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The Impact of Chronic Stress During the Holiday Season

People in the Southeast Houston, Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City, and Pearland areas keep asking me about: The Impact of Chronic Stress During the Holiday Season

Bottom Line:

Believe it or not stress can actually be a good thing. If we're lifting something challenging in the gym, trying to finish your holiday race and are running on fumes, or even just picking up our kids who are doing dead weight because they don't want to go with you, stress can actually help. It can increase your heart rate, increase muscle tension and prepare your body to move, and focus the mind and body on the task at hand to help you escape unharmed.

Usually what we see today is most people are living in a state of stress all the time. That's going to impact your mood, your breathing patterns, your muscle tension, and also performance whenever you're trying to interact with the real world. Do you remember the last time a car came into your lane and your heart rate went through the roof? That is an acute stress response in action.

Your brain and body respond to negative stress whether it's real or imagined and chronic stress can have a profound impact on your health.

Why it Matters:

Remember, in the short term, acute stress can be a good thing. It helps us react quickly. Your brain tells your adrenal glands to release hormones (chemicals) that help your body respond in an instant.

If, however, that stress continues, you may slip into chronic stress mode, which can wreak havoc on your brain and body.

What's more, the symptoms of chronic pain and chronic stress overlap and often feed into each other.

Did you know…

  • Chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep problems, and potentially more

  • Chronic stress can impact your breathing patterns whether you're aware of it or not and that can lead to increased tension in or around your neck, decreased efficiency when you're out training for the Christmas 10K, or impact the way your diaphragm and your pelvis behave when you're trying to lift weights or your kids off the floor

  • Stress, pain, and inflammation are all connected by the stress hormone cortisol.

  • Spinal adjustments may be able to decrease your cortisol level.

Next Steps:

We repeat, emerging research has shown that chiropractic care, specifically spinal adjustments, may help to decrease your body’s overall stress level. The biomechanical factors are not the only way to tackle the problem though. You have to start thinking about tackling the problem mentally as well.

Be sure to keep an eye on your stress level this holiday season. If you start to feel it rising, we hope you’ll give us a call and make an appointment for a tension relieving, soothing adjustment. Maybe it's time to start your New Year’s resolution early and try meditation or just reset your breathing pattern. Develop new habits that are going to keep you healthy, happy, and functioning all holiday season long with your friends and family!

Let’s work together to keep that stress from becoming chronic and making sure you can enjoy the holidays!

Science Source(s):

Stress Management. Mayo Clinic. 2020.

Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: Stress Management. Physical Therapy. 2014.

Reduction of Cortisol Levels in a Patient Undergoing Chiropractic Management. JCC. 2020.

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