Not all stress is “bad stress,” in fact stressors such as exercise, meaningful work, and an emotional conversation with a person you trust can all be good for our bodies. This type of stress is; infrequent, short lived, and moves one toward a meaningful outcome or goal and is called Eustress.
Another type of stress that is ongoing, leaves you feeling defeated and is repetitive is called Distress. This Distress can become chronic over time if your body is unable to recover and rebuild.
Whether your stress is physical, mental, emotional, existential, relational or environmental our body is working with the priority of getting back to its baseline or homeostasis. When it cannot reach homeostasis, you are unable to recover. This type of chronic stress is related to increased cortisol levels, feeling overwhelmed often, shortness of breath, exhaustion, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and feelings of a pounding in the chest. These are all characteristics of prolonged stress that can leave one feeling wired, tired, fatigued or worried depending on the circumstances and your response. This prolonged stress leads to increased inflammation in the body and is a factor in widespread illness and disease.
Knowing your stressors and learning what brings about stress relief for yourself is crucial for your body to recover. Simply walking outside leisurely for 20 minutes, mindfully taking deep breaths for several minutes, stretching, lifting weights, laughing or enjoying time with a someone you trust are all examples of stress relief.
Nutrition also plays an important role in stress relief. A balanced diet rich in colorful vegetables, antioxidants and lean protein will give our body the tools it needs to repair the damage caused by responding to a stressor of any kind. Proper nutrition paired with adequate sleep (7-8 hours/night) are the top two priorities in reducing our total stress or what is called the Allostatic stress load.
Lastly, there are key herbal supplements from Metagenics that are designed for specific types of stress and can be useful in regulating our stress response and recovery. Talk to your Doctor of Chiropractic today about an herbal stress relief that can help you reach your goals.