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If we think about how stress can effect our health, what illnesses or diseases come to mind?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Let’s not forget accelerated aging and premature death.
Although we can’t say that stress causes these issues, we definitely cam say that stress amplifies, and increases their risk of incidence. In my opinion, Stress is the leading cause of death and illness in this country. It creates negativity in the body, imbalance in the body, and severely overburdens our immune system.
My goal is not to eliminate stress in the body. That would be impossible. Actually some stress is good. Sunlight is a stressor to the body which, in certain amounts, is beneficial. However, in excess it can be detrimental. The same can be said for exercise. If a client comes to a session completely stressed out (physically or emotionally) and says “I need to get some aggression out”, I don’t let them. At that point, hitting a heavy bag or doing a killer workout would only add more stress on top of stress. At the cellular level, their body doesn’t know the difference between the stress of work, a workout, or a fistfight. What they need at that point are work-IN exercises like meditation, yoga, or even simple breathing exercises. This will calm the sympathetic nervous system and slow the release of stress hormones. THEN, we can talk about work-OUT exercises, which performed under the right conditions should help release anabolic hormones.
In addition to choosing the correct approach to exercise, stress reduction techniques should be integrated into daily living. Taking time everyday to step outside of your brain and focus on your breath or body can invoke stillness, peace, and clarity. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Chi Qong are all proven, powerful methodologies to bring more Chi (life force energy) into our bodies. My calmer, Yin-type clients see results far more rapidly and intensely than my stressed out Yang-types. The more Yang they are, the more meditation and mind-body connection they need.
Lastly, one of the least talked about human stressors is food. Foods sprayed with toxins, processed foods, food additives, sugar, dyes, nitrates, and food allergies all put a tremendous amount of stress on the body, potentially for days. Even longer if leaky gut syndrome is an issue. Cleaning up the diet and identifying food allergies can relieve inflammation in the gut and the eliminate the stress response throughout the body.
In addition to these techniques, I also have a network of psychotherapists who are great at recommending coping strategies to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, etc.