We’ve all heard how stress is bad for us. Did you know that stress not only can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), but also insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues, aches and pains, cancer, and it can also worsen the diseases or symptoms that you may already have?
Many people deal with stress in different ways by means of alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc. But, instead of bringing the body back into a balanced state, these substances maintain the body in a stressed state and cause more damage internally.
While it is normal to have a little stress in our lives, it is important as in how we react to it. Some people manifest stress emotionally or psychologically and have a hard time coping, while others become so familiar with it that it starts to feel normal. At some point, it can become so overwhelming, that it can take a toll on relationships at work, home, and even at school.
Some of the changes to look out for when we or our loved ones are stressed are: mood and behavior changes, angry outbursts, withdrawal, lack of focus or concentration, memory problems, frequent colds/ flus, palpitations, changes in sleep habits and eating habits, nervousness etc. to name a few.
Once you have identified the signs and symptoms, look for the causative factor. The next step is to look for options on how to deal with the situation. If the stressor is due to the environment you find yourself in, try altering it. Sometimes, it’s not possible to change the environment if it’s a job situation or a family concern. Look for the next best option. Can the situation be avoided? Is it possible to limit the time when faced with the stressor, or are you able to walk away from it? Try to write down how you feel about the stressful situation. Sometimes writing in a journal helps to process our emotions and I find that it may even help in realizing whether the stressor is a big enough deal or not
Now that you’ve gone through the initial steps, it’s time to take care of your physical and emotional health. Acupuncture can help alleviate stress and even some of the physical manifestations due to stress. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, acupuncture can smooth the energy blockages and regulate the flow of qi (energy) through the channels or meridians. From a western scientific viewpoint, it has been noted that acupuncture releases endorphins in the brain and also improves the blood circulation throughout the body thereby removing toxins. Over time, not only will the symptom manifestations diminish, but so will the stress itself.
In addition to getting regular acupuncture, set some time aside for exercise, incorporating deep relaxing breathing techniques and meditation. Do some activity that you enjoy, like reading or listening to music, and make sure to get plenty of rest and a good night’s sleep!