Holistic Weight Loss for LIfe / Palm Coast Acupuncture & Wellness

Recovering from Setbacks: STRESS

When we fall off, get back up and keep going.

It’s going to happen to us all eventually; despite our honest intentions.

We all fall off the health wagon. It’s usually due to stress, or our response to stressful situations.

Stress affects the body in many different ways, ways you don’t even realize.

Imagine this: You’re in a field hunting game and gathering fruit. It’s a sunny day, the wind is blowing, and you feel good. You spot some yummy blueberry bushes and walk over to nibble on a few of them. They taste sun-kissed and delicious. You’re surveying the land, looking for other fruit trees and bushes when all of a sudden…you spot a tiger on the horizon. You see this tiger slowly approaching you..stalking you. It’s licking its lips, ready for a tasty meal. Your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid to increase oxygen flow. Blood flow redirects to your extremities, preparing for either flight or fight. Your blood pressure increases; other processes in your body, such as digestion, slow down. Your vision sharpens, and your mind becomes clear. This is known as a stress response, which is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response. It is a biological response to something that threatens your survival.  

Back in your life: imagine that same reaction happening in your body and mind, except there is no tiger. There’s just your boss, screaming at you from the top of their lungs about the work you just haven’t done yet.

This is the stress cascade; a normal biological human response to a life-threatening event. Only in today’s environment, the life-threatening event has fewer sharp teeth involved. You see, the only thing that’s changed is the tiger/boss. Your body will STILL react the same way; no matter what the stressor is. (We will learn how to recognize these effects and work through them in another article: awareness).

When unchecked or not managed properly, stress can lead to many health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Stress eating can also lead to obesity, which also leads down the same path to diabetes and hypertension. Stress can cause headaches, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, among other things.

Common effects of stress

With our ancestors, the tiger was either slain or it moved on to bigger prey. Or we got eaten! (yikes). In today’s society, we tend to carry our proverbial tigers around with us. We think about things constantly, our minds race at night, we have indigestion, heartburn, and insomnia. We have a hard time letting go of the events that made our bodies react this way. In truth, there are many parts to healing from trauma. Today we are focusing on stress, how it affects your body, and what you can do about it.

STEP 1: Break the chain of thoughts

Picture yourself not being able to sleep at night. You lie in bed, tossing and turning. You’re getting frustrated and angry because all you can think about is your boss screaming at you. Doesn’t he know you did your best? Doesn’t he know your son’s birthday is tomorrow and you had a big party planned? Why didn’t you stick up for yourself? You’re a terrible human being. And the mind goes on and on…

Stop. Take a deep breath in. Break the chain of thoughts; breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel that breath go to various parts of your body; your fingers, toes, and top of your head. Feel your muscles start to relax. Let go as best you can. Let your shoulders come down from your ears, and keep breathing slowly and deeply. This is step one.

By breaking the cycle, you are allowing life-giving oxygen to enter your lungs, relaxing your muscles, and lowering your blood pressure. Your mind calms. You can think more clearly, and stop the proverbial tigers from chasing you.

Step 2 - develop a daily meditation practice.

It doesn’t have to be an hour in a darkened room; it could be 5 minutes of stillness while the coffee brews in the morning or some deep breathing before you get out of bed in the morning. For those of you that wish to explore daily meditation further, here are a few good places to start. (If you need further help, read our article: How to meditate in 3 easy steps).

Guided Meditation For Anxiety & Stress, Beginning Meditation, Guided Imagery Visualization

Guided Meditation - Blissful Deep Relaxation

All 9 Solfeggio Frequencies Healing Music 》Meditative Mind

Common side effects of stress

Stress can manifest in the way of headaches, anxiety, overeating, undereating, sleeplessness, depression, muscle tension, aches and pains, digestive issues, and emotional issues such as anger, emotional outbursts, and uncontrolled sobbing. It’s amazing the effect our emotional and mental states can have on our bodies. Until we resolve these stressors or let go of these feelings, these symptoms can remain. Resolving stress can mean facing the truth about a situation, and leaving a job to pursue another career; letting go of feelings of hurt, mistrust, and betrayal will go a long way to your recovery.

Ways to manage stress

We all have stress in our lives. It’s often our reaction to stressors that dictate the way we feel. Taking steps to manage your stress/stressors can have many health benefits. Some recommendations are:

  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or massage. Acupuncture too of course!
  • Keeping a sense of humor. Try to see the light even in the dark.
  • Spending time with family and friends. Hugs boost your immune system.
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music, or doing the things you really enjoy.

Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Research shows that non-active ways to manage stress — such as watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games — may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.

And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol, and the use of illegal substances.

When to seek help

If you're unsure if stress is the cause or if you've taken steps to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. If you feel as though you are in danger or others are in danger as a result of your stress, seek immediate care. Your healthcare provider may want to check for other potential causes. Or consider seeing a professional counselor or therapist, who can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.

Also, get emergency help immediately if you have chest pain, especially if you also have shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, sweating, dizziness, or nausea. These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.

To learn more about how Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine can help you and to schedule an appointment, please visit our website at https://palmcoastacupuncture.com/acupuncture/.

If you’re not local to the Palm Coast area, we invite you to search for an acupuncturist in your area to help you on your wellness journey. You can find a qualified licensed acupuncturist by searching your area at: https://www.nccaom.org/find-a-practitioner-directory/

 

 

How Dr. Heather Schuerlein Can Help.

As a trusted Acupuncture provider for Palm Coast, the health of our community is important to us. Dr. Schuerlein has provided Acupuncture services to thousands of patients in both Florida and New York and is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy by providing quality, affordable acupuncture care.

So whether you have medical insurance or not we can help provide a treatment plan and payment plan that can help you get the care you need.

Dr. Heather cares about your health journey and she takes a kind and caring approach to caring for all patients.  Your care options will be explained without judgment, but rather with gratitude that you are taking the first step towards improving your health, regardless of your current care or conditions. We see patients of all ages for acupuncture care, fertility care, acupoint injection and cosmetic acupuncture.

Written by Heather Schuerlein

Dr. Heather Schuerlein is a licensed acupuncture physician and doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine in the state of Florida. She combines her practical knowledge with over a decade of clinical experience to help guide her patients on their healthcare path.

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