Stress and Your Health
A psychologist on a PBS show was discussing the results of intense and prolonged traumatic events on people. This included wars on home territory and the Holocaust. She explained that these times brought the best and worst out in people. Circumstances clearly established people’s priorities: what was precious and what could no longer be tolerated in their lives. Consequentially marriages, births and divorces often increase at such times. But the people who survived and recovered the best, from their ordeals, were the ones who capitalized on any small joy they found. Popular stories, movies and novels illustrate the joy characters find, and connections made, at the worst of times.
Stress damages your DNA. Planning, participating in, and remembering fun events repairs your DNA; as does creativity and trying new things.
Stress can contribute to illness and disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) draws direct correlations between stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. TCM also effectively addresses the many physical illnesses, including respiratory, digestive, pain, masses, cysts and tumors linked to stress.
Stress also damages your immune system. Conventional medicine acknowledges the devastating effects of stress in many illnesses and diseases. Shingles, the latent Chicken pox virus is triggered by a stressful event and is an excellent example of how viruses manifest with stress. Viruses in the form of colds and flu are more likely to occur when people are stressed.
So if you are stressed out, turn off the news! If you want to check in once a week, do so. If it’s important enough, you will hear about it from someone. But hearing different spins on the same thing, over and over, and succumbing to the fear mongering that our national news often perpetuates isn’t doing any good.
Detrimental ways people deal with stress include alcohol, sweets and junk food. Apparently, liquor sales are up 55%. Online liquor sales are up 246%.The first few weeks of the lock down, junk food became as scarce as toilet paper. Unfortunately alcohol, sugar, corn and wheat, all the comfort foods people rely on, raise blood sugar, increase likelihood of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer, as well as compromising your immune system. All these may place you in the High Risk category.
Sugar, alcohol, and chocolate release endorphins in the system. Which is why people crave them when they are stressed. Many corporations put sugar and addictive chemicals in junk, prepared and fast foods to increase sales. So find organic, healthier versions of junk food, and save them along with the sweets and alcohol for a few special occasions.
Most important, engage in other activities, including exercise, that release endorphins and relieve stress. Find books, movies, and shows that make you laugh. So much entertainment now depicts one life threatening, stressful incident after another. Find entertainment that is enjoyable and relaxing, especially before bed. Telling others about your favorite entertainment and activities and hearing about theirs not only gives everyone ideas but helps relieve the experiences and acts to repair DNA. If you can’t exercise outdoors, walk in place throughout a show, or put on music and dance. Find a show or video that teaches yoga or Tai Chi.
Fun and laughter should be a priority throughout life. So play games, create special meals, go for walks to enjoy nature, find fun ways to exercise. Revisit games you enjoyed as a child. You can even play some of these games with video conferencing with friends and family, if they have the same game available. Find ways you can interact with others. We just attended a delightful gathering. Our hosts marked out chalk squares on their driveway for people to sit at appropriate distances from each other. We brought our own drinks, talked and laughed.
You have a choice. Are you going to make the best of this time you have been given to slow down, relax, and re-evaluate your priorities, or are you going to dwell on what you can’t have or do? How many times have you wanted to do projects, engage in something fun, or try something entirely new, but did not have the time to do it? YouTube video’s can show you how to do just about anything. It takes two weeks to form a new habit. What you have now is an excellent opportunity to adopt healthy habits.
So relax, enjoy, laugh, have fun. It is essential to your health.
Health & Happiness,
Nancy Burton, L.Ac. ( Licensed Acupuncturist)
Though I won’t be seeing patients in person, during the present pandemic crisis, I am still helping established and new patients remotely via telephone or video conferencing.
A new appointment entails going over all your health issues, and discussing foods that help or hinder your situation. We may cover exercises, and other lifestyle changes which can make a huge difference in your physical and mental well being. And for those who want them, I supply fun, quick and easy recipes to promote healing of your health concerns.
So if you would like to know how to address your specific health issues, build your immune system, or just improve your health in general, call 541-646-0134 for an appointment.