Holiday Stress — Take a Deep Breath
Most of us pay little attention, if any, to the daily functioning of our many physiological systems. Our hearts beat, our digestive systems digest, and our various hormones, such as those deriving from the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas, do what they do. It’s all good… until it’s not.
For example, ongoing stress can do a real number on people and most of the time we don’t see it coming. We get a headache, some neck pain, or back pain and keep going. But when problems persist, it’s a good policy to begin paying attention. Stress can elevate blood pressure, depress the immune system, cause a person to become more susceptible to infections, and cause significant problems with the gastrointestinal system. Serious problems associated with long-term stress include type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and various types of cancer. Overall, stress directly impacts and interferes with the daily functioning of all of our body’s systems.
It is well known that stress increases around the holidays. Buying presents, cleaning, cooking, and worrisome memories of what happened during past holidays all serve to ramp up one’s levels of anxiety and stress. The biggest missing ingredient in our holiday rush is a sense of self. We lose sight of ourselves in the maelstrom of events and become a reactive automaton, of sorts. Go here, go there, buy this, buy that, do this or that chore around the house, and finally go to bed, only to get up early the next morning and start the whole merry-go-round again. All without taking the time to pause and locate ourselves in who we really are and what’s really of value to us and our loved ones.
The good news is that there is a better way. We are the ones who get to say how our day is going to go. It is critically important to stop and take a few deep breaths, to find our center, to reconnect with our inner self, to regain the meaning and purpose of our lives. An easy way to return to one’s center is to engage in a practice of daily meditation. Firstly, you don’t need any equipment to practice meditation, other than a comfortable cushion or chair. All you do is close your eyes and concentrate on breathing, imagining your breath going up your spine in the back and down your spine in the front. That’s all there is to it. Count your first cycle of breathing up to ten, then start back over at one. If you notice your thoughts wandering, try restarting your count back at one. The benefit is in the practice itself. By concentrating on your breathing, you regain mastery over your continual train of thought. You are placing yourself, that is, your inner self, back in control, instead of being overwhelmed by random thoughts regarding what you think you “need” to do.
One of the outcomes of such a meditation practice is reduced stress and enhanced wellness and well-being. The holidays are transformed into a time of good fellowship and loving family interactions. Regular chiropractic care provides wonderful assistance to all of us as we engage in the process of re-centering. By restoring balance to our nerve system and optimizing our spinal biomechanics, regular chiropractic care supports our present and future health and wellness, throughout the holiday season and throughout the year.