Four Types of Stress - Most people think of stress as emotional. But there are four types of stress: Emotional, Physical, Chemical and Thermal. To your body, all stress goes on the same pile. The higher the pile, the more likely your chance of becoming ill. The body's response to stress will not necessarily be where you expect it. It will hit you in your Achilles's heel - wherever you are weakest. You may have tight shoulders or low back pain. You may catch the flu or even get cancer. Understanding the source of stress is the first step in reducing the size of the stress pile.
1.) Emotional Stress - Emotional anxiety is most harmful to the body when it is unrelenting. If there is no outlet for the tension, the stress builds like steam in a pressure cooker. A difficult work environment, financial worries or the loss of a loved one can push your body into "Fight or Flight" mode. The more stressful the situation the more it will add to the stress pile. Emotional stress may be difficult to reduce because of life circumstances. But look for ways to "simplify, simplify, simplify" as Thoreau said.
2.) Physical stress - Examples of physical stress include lack of sleep, poor posture, falls, car accidents or lack of exercise. Physical stress most often effects muscles, tendons, and bones. But a physical stress can also effect organ systems. For example, if a "pinched nerve" in the spine interferes with the brain signal sent to the stomach saying "YOU ARE FULL!" then you might overeat! Physical stress is relatively easy to detect and can be corrected with adequate rest, exercise, massage therapy and chiropractic care.
3.) Chemical Stress - Toxins are all around us. Pollution, food additives, pesticides, cleaning supplies, personal products and even medication may contain chemicals that poison your body to one degree or another. Poor diet is also a chemical stress because you don't have the building blocks your body needs. If we can identify toxins then we can often avoid them. Eating a healthy diet will also help your body eliminate toxins. See the blog posts for "Hormone Disruptors" and "Green Smoothies".
4.) Thermal Stress - A less common stress occurs when the body becomes overheated or chilled. Usually, thermal stress is short-term, since the body has a built-in thermostat to help adapt to the environment. However, thermal stress can cause life-threatening overheating, dehydration and exposure. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of thermal stress. Thermal stress is often hard to detect unless you are aware of the signs. One sign everyone should know: If someone ever says ”This the worst headache I've ever had” on a hot day think heat stroke and call 911.
De-Stress - Once you become aware of the sources of stress, you can create a plan to reduce the size of your stress pile.
© 2012 Kelley Chiropractic and Wellness
Dr. Kelley LeBlanc is a holistic Chiropractor with a background in chemistry, nutrition and yoga.
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