For most, the holiday season cheer does not come without its fair share of stress. The holidays are when all the little stressors of life culminate into one big mess; finances, family, relationships, work, eating (too much), exercise (or lack thereof!).
7 Ways that chiropractic helps you manage your Holiday stress and life stress in general!
- Help relieve muscular tension: If you are reading this, and you are ‘stressed out’, you might suddenly become aware of the fact that your shoulders hiked up in your ears and rounded forward, your head jutted forward, and you may even find you’re breathing super shallow, or holding your breath!
- Restore normal breathing patterns- Breath easier! During times of stress, your breathing will shorten in order to try and oxygenate your muscles quicker (think fight or flight!). This can become a negative feedback cycle because short breaths actually stimulate your fight or flight (sympathetic) nervous system and will eventually lead to restricted range of motion in your rib cage and diaphragm. Try this: Breath as deep down into your belly for a count of 4, and breath out for a count of 8. If this feels restricted at all, or if you feel difficulty sending air down into your belly, you would probably benefit from chiropractic care that can help improve movement in your diaphragm, rib cage and thoracic spine.
- Restoring Vagal Tone. Fun fact, your vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It originates in the brain and travels down through the neck and down into the abdomen to innervate the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs. This nerve is a major player in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest and digest’ part (opposite to the sympathetic nervous system which is ‘fight of flight’). Chiropractic care actually helps stimulate this nerve, which in turn helps to create feelings of calmness and rest.
- Supporting your overall nervous system: At the heart of chiropractic is the philosophy that restoring normal joint motion in your spine helps your nervous system function better.
- Triggers release of positive hormones: Recent research has shown that chiropractic adjustments actually directly lead to an increase in hormones such as neurotensin, oxytocin, and cortisol. These hormones are involved in positive nervous system functioning, such as neutralizing stress induced pain, boosting happiness and feeling of social bonding and blocking pain (that can cause stress!). Healthy levels of cortisol actually help your body adapt to higher levels of stress!
- Improves sleep: It’s not new news that getting enough sleep helps manage your stress. Good and maybe new news to you: Chiropractic manipulations have been shown to help with insomnia and other sleep markers.
- Self care: This may sound silly, but setting aside time for yourself to actually come into a space of healing and wellness to make sure you get the care you need is a form of stress relief itself! Okay, this isn’t specific to chiropractic care, but making an appointment to take care of yourself both physically and mentally will absolutely help you manage your stress better.