There are varying statistics regarding doctor’s office visit costs due to stress. Most of the research studies indicate high percentages (even up to 90%, depending on the source) of visits to the doctor are stress related.
According to University of Massachusetts Lowell, “Job stress is estimated to cost American companies more than $300 billion a year in health costs, absenteeism and poor performance.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research in 2017 reported that 25% of American employees mentioned that their jobs are the main stressor in their lives. Forty percent consider their jobs extremely stressful.
A commonly accepted description of stress is, “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension,” or, “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”
The foundation for successfully dealing with stress can start with recognizing each person’s responsibility or accountability for their own life. Managing stress starts with managing physiology: thoughts, emotions, agendas, and the way you deal with situations, or your ability to remain balanced.
WAYS TO REDUCE HARMFUL STRESS
Choices on the balance scale of ‘digital entertainment’ vs. ‘outdoor activity’ tend to tilt toward the ‘digital entertainment’ side. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Any form of physical activity can help reduce stress and tension in your life.
Moving can help produce the ‘happy hormones,’ such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Exercise releases endorphins which boost your mood, and make you feel better and happier. In addition, exercise occupies the body and mind, and helps keep your concentration off of daily problems.
Easy ways to get moving:
- Practice Tai Chi or Qigong
- Laugh: laugh often, and for long durations
- Get up from your desk, and do a movement-based activity on a regular schedule
- Go for a walk – take your dog if you have one, or your cat, if he will go with you
- Use the stairs rather than an elevator
- Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way
Take a Break
Relax for a minute, or 5 minutes when you sense an overwhelming nervous or anxious tendency. There are several short qigong exercises that are calming and can be done sitting or standing.
Learn Powerful Breathing Techniques
Breathing techniques for the reduction and control of stress and fatigue are a proven way to help provide physical and emotional relaxation. Learning methods to relax the body and mind can reduce the effects of stress. This in-depth relaxation lowers blood pressure and heart rate, promotes oxygen flow as it slows down breathing, all of which aid healing. These techniques are inherent in Eastern practices, such as tai chi and qigong.
The pathway to wellness includes practices to enable a mind-and-body connection. The ability to relax and connect in each breath or movement through respiration while maintaining a quiet mind helps achieve an inner calm or tranquil condition.
Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Not all stress can or should be avoided, but extreme emotional responses can be harmful to the body’s healthy state. When a person starts to feel uneasy or has extreme and prolonged tension, methods to bring their emotions under control, and to foster calmness are of great benefit.
Stress releases cortisol and acts on the adrenal system. The release of cortisol slows insulin production in the body, which has an effect on the blood sugar levels. Prolonged biological stress can disrupt many systems in the body, and create illness.
Consider that a person controls their emotions. If you realize something makes you anxious or quick to react, can you change your response? Consider taking a pause before reacting. Perhaps an analysis of your schedule and duties could help you organize events, or indicate what you could add or subtract to lessen stress.
There has been a shift toward making more information known about healthier options, from things we consume and breathe, to skincare products, and exposure to chemicals and toxins. Education about lifestyle options and products can be beneficial when making a change. More and more, individuals are seeking a more natural, organic way of living, with an expanded effort to maintain and protect themselves, and the environment in which they live.
Find A System That Works For You
Consider all the available resources to educate and motivate you if you are on a journey back to better health. Some people work well with the company of a buddy: someone to walk or do an activity with. Another support mechanism for many people is to journal their progress.
Practice Tai Chi or Qigong
The practices of Eastern Medicine concentrate on healing and looking for the cause of illness. The causes of illnesses are due to an energetic imbalance within the body. Therefore, to treat any illness, one must eliminate the pathogenic influence or balance and strengthen the energy in the body. They emphasize maximizing health by living correctly, and the human body’s abilities to heal.
Traditional Western medicine applies sciences and research to diagnose, treat and prevent illness primarily through pharmaceuticals and surgery.
Eastern philosophy facilitates healing through balancing excesses or deficiencies in order to regain or maintain good health. Traditional Chinese Medicine places ‘Qi (“chee”),’ the principle of vital energy, at the core of its medical theory and practice.
Qigong practice changes the body’s physiological state: blood vessels become dilated so that the heart doesn’t pump so hard, breathing exercises pump the lymphatic system, removing toxic byproducts, and allowing healthier, oxygenated blood to flow throughout the body. Qigong massages the internal organs, and aids the musculoskeletal system.
Tai Chi has been proven to reduce anxiety, hypertension, and respiratory problems due to its slow, meditative nature. Practice gives the practitioner a sense of relaxation and tranquility.
These are just a few of the reasons that people are enrolling in classes to learn tai chi and qigong to manage stress, reduce pain, and repair nervous system disorders.