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Stress is all around you.  It can even be what we think of as normal business (busy-ness).  Stress isn’t bad in itself (depending on level), like exercise (a stressor that your body responds to by repairing and rejuvenating itself) it is how our body responds to it which determines good/bad.  If the body adapts well to stress it can be a positive force that improves creativity, work output and the quality of life.  Respond poorly to it and it can trigger a cascade of events leading to, increased risk of cancer/heart disease and diabetes, and, a life of low productivity, low energy levels and increased disease levels.

How Stress works:

The body is set up to initiate a stress response when confronted by a dangerous situation (i.e.: a lion attack).  The stress response occurs primarily in the autonomic nervous system and starts with the release of adrenaline.


Stress 01


This shuts down non-essential (for the job of outrunning the lion) jobs such as immune function, sleep, digestion, reproduction and growth hormone.

Once the stressor is finished the stress response eventually returns back to normal.  This occurs a lot faster if movement (fight or flight) is present. The affected functions above return back to normal.

Today we get stress from many more sources.  We don’t react to the stressors like we did in ancient times so the stress response doesn’t ‘switch off’ as easily.  This leads to the build up of chronic stress.  The nervous system trains itself to be in a chronic stressed state all the times.


Stress 02


How to cope with stress:

1.    Do things to decrease how often the body ‘reacts’ to the things around you and releases the adrenaline that produces the stress response and/or improve the factors that improve the ‘switching’ off of stress.
2.    Organize yourself better.  Pay bills on time and do stressful jobs quickly so you only have one stress response instead of the 3-4 times every time you put the bill/job.
3.    Meditate or Pray.  Both have been shown to decrease stress levels.  Meditation is good at training your brain and nervous system to work in a happier state.
4.    Good spinal health/habits.  Adjustments improve the movement and flexibility of your spine.  When your spine is out of alignment (subluxated) you get chronically irritated/stressed nerves.  Removing this removes a lot of ‘static’ in the nervous system.  Also improving the movement of the spine helps the body switch off the stress response.
5.    Exercise.  This helps switch of the stress response (movement).  If your spine is moving properly (subluxation free) the potential is for the exercise to work better.
6.    Good support structures.  Having someone to talk to and share experiences/problems helps decrease the tendency of the stress response to switch on.  A pet of some type is also good at this as they act like a sounding board giving a no ‘accusation’ friend.  If the stress levels are too high a psychologist/councilor can be very beneficial at thinking about things differently.

cameron72small  Cameron Finlayson is a Chiropractor in Auckland, New Zealand for the last 21 years.