Stress is a normal part of life, but the effects can be devastating when it gets out of control and becomes a constant. Stress reduction techniques can improve your health and well-being. To define stress let’s try to break it down and understand some basics so we can have some reference points to move from. First we need to understand that there are two kinds of stress and they are known as Eustress (good stress) and Distress (bad stress). Keep this in mind as we explore how stress affects our health, particularly as we break down stress into three primary categories. Most commonly when we hear the word stress we tend to think of distress. In terms of this “bad stress” we recognize that it can present in an acute onset situation or also as a chronic issue.
Stress Reduction & Types of Stress
We actually define stress as an overarching principle with three primary categories to understand how stress relates to your health.
Mental or Emotional
StressFirst up, and what most people commonly refer to when they say that they are “stressed out,” would be categorized as mental or emotional stressors. These kinds of distress can come from external sources like work deadlines or conflicts with loved ones. Other times it’s internal—you may feel a certain way about yourself, making you more susceptible to feeling “stressed out.” An example of eustress or healthy stress in this mental/emotional category might be word games or number puzzles that are meant to help keep your mental acuity sharp and on point.
StressNext up we have physical stress. Good physical stressors would be in line with the things we do to try and keep our bodies physically fit like resistance exercise, stretching or core strengthening. Bad stress in this category would then be some sort of excessive strain to our physical being like a sports injury, repetitive use type injuries or being involved in an automobile accident. Physical stress injuries often begin as an acute condition, and if not treated timely, well or properly they can later become chronic issues.
StressEnvironmental stress can be from our external environment with things like toxins that we may come in contact with or fumes that we breathe, as well as internal environment like the things we put in our body on purpose. Bad stressors here might look like inhaling smoke, consuming alcohol, or pharmaceutical medications. Positive or good environmental stressors would look like sitting in the sun for a reasonable amount of time, or nutrition choices that support good health versus food choices that affect our health negatively.
The distress in any of these three categories may have an acute or chronic presentation. Acute stress is short-term and generally caused by an event or situation that occurs within 24 hours (such as an important job interview, sports injury, or food poisoning). Chronic stress occurs over long periods. Physical examples might look like overuse or repetitive use type injuries (think typing at a keyboard or operating a hammer or drill for an 8 hour day week in and week out). Mental/emotional stress examples could be of a relationship or financial origin and environmental chronic stress could come from living in a house that has hidden mold that emits toxins you continue to breathe and over time begin to affect your health in a negative way.
Acute and episodic acute stresses are easy to deal with because they have clear-cut solutions, like taking a break from studying for your exam or taking a mental health day from work if needed. However, chronic stresses can be harder to manage because they tend to creep up on us without warning and affect our lives over extended periods without giving us any room for rest between episodes.
But whether stress is coming from inside or outside ourselves doesn’t matter; what matters is that we recognize when and how we’re stressed and that we take steps towards managing stressors before they get worse.
Stress Management Therapy
Stress is a normal part of life, but too much stress can be harmful. While many people think of stress as an all-or-nothing thing, it’s more helpful to think of it on a scale. We can experience mild, moderate, or severe stress levels in any given situation—and they all have different effects on our bodies and minds.
Generally, we look at stress-coping techniques occurring within three stages:
- Stress Prevention: The things we do to prevent stress from happening in the first place.
- Stress Reduction: The things we do to cope with stress when it’s already happening.
- Stress Management: The things we do to help us recover from the effects of stress so that it doesn’t negatively impact our health or quality of life.
Burdens of Medication & Natural Alternatives for Stress Therapy
Many who suffer from stress resort to taking medication to reduce anxiety. Medication can work by calming the nerves and muscles in your body. When you take benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax or Klonopin for stress, it will temporarily help you feel calmer by reducing muscle tension and lowering your heart rate. It’s important to remember that these drugs have many negative side effects, only treat the symptoms of stress, and should typically only be recommended to use for a short period of time by your healthcare professionals.
Why should you choose natural stress relief over pharmaceuticals? Choosing holistic wellness alternatives to drugs has many benefits, including lowering your risk of side effects and dependency on medication. When you use a holistic approach to stress management, you can gain better control over your life because you’ll be more in tune with your emotions and behaviors. In addition, natural stress reducers are more likely to be effective over the long term than benzodiazepines or other prescription medications.
