If these challenging situations continue, you may find yourself in a chronic state worry about the next thing that may possibly happen. These chemicals continue to be released over and over again. Cortisol diminishes functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. These chemicals also communicate with the brain areas that control mood, motivation and fear. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.
How Chinese Medicine Helps
Chinese medicine is concerned with the balance within the body between its mental, emotional and physical components. Excessive stimuli caused by events and problems like those we are seeing now can lead to an imbalance. Acupuncture can help bring about balance by regulating the body’s metabolism and hormonal systems. Acupuncture releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters which are our natural pain killers and “feel good” hormones. These help to counteract the constant state of “fight or flight” and bring about the “rest and restore” function of your nervous system, improving your mood, immune system, and digestive system, among others.
Since it looks like many of these stressors in our current environment will not be going away anytime soon, I also suggest lifestyle changes that can help you manage stress so it doesn’t impact your physical health. For example, being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Other suggestions include:
- Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and plenty of sleep
- Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, massage or meditation
- Take time for hobbies, such as painting, reading a book or listening to music
- Foster healthy friendships even if its on the phone or online via Zoom or Facetime
- Keep a sense of humor – laugh
- Give thanks for the good in your life
- Seek professional counseling when needed
I’m happy to help you find the right balance and reduce stress so you can be happy and healthy.