Ways to Reduce Stress

 

 Listen to Music

When you feel stressed, try listening to calming music. Music has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain and body. It can lower your blood pressure, your heart rate and it also has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in your body can lead to impaired cognitive performance, suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia, decreased bone density, decrease in muscle tissue, lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and increased abdominal fat.

 

  1. Call a Friend

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, use a lifeline – call a friend! Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and being able to unburden yourself with someone you trust can put everything in perspective. You don’t have to be on the phone for a long period – just hearing a friendly voice will make things better.


  1. Take a Deep Breath

Our stressed out lifestyles have led to decreased deep breathing and more shallow breathing, which puts stress on our bodies due to a lack of oxygen. If you have the time, try this easy 3 to 5 minute exercise: sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. When you are finished,  you will find your mind is clearer and your stress is decreased.

How to Be Happy

Remember the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”  by Bobby McFerrin?  The lyrics suggest that we can be happy no matter our circumstances. That is possible if you work to have the following things in your life, even when life is giving you lemons.

Happy Step 1 – Having a purpose

Humans are driven creatures.  We want to be moving forward, be going places, be a success in life. But to do that, we have to have a goal. It doesn’t have to be a grand goal, and you don’t need to have your life planned out for the next 5, 10 and 20 years. Just knowing what you want to accomplish each day, and it be something that makes you feel like you are worthy and giving to others is all you need to have a sense of happiness. Figure out what you want to do with each day, and go for it.

 

Happy Step 2 – Spend time with people who “get” you

Humans are relational creatures in addition to being driven.  We like to run in packs with like minded people.  People who are not moving towards the same goal can drain the happiness right out of us.  Try to find people each day to interact with who are positive and have the same likes and desires that you do.  It will help you to fend off the negative energy from people you have to be around – the happiness drainers.

 

Happy Step 3 – Enrich others lives

Humans like to make others feel better and like to see others improving.  Each of us has something that we can share with another to either make them laugh or improve their knowledge.  Tell someone who is down a funny story, share a video from You Tube, or share something you know with them that they don’t  ( how chiropractic care can help them to feel better is a good place to start!). Besides helping your fellow man, you will be making yourself happy because you will feel like you have a purpose and you matter.

Do you have “Hidden Allergies?

We all know that sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose is something people with allergies must deal with. However, what about symptoms like sinus and migraine headaches, fatigue, depression, skin issues, IBS, or digestive issues? Could these be caused by allergies also?

The answer to that question is yes!

When the immune system and other parts of the central nervous system are overridden by chemical stressors in the environment they have a tendency to over react on a frequent basis. This over reaction is better known as a symptom. And, these symptoms are not limited to just runny noses, coughing or sneezing. New research is now pointing to the idea that allergic reactions or chemical hypersensitivities may be at the root of these and other common conditions.

Leo Galland, MD, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine in New York City and author of “Power Healing” point out that people with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and similar conditions exhibit an over reactive immune system. “I believe that being an allergic individual predisposes you to chronic fatigue syndrome,” says Galland. “Chronic fatigue syndrome seems to be associated with an over-reactivity of certain parts of the immune system, which is similar to what we see in people with allergies.” He goes on further to say, “Mold allergy is an important cause of fatigue and muscle aches. A significant proportion of people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have mold sensitivity.” Scientists have now discovered that mood and behavior is closely linked to the presence of allergies. There is a good deal of evidence pointing to direct biochemical processes connecting hypersensitivities, aka allergies with mood and behavior problems like depression, ADD, ADHD, etc. Chemical hypersensitivities cause stress on the nervous system, and when it is stressed out and under performing any number of symptoms can arise. Many doctors are behind the times and do not give credit to this cause and effect relationship, which therefore leads to misdiagnosis and overuse of prescription and over the counter medications.

Instead of ignoring the problem, medicating the symptom, or practicing avoidance, there are more natural and holistic ways to deal with this stress on your nervous system.  Give The Gibson Center a call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Jean to learn more about what she has to offer to help you overcome these symptoms.

Summertime Blues? You’re Not Alone!

Chances are good that you’ve heard the term “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)” before.  And you probably even know someone—perhaps a family member, friend or colleague—whose quality of life suffers as a result of this condition during the winter months.  This happens because their pineal gland produces less serotonin (a “happy hormone”) during shorter days with less daylight, causing depression and listlessness.

But did you know that SAD has a summer equivalent as well?  Studies performed on subjects who live in countries close to the equator have found that people do indeed suffer from SAD in the summer months, even without the more extreme seasonal changes in daylight hours that come with living closer to the poles.  Although “Summer SAD” is thought to affect only 1% of the population, it is nevertheless a very real health phenomenon.  For some people, the seasonal change to summer can cause depression, agitation and irritability.  Why?  The reasons are many and mixed.

