The holiday season has come and gone. The stress of shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning and celebrating are behind us but the effects of the holidays are still with us. The holidays are stressful time when we are living through a ‘normal’ year! Now you add a pandemic and all the restrictions and changes and additional stressors that come with the holidays and your body and immune system have been put through the wringer!
So what exactly is stress? Stress is a reaction to something that disrupts our normal physical or mental state. Stressors can be real or imagined, internal or external. For example, getting cut-off while driving to work is a real stressor and thinking about what could have happened if you had hit the car that cuts you off would be imagined. Both real and imagined stressors have an impact on your body. Stressful events will trigger what is commonly called your “fight or flight” response.
This response causes all sorts of hormones to be released that prepare your body to either fight off the threat or run from it. I’m sure we’ve all been in a stressful situation and your heart starts to pound, sounds and sights are more vivid, you start to sweat, feel butterflies in your stomach – all of these are part of the natural stress response.
And this is a good thing in small doses; it keeps us focused and ready to take action when needed. But over time chronic stress can be detrimental to our immune system functioning and our health. The stress hormone that really impacts our nervous system in cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been shown to impair or body’s immune function, lowers production of white blood cells, suppresses or bodies germ killing cells, and lowers our natural antibody response to known germs. All of these make it easier for us to get to sick when we are constantly stressed out.
We all want to start out the new year on a good note and taking charge of your health and well-being is a great way to do that. Addressing our stress levels is a great place to start. Here are some tips to help decrease your stress levels and get started on the path to better, healthier you.
– Take time to exercise. Exercise has been shown to decrease cortisol levels and there is a release of the feel good hormones, like dopamine when you exercise.
– Meditation is a great way to relieve stress. Giving yourself some quiet time to focus internally away from the outside world is a great way to decrease stress and stress hormones. And you don’t need to be a monk to meditate. There are literally hundreds of great guided mediation videos and on the internet. You can even download an app to your phone that will guide you through meditating.
– Healthy food choices are also great for reducing stress! Remember stressors can be internal and the foods we eat have an affect on how we feel, function and the strength of our immune system. Be sure to get plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins with every meal!
– Regular chiropractic adjustments are also great for relieving stress. Getting your spine back to it optimum alignment is a great way to relieve aches and pains that may be causing you additional stress.
– Strategic supplementation is also key to keeping your immune system healthy and strong when dealing with stress. Another important addition to your stress respone arsenal should be Congaplex® and Andographis® from Standard Process.
Congaplex® is an immune boosting supplement that can be taken at the first sign of illness or right after you may have been around someone that is sick. The combination of ingredients in Congaplex® give your body a leg up on the germs and bacteria that have invaded and may be causing you to feel ill. It provides potent anti-oxidants, like vitamin A and vitamin C. It also boosts thymus gland functioning, which is important for a strong immune response.
Andographis® is a potent combination of herbs that have been shown to support a healthy immune system response during seasonal stressors. It can also help the encourage an adaptive response to everyday stressors. The ingredients in Andographis® improve white blood cell function and production so your body is better able to fight off the negative affects of stress and germs!
If you’d like to learn more about Congaplex® and Andographis® or how to better manage stress and keep your immune system healthy talk to the doctors at Universal Chiropractic!
Written by: Dr. Marshall Dornink