What contributes to disease risk, less sleep, a messed up gut, and poor immunity? STRESS (of course!) Read more below on how to break-free from stress and live with ease!
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Stress, we all have it. Stress at work, deadlines, angry bosses, managing kids soccer games, trying to find time to workout, family drama…just to name a few! Knowing how to master stress management is key for long-term wellness.
As you know, stress can be temporary or can be chronic.
Temporary stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It might just make you anxious, interrupt sleep, or put you in a bad mood. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving. It’s that fight or flight response.
Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.
It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem.
You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.
Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.
Let’s dive into the “stress mess” and see how you can incorporate daily stress management into your routine.
#1: Stress can cause- Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.
Stress increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness,” as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.
#2 Stress can impact your immune health
Did you notice that you get sick more often when you’re stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?
Well, that’s because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.
#3 Gut brain connection: Stress can trigger “Leaky Gut”
Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as “intestinal permeability.” These “leaks” can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.
The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.
Picture this: Have you ever played “red rover?” It’s where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though. Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!
#4: Stress disrupts sleep
Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.
And when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.
More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health. Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favors.
Check out these Stress Management Tips:
Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.
- Put less pressure on yourself?
- Ask for help?
- Say “no”?
- Delegate to someone else?
- Finally, make that decision?
No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:
- Deep breathing
- Walk in nature
- Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
- Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
- Connect with loved ones
Stress is a huge and often unchecked factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize. Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep. There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.
You can ditch that stress mess!
If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain or high stress, give us a call today (425) 686-4498 to learn how we can help you find relief in an all-natural way!
Schedule online here:
Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Most insurances accepted. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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