High Temperatures and High Humidity

Increased heat and humidity can make it more difficult to sleep and to be active.  Even chores like shopping and cooking can become more difficult.  Ongoing discomfort and loss of appetite make it harder to enjoy life.

Changes in Routine

We are also very much creatures of habit, and changes to our daily routines and circadian rhythms (which are responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, among other functions) can upset our balance.  During the summer months, kids are home from school.  This means that households often go to sleep and wake up at different times and must adapt to new schedules.  In the midst of all that, many families also choose to take their annual vacation during these months, which further complicates life—especially if there’s travel involved.  Your habits of sleep, work and meals can change radically in the summer months.

Fewer Clothes to Hide Behind

Then there’s the issue of body image.  During the cooler months, those of us who do not still maintain the body of an active 20-year-old can cover up our various bumps and bulges in loose sweaters.  Not so in the summer!  Even a modest bathing suit at the beach reveals more than many of us would like.  And many people starve themselves in an effort to get their “bikini body” back for their two-week holiday at the beach, adding to the summer stress their bodies must endure.

The Summertime Financial Crunch

Finally, the financial strain that a summer vacation puts on the budget can also take its toll for many families.  In addition, many working parents have to pay for childcare in the summer, or have to fork out a significant sum for camp, so summer is not always the best time for a family financially.  This only increases the stress and rates of summer depression.  And for families who can’t afford either childcare option, three solid months of having the kids at home all day can drive even the most patient parent up a wall.

What to Do?

To combat summer depression, there are a number of things you can do.  First, be sure you give yourself sufficient sleep and exercise.  It’s tempting to stay up later than usual in the summer months, but remember that eight hours of sleep a night are necessary for most people to function at their best.  If it’s too hot to exercise, try exercising late at night or early in the morning before things heat up.  You can also join an air-conditioned gym for a couple of months until things cool down.

Eat a sensible, balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, which help to keep you hydrated while providing important nutrients.  Don’t try to lose a bunch of weight all at once.  Planning ahead is your best option, since you can put away a little extra money every month toward your summer holiday AND also gradually lose any excess weight before beach season without putting unnecessary stress on your body.  Finally, have some fun!  Call a friend to come over and join you to share a movie in your air-conditioned house or go out for exotic cocktails with your partner.  The good news is that summer depression can be prevented or managed with a just little advance planning.

Those who suffer from summer SAD often find that the symptoms disappear with the return of fall and a more “normal” lifestyle rhythm.  However, if you find that your depression continues well after the season begins to turn, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor.  As chiropractic physicians, we work closely with our patients to develop and maintain healthy lifestyle habits year-round.  This is the key to preventing many common illnesses and enjoying a higher quality of life at the same time.  If you have questions about your own health and wellness, please call our office.  We’ll be happy to help!

What is Hypochondria?

The term hypochondria (also called hypochondriasis) is defined as having an abnormal anxiety about one’s health. Someone with hypochondria (a hypochondriac) will believe that they are seriously ill, despite reassurances from medical professionals and medical tests that prove they are perfectly well. It is classified as a psychosomatic disorder, meaning it is a mental illness that has physical symptoms.

A hypochondriac may become anxious from perfectly normal bodily functions such as sweating, bowel movements or feeling their pulse. He or she may blow minor ailments out of proportion and feel that a runny nose or sore spot is an indication of a serious or even  life-threatening disease. Many with hypochondria may focus on one area of the body, or on a particular disease they dread getting. For example, some hypochondriacs will feel that each little pain they experience is due to cancer.

Because most people with hypochondria will visit their general practitioner rather than a mental health expert, the exact number of people with the condition is not known. However, experts estimate that between 0.8% and 8.5% of adults in America suffer from hypochondria.

Most people at one point or another in their lives have a minor ailment that they feel may indicate a serious illness. This is perfectly normal. However, if there is a preoccupying fear of illness that lasts longer than 6 months, it is an indication that hypochondria may be a problem.

Many individuals who suffer from hypochondria also have a concurrent mental disorder. In approximately 60% of cases of hypochondria, the person also has obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.

It is common for hypochondriacs to experience what is referred to as “white coat syndrome.” This is where the patient experiences increased blood pressure, stress and anxiety when in the presence of a doctor or in a medical facility. To get accurate blood pressure measurements, patients sometimes have to take their own while at home or in another non-medical setting.

Hypochondria generally begins in early adulthood, often after an illness or the illness or death of a close friend or family member. Exposure to high stress can also trigger the syndrome. Mental health experts say that hypochondriacs tend to be self-critical, narcissistic and/or perfectionists.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating hypochondria in many cases. This allows the patient to address their symptoms and learn ways of coping with them when they come up.