- Posted June 10, 2014 by
San Diego, California
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Three Steps to Handle Stress and Reduce Doctor Visits
As it is not possible to avoid or control many of the external events that impact your life, it is important that you train yourself to adapt more easily to the stressors in your environment. The extent to which you widen your adaptability to stressors is the extent to which fewer and fewer of those external events will fall outside your ability to respond. This translates into less internal stress and more energy for the brain and body to use to function well and avoid disease. There are three strategies you can use to increase your ability adapt to stressors in your life.
First, eliminate the forward-thinking and often negative self-talk that is based in fear.
How many times have you rehearsed that anticipated confrontational or uncomfortable future conversation that you imagine will happen with your spouse, boss or friend. You rehearse all the possible outcomes of what you will say, how they will react and then what you will do. This is an imaginary fear based process that turns on your “fight-or-flight” stress response, just as if what you were imagining was a real event. Instead, when you catch yourself doing this, replace that merry-go-round of anxiety with pleasant thoughts about a person or situation that brings you peace and joy.
Secondly, become aware of the times when you relive a distressful situation either in your mind or out loud.
While it is OK to tell a story that is not pleasant, you must avoid feeling the feelings of the event itself. This reliving of the event will also trigger the body’s “fight-or-flight” survival response. Once again, heart rate increases, stress hormones circulate, muscles become tense and your health begins to decline.
Thirdly, while genes are somewhat responsible for one’s health, far more important are the lifestyle choices you make.
Eating well, exercising, cultivating a good mental attitude and having a properly aligned spine and nervous system are the keys to your continued good health. You live your life through your nervous system. Your brain, spinal cord and nerves control and coordinate every function in your body. Your spine protects those delicate nerves. The spine and nerves are a set, like Starsky & Hutch, Adam & Eve, Batman & Robin. You can’t affect one without affecting the other. Any damage to one damages the other.
Stress comes in both good (eustress) and bad (distress) varieties. Stress is your body’s reaction to an external event (stressor) and not the event itself. Therefore it is within everyone’s power to widen their range of adaptability to stressors and therefore minimize accumulated damage to their health. A helpful analogy, especially for those living in earthquake zones, is to consider an earthquake. For years, decades and often centuries, stress has silently built up underground. Before the earthquake the ground feels fine, then one moment later all that built up stress and friction gets released and we take notice.
The human body behaves the same way. It too quietly stores stress until it gets released one day and people suffer their own personal earthquake; it is simply called something else like a headache, back ache, heart disease or acid reflux.