THE SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC STRESS
- Why chronic stress can be compared with driving in NYC’s chaotic and stressful traffic, where your body adapts to the fast-paced and unpredictable environment.
- Why meditating and taking breaks from phone usage, by going for a nature walk or scenic drive without your phone, can help relax your body and reduce stress.
- How Acupuncture helps to desensitize the nervous system and target specific acupoints to release endorphins.
Sometimes, the patients we see report suffering from more than a physical injury. There are feelings of brain fog, the inability to fall asleep, loss of body hair, unexplained weight loss, lack of motivation, nervousness, and ongoing fatigue that just won’t go away. These symptoms fall under the umbrella of what we call “chronic stress.” While they may not seem too serious, they signal your body is under extreme strain. When someone’s body suffers from chronic stress, they’re in a constant “fight or flight” mode, and their body cannot keep pace with the demands of this heightened state.
An analogy I like to use is comparing chronic stress to traffic in NYC. If you’ve driven in NYC, you know it’s chaotic, stressful, and dangerous. When you drive in traffic daily, however, your body becomes accustomed to the fast-paced, unpredictable driving. Then, even when you leave the city, you still drive like you’re in the Big Apple, even when it’s unnecessary; you’ve become so accustomed to the stress that you can’t tell the difference. This is what being chronically stressed is like.
When your body is living like it’s perpetually stuck in New York City traffic, constantly feeling the effects of high stress, it produces more cortisol hormones. When we have too much cortisol, we are at higher risk for things like depression, anxiety, and overeating. These things, in turn, damage relationships with ourselves and others. Chronic stress also slows your body’s recovery, as it focuses more on running or fighting instead of repairing damages. So, what can you do to help bring your body into a less stressed state?
UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY
Getting sucked into social media apps, emails, and texting drama is easy. The truth is that these things add to our stress and create a dopamine deficit that acts like a bottomless pit. When scrolling on social media, your brain immediately receives a hit of dopamine. However, you didn’t earn this dopamine, and your brain knows it. So, it requires more time in these virtual spaces to give you that free feeling of happiness.
When your brain is scrambling to find dopamine, it becomes stressed, producing more cortisol. So, to help bring your body into a more relaxed state, go for a walk in nature and leave your phone behind, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. You can also take a scenic drive with your phone at home. Any time you can dedicate to an activity without looking at your phone will benefit your body
“CHRONIC STRESS ALSO SLOWS YOUR BODY’S RECOVERY, AS IT FOCUSES MORE ON RUNNING OR FIGHTING INSTEAD OF REPAIRING DAMAGES.”
Meditating gives your body a sense of calm, peace, and safety from the everyday stressors that may be haunting you. It can also help your body learn how to deal with stress moving forward by naturally moving towards a more relaxed state. Find some time in your day — even just 10 minutes — to stop what you’re doing and meditate. While seated or lying flat, shift your attention to your breathing. Listen to the sound and feel the air of your inhales and exhales while breathing slowly. If it helps, place your hand on your belly and count each inhale to 10 before starting over. Doing this will calm your nervous system and tell your body everything is okay.
SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS
Setting yourself up for small wins leads to major successes. And, as we said earlier, the dopamine you earn does far more for your body than the free stuff. Achieving the small goals you set for yourself leads to higher satisfaction and increased motivation.
Acupuncture is a great tool to fight against chronic stress as it desensitizes your nervous system. It does this by using specific acupoints in your body to target your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and naturally release endorphins. To try acupuncture, give us a call at 973-585-4990 or click here to book with us!