As we continue this series about the impact of inflammation on our health, I'd like to focus on how stress impacts health. It is important to consider the emotional and physical toll stress can have on us, and what we can do to reduce stress and lessen its effect on our health.

Types of Stress

There is no doubt that we all experience stress to some degree. Every day we deal with "regular" stressors such as traffic, deadlines and bills.  There are also "major" stressors that we encounter periodically; these include things like a job change, family issues or a health crisis. Regardless of the reason for the stress, chronic stress will eventually cause health problems. A Carnegie Mellon University study shows that chronic stress limits our body's ability to regulate inflammation.  Increased inflammation leads to the development and promotion of disease. Being aware of the danger of chronic stress is one thing; doing something about it is another.

Reducing Stress

Although the topic of stress is too big to totally cover in this brief newsletter, there are many activities and disciplines we can incorporate to reduce the impact of stress in our lives. Physical activity and exercise are very beneficial for releasing and reducing stress. Also, engaging in hobbies that require mental focus will help to alleviate stress. Having a spiritual element of prayer and worship is important as well. Recent studies have shown that keeping a "gratitude journal" can help reduce the negative effects of stress. In general, focusing on the positive things in life causes us to focus less on our challenges, thereby decreasing the amount of stress buildup in our emotions and our body.

I encourage you to implement some of these simple but effective steps to decrease the impact of stress on your health and well being. If you have questions or would like more information regarding stress, inflammation and your health, please contact Patrick Chiropractic in Raleigh at 919-790-2288.
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