Natural Alternatives to Stress Reduction & Stress Management
The brain is a mighty organ. It can store information, create memories, and make decisions. But sometimes, our brains need a little help. Here are some practical, natural stress alternatives:
Stress ManagementNeurofeedback therapy is a type of treatment that uses electrodes placed on the scalp to measure the brain's electrical activity. A software program processes the data to help improve brain function by teaching you how to self-regulate and self-correct. Learn More
Wellness Chiropractic Care
Stress PreventionWellness chiropractic care focuses on working with the body's natural processes to promote wellness by improving structural misalignment of vertebrae that can interfere with proper nerve function. Learn More
Stress ReductionNutrition & lifestyle coaching helps people make changes in diet and exercise habits, leading to better overall health and well-being. We provide nutrition consulting & lifestyle coaching services that focus on basic healthy lifestyle practices, exercise, and self-care. Learn More
Neurofeedback Therapy for Stress Reduction
Neurofeedback therapy is a technique that trains your brain to respond differently—and more effectively—to various stressors. Using EEG technology, neurofeedback gives you immediate feedback about what is happening in your brain. This information helps you learn to control your responses and calm down before situations get out of hand. Neurofeedback therapy aims to reduce stress and improve overall brain function by teaching it how to self-regulate and self-correct.
Neurofeedback training sessions last approximately 30-40 minutes, during which instructions will be provided on how best to relax so that the brain can maximize each training session with targeted attention. We will then guide you through an audio-visual montage of images and sounds designed specifically for each client, tailored to individual needs and goals, to reduce stress levels in everyday situations.
A 2018 study published by Nature studied the amygdala, a region of the brain involved in processing emotions. The researchers’ findings suggest that neurofeedback training can help people learn to control their amygdala activity and reduce stress levels. By controlling this part of your brain, you might be able to decrease feelings such as fear or anger.
Wellness Chiropractic and Stress Care
By reducing your body’s response to physical stressors that tax the body and nervous system, chiropractic care helps you achieve optimal health and wellness.
Your nervous system regulates your body’s functions, including digestion, hormone production, and circulation just to name a few. When there is physical stress to the nervous system due to structural misalignment it can cause pressure on nerves and that can affect the function of the systems being supplied by those nerves. This can many times (but not always) result in a symptom. So you can think of it like this, if there is physical stress from a misalignment in the spine and there is pressure on the nerves that supply the digestive tract, you might eventually end up with some digestive issues.
Chiropractic care is an excellent holistic approach that includes giving nutritional advice, using spinal adjustments to remove interference in nerve flow, and recommending exercises to help address structural deficiencies. If appropriate, they may also recommend using nutritional supplements that help the body stay healthy. Because chiropractic care is holistic, it addresses not only the spine but also how your entire body functions as a unit. Regular chiropractic adjustments help you maintain optimal health and live life to the fullest. It’s an effective way of helping people achieve their wellness goals—whether they want improved sleep quality, increased energy levels, or relief from stress.
Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching for Natural Stress Relief
Wellness coaching can be a fantastic tool that helps clients get specific results in their lifestyles. It includes a variety of methods to help you develop new habits and make lasting changes in your life. The more you practice good habits, the easier it becomes to incorporate them into your daily routine.
You can reduce stress by keeping tabs on your weight, eating healthy foods and taking supplements as needed, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of exercise (and not spending too much time in front of the TV or computer before bedtime ).
The stress that you experience in your life is directly related to the lifestyle choices you make. By changing how you live, you can reduce stress and improve your health.
If this sounds overwhelming, there is help. Working with a lifestyle coach like Dr. Cook can help you find balance in your life. Whether it’s evaluating how alcohol or drugs are affecting you, whether a keto diet might function for stress reduction, or what other lifestyle changes you might consider to improve your quality of life—we can assist.
Frequently Asked Questions & Stress Reduction Techniques
Without medication, you can reduce stress by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation. Dr. Cook can help you develop customized action plans that suit your lifestyle and tastes.
Some of the most effective natural stress-reduction alternatives include neurofeedback therapy, chiropractic care, mindfulness techniques, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. Paying attention to the quality and quantity of your diet can help you feel less stressed and more energetic.
EEG stands for electroencephalogram, a technology that has been around for over 100 years. It provides an image of the electrical activity in your brain by measuring changes in voltage between electrodes placed on the scalp. EEG can help you learn about your stress levels and identify areas where you may struggle with stress management.
Yes, diet and exercise can be effective in reducing stress levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help to improve physical and mental well-being, which can, in turn, lower stress levels.
By implementing the suggestions above, you can start to reduce stress levels. It would help if you also took time each day to do something you enjoy that relaxes you. This activity could be anything from reading an absorbing book or listening to music to going for a walk in the garden or having a massage. If you still are struggling, please feel free to reach out. We’d love to help you.
Natural Stress Relief with Chiropractic Works
Stress is one of the most critical factors in holistic wellness. Chiropractic Works offers profound alternatives to stress-relieving drugs, helping you develop a comprehensive stress reduction strategy. Too much stress can affect your physical health, making you more susceptible to disease. It can also make it difficult for you to think clearly and enjoy life. The good news is there are natural ways to reduce stress, and holistic chiropractic wellness is one of them. By addressing the underlying causes of stress, chiropractic care can help you feel better and live longer. For a consultation and stress-reduction strategy that works, contact Chiropractic Works today.