In order to help you get through the holidays without becoming overwhelmed or stressed out, the Chiropractors at AICA Atlanta are here to show you how to use positive stress to your advantage.
At first glimpse, healthy stress may seem like an oxymoron—but it’s true, stress can be good for you in certain situations and certain doses.
Your body is able to respond to stress, and this has been one of the keys to our continued existence—but what good can it do for us in contemporary times?
Turns out, more than you may think.
Stress can activate physiological responses that we’re sure you’ve felt before; quickened breathing, sweaty palms or brow and increased heartbeat are some of the physical reactions humans have to stress. This reaction is an instinctive response that has been occurring for millions of years.
Basically, when the body experiences a shock or the mind perceives a threat, the body releases hormones that trigger “fight” or flee (“flight”) response.
Most modern humans don’t experience the same hazards our ancestors faced, but this natural response has now evolved into reactions to modern day stresses— illness, deadlines, traffic, work, arguments, etc.
We’ve all been informed that stress is bad for you—and it certainly can be, especially when it’s prolonged—but stress in restrained doses can actually have some pretty constructive effects.
Think about it: Do you work best under pressure? Need an imminent deadline to get something done? That’s stress motivating you to get things done!
Stress has also been shown to keep your mind sharp and improve memory and can push you toward achievement and success. (How did you feel after successfully completing a stressful task? Elated? Accomplished?
Would you have felt that way without the stress and that extra push to get it completed?) Also, the feeling people get when they’re attracted to another—butterflies—is actually a mixture of several different hormones, triggered by the release of your stress hormone!
And even further, some researchers believe that moderate levels or short surges of stress may help protect you from diseases like Alzheimer’s, by keeping your brain cells renewing and regenerating.
Medical researchers offer statistics from a study about stress—in this study, 30,000 Americans were tracked for eight years.
First, these participants were asked whether they thought stress was detrimental to them and then were asked if they experienced a lot of stress. Then, eight years later, the researchers accessed public death records to find which participants in the study had passed away (a bit morose, we know).
It turns out that those who experienced a lot of stress but believed that stress wasn’t bad for them had the lowest risk of dying (even lower than those who said they had very little stress!). This was compared to those who also had a lot of stress but believed stress was bad for them—this group had a 43 percent higher risk of dying.
The implications of that study are pretty spectacular; can the long-term, negative effects of stress seen in health issues, like high blood pressure, be moderated by changing how you view stress?
The research is certainly not irrefutable and it’s always hard to make such a big switch in how you think, but give this theory a chance. Visualize your stress as something that motivates you, helps your body, gears you up for action and gives you energy.
You can learn more about personal stress management by calling AICA Atlanta and scheduling a consultation.
We are available 24/7 and work with most insurance policies. Contact our team by filling out our online submission form or by calling us at (404) 889-8828.