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Living At Lightspeed: Stress and The Modern World

 

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If your great-grandparents took a DeLorean joyride to 2017, they would likely believe they were in the middle of a magic show.

For most people in the United States, life in 2017 passes by like a ship in hyper-drive. Information is shared before a thought is generated, food may be obtained in a blink, schedules are triple-booked, and most individuals touch electronic devices more than they touch another person.

All of this is incredibly convenient and allows us to be quite productive. Still, we pay for all of it in the end. Quality is relative to what you can afford. Relationships suffer from self-centeredness as well as self-doubt generated by social media comparisons. Temptation lies just a few clicks away. Quickly-accessed food often does not contain significant nutritional value. Sleeping hours are shortened and frequently disturbed. To the body, these stressors are perceived similarly to pre-historic predators, creating a perpetual “fight or flight” state.

When the body is stuck in fight or flight, or hyperactivity of the sympathetic division of the Autonomic Nervous System (SANS), and continues to experience repeated stressors it begins to age more quickly. Stress hormones such as the infamous cortisol depress the immune system, create early memory decline, stimulate higher blood sugar and blood pressure, accelerate heart rate, impede weight loss (and encourage weight gain, particularly in the abdomen), even going as far as to induce depression in severe cases. Cortisol also battles to slay its inhibitors, perpetuating the stress cycle, which continues to be fueled by stress, creating a swirling vortex of illness. Essentially the body prepares to enter a hibernation state. Under these conditions, it is no wonder that heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and diabetes are among the top 7 leading causes of death in American adults.

From a Utopian perspective, the solution seems simple: slow down and eliminate the stressors. Outside a vacuum however, this isn’t a possible reality for most. A 2011 survey found that “more than one third (36 percent) of workers said they typically feel tense or stressed out during their workday and almost half (49 percent) said low salary is significantly impacting their stress level at work”, (American Psychological Assoc. 2011). Even if work stress could be eliminated, the majority would still experience emotional stresses in finance and relationships, physical stress from environmental chemical exposure and lack of proper exercise, and more.

We know the crusade against stress will be lifelong; what’s important is you have the power to change the tide by harnessing the force within you. Here are 10 things you can try every day (or any day!) to start on the path to channeling Yoda.

  1. Take 10 deep breaths, then re-assess your situation. Even the Death Star had a flaw that could be used for the powers of good, your problem has a solution.
  2. Create a positivity jar and write down at least 1 positive thing every day.
  3. Set aside time every day for meditation. Start with 5 minutes and set an alarm so you won’t forget. Gradually increase.
  4. Take a look at your diet, cut out 1 processed food every day for 4 weeks. Food is fuel! Get your body running on Premium!
  5. Commit to a 21 Day Mental Health Challenge (it’s easier than you think!)
  6. Take a 10 minute walk (preferably outside).
  7. Reach out to someone you care about – you will both feel better.
  8. Spend a minimum of 10 minutes coloring.
  9. Volunteer or adopt a Pay It Forward activity.
  10. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier tonight. Tomorrow, make it 20. Keep going until you have reached an hour and watch your world transform!

When I feel stressed, I turn to these techniques and yoga and I make sure to get adjusted by my chiropractor. Hopefully these strategies will be helpful to you, please share them with people you care about!

Dr. Chelsea Drda has been practicing at the Atlanta Natural Health Clinic since September 2017.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.com.

Graphic source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwT2jf-O-jE; edited with Adobe Spark.