Thursday, May 13, 2010
Stress and the Mind-Body Connection
"The only difference between a diamond and a lump of coal is that the diamond had a little more pressure put on it." anonymous
Stress is defined as a nonspecific response of the body to any demand. This can be positive (like the birth of a baby) or negative (like the death of a loved one).
Stress isn't limited to what goes on externally, but what occurs internally in our bodies as well. Stress is an actual biological process that begins in the brain and that spreads through the nervous system causing hormone release and eventually exerting an effect on the immune system.
Stress can actually make us sick!
Researchers have found that, just as various factors lead to stress, various factors enable people to cope better with it. Basic factors that reduce the ability to cope include: genetic susceptibility to depression, insomnia, poor diet, obesity, unrealistic goal setting, smoking, finances....
So how can we protect our bodies from the negative impacts of stress? We certainly can't change our genes!
The first thing we can do is to face the stress head-on. Recognize it, and get ready to deal with it.
Here are a few other ideas from cardiologist Robert S. Eliot and others on how you can protect yourself from stress:
1) Be kind to yourself. Do something nice for yourself everyday. Take the time to soak in a warm bath, take a walk, call an old friend.
2) Learn to laugh at yourself, humour is medicine!
3) Once at work try the following strategies: pair up with people you like. Instead of having the phone control you, control it. Block out times during the day to return calls. Delegate as much work as you can. Do what you can to reduce environmental stress at work (temperature, noise, etc.) And, at least once a day, concentrate on doing at least one task - no matter how small - that brings you satisfaction.
Lastly, take time to treat yourself kindly. See your ND, Osteopath, RMT, DC for regular treatments. Treat your body well and it will be more adaptable to stress when you encounter it.
In good health,
Dr. Stacey Welton, ND