies into your life. As they say, “Prevention is better than cure.”
When you are feeling stressed, take time to identify your stressors and make a plan to change the things you can change and cope with the things that cannot be altered. Most of all remember to be kind to yourself.
We recommend that you make an appointment to talk with one of our practitioners to discuss how we can help you.