Chiropractic and The Power Of The Mind
Research has shown that there appears to be a direct correlation between the ‘Super Stress’ we experience today and the rise in Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This alone should make us want to balance our brains and bodies to do all we can to keep the increased risk of developing these diseases at bay.
Of course, many ‘modern’ illnesses are related to the stress of modern life – be that mental stress or physical stress caused by breathing in pollution, eating chemicals in processed foods or ingesting other potential carcinogens such as tobacco.
Stress is all around us. It has always existed, even as far back as the caveman times and serves a useful purpose in the face of danger as it results in a rapid release of the fight or flight stress hormone, cortisol, into the body to provide a burst of energy for immediate use – always useful in an emergency situation.
In modern society, especially over the last 20 years, sources of stress have continued to rise. Life moves much faster and the technology created to ‘help’ us now often adds to our stress rather than reducing it, with some people now unable to switch off at any time.
Our bodies and minds need recovery time – time when our brains are not trying to process ever increasing loads of information. We need time for our brain to subconsciously work things out and store things away.
Many people do not allow themselves this time, taking mobile phones on holiday, checking emails, messaging apps or social media multiple times a day, even in bed. Some people do this out of guilt, for fear of missing out, for wanting to stay ‘in the loop’ at work and some simply do it because they believe they work better when they are busy and under stress.
It could be said that, in the short term, there may be some advantages to being able to survive in a state of stress. Indeed, in the short term, awareness is heightened, memory improves and so does pace. You can work faster and with more focus. However, this is not sustainable in the long term and by definition, long term here means no longer than 2 hours rather than weeks or months.
Studies have shown that performance is impaired after just 2 hours of stress and health problems may start to develop after that point. Remember, stress causes blood pressure to rise, the heart to beat faster and in the long term this can lead to problems such as fatigue, cholesterol build up, an impaired immune system, aches and pains and so the list goes on.
In a permanent state of fight or flight the body is constantly flooded with blood sugars and is unable to relax, to rebalance and to heal. The human body is not designed to function in a permanent state of stress without it ultimately leading to serious physical and mental health problems.
There are many effective ways to relieve stress such as deep breathing, meditation, gentle exercise, yoga, pilates, walking, laughter, sleep and chiropractic treatment. However, these will all only provide only temporary relief unless we supplement them with a change in the way we think which will subsequently affect how we behave.
It’s not only events that cause stress, our thoughts and interpretations of events can also increase the stress response.
What is needed is a reprogramming of the mind to better support the body. When the mind is stressed and out of balance, it is no surprise that a stressed body follows – presenting itself as illness, pain, rapid ageing, fatigue, depression or other behavioural problems.
The good news is that can all be turned around without immediately turning to prescription drugs. The brain is capable of releasing 30,000 different powerful neurochemicals with just one thought, so it is important to retrain the brain to think in a way that will release these positive and healing neurochemicals. Smartphone apps such as Calm and Headspace are very effective at teaching us how to take control of our minds through guided meditations and exercises.
Regular chiropractic care also helps to rebalance the brain. Adjustments remove stress on the nervous system which improves the communication between body and brain and, if supported by improving the mind to body communication, produce the best possible results.
You don’t have to accept feeling constantly low, unwell or lacking in vitality as a normal part of life as there is a lot that you can do yourself to improve your overall wellness, and it all starts with the mind.
If you don’t know where to start please speak to your chiropractor as they will be able to advise on the best course of action for you.