The following article is from the Canadian Chiropractic Association website. Author: CCA Staff Team
Stress is the body’s natural response to external demands, both the good and the bad.1 It’s hard not to get overwhelmed between work, school, family, and other commitments. According to the World Health Organization, stress, particularly work-related stress, is the second-most common health problem.2 Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, diabetes, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, and clinical depression, just to name a few.
It is important to take a bit of time out of your busy schedule to unwind and relax, otherwise, your body will suffer both physically and mentally. Learning how to manage stress can take time, and everyone usually has their own unique way of relieving it. Here are a few ways to help get you started:
- Yoga: Yoga is not only used for pain management—studies have shown that practising yoga regularly can help reduce stress and decrease the risk of injury in the workplace.3
- Belly breathing: “Belly breathing” (or deep breathing) has been shown to reset the nervous system.1 Studies have shown a decrease in fatigue and anxiety with deep breathing exercises. In order to see the benefits of deep breathing, it should be done 3–4 times per day for at least 5 minutes.
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): This technique involves engaging the muscles—actively contracting (for 10 seconds) and relaxing (for 20 seconds) muscles of the legs, arms, and abdomen with the eyes closed, focusing separately on each muscle group as you move up (or down) the body in full.1 When practising PMR, it is important to mentally focus on contraction and relaxation. To maximize on its benefits, try doing the exercise 2–3 times per day (for as much as 15–20 minutes, if you can manage it). Studies have shown a decrease in stress hormones, anxiety, and blood pressure with the use of this technique.
- Meditation: Mindfulness meditation is a common technique used to combat stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and headaches. Check out this blog to see some tips on how to add mindfulness to your everyday routine.
Stress, although often viewed as a negative entity, can often be managed appropriately. Keep these tips in mind to help with your stress management and self-care routine. Should you want further tips, please consult with your chiropractor.
References 1Varvogli L, Darviri C. Stress Management Techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health Science Journal. 2011;5(2):74-89. 2Colligan TW, Higgins EM. Workplace stress: Etiology and consequences. J Workplace Behav Health. 2006;21(2):89-97. 3Gura ST. Yoga for stress reduction and injury prevention at work. Work. 2002;19(1):3-7.