Ok…. I’ll ask for forgiveness in advance, this weeks newsletter might get a little deep.
But hang in there, hopefully it’s worth it and it might quite possibly save your life.
I’ve been a chiropractor now for almost 17 years… ouch, how fast time flies. Like both Dr Tony and Dr Kirby I love helping people.
Now, whilst people choose to come and visit our office for many reasons (pain, digestive issues, fatigue etc) underlying the vast majority of the people we see on a daily basis is an ever-growing, insurmountable, life sucking amount of stress!
The cause of this stress differs only marginally for most…generally it has to do with some form of dissatisfaction around work, relationships or family but the impact is the same for almost all.
Here’s just a small shopping list of some of the consequences of stress:
- poor sleep (either difficultly getting to sleep or perhaps waking at 2-3am)
- digestive issues like bloating, indigestion or stress
- headaches, neck and back aches
- reproductive issues like painful, irregular or heavy periods and/or altered libido
- fatigue (you know the kind….where you still feel exhausted first thing in the morning)
If you said yes to more than one of the above then chances are that stress is having a negative impact on your body and the researchers tell us that it’s slowly but shortly KILLING YOU!
Sorry to be dramatic but the consequences of stress are serious and significant.
So, what’s the solution?
Managing stress can be such a personal thing, but let me share 3 things that are working for me (yep that’s right, I have issues with stress also!)
- Make some decisions: I had to make some tough decisions around where I spend my time and who I spend it with. Not an easy thing to do but the results have been stunning. I recently read a brilliant blog post that might help give you some confidence, direction and guidance on making these decisions in your life. It helped me see the benefits of living for today and importance of spending my time wisely. You can read the post by clicking here. http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/01/seneca-on-the-shortness-of-life/ Here’s one of my favourite quotes from that post… It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
- Meditate. Consistent meditation is a relatively new thing for me. I have “toyed” with it over the years but never been able to make it a habit until I came across https://www.headspace.com , it’s also a great app for your phone. Headspace begins with a free trial program called “take 10”. It challenges you to listen to 10 minutes of guided meditation for 10 days straight (anyone can do that right?). When you complete that level, it encourages 15 minutes for 10 days and then finally graduates you to 20minutes. These small progression worked like a charm for me. The program also has some wonderfully helpful videos that guide you through some of the tricky points of mediations ….. like what to do with all the noise or how do handle if you fall asleep all the time. I love this program because it also some really simple and effective behaviour change techniques built into it. Working through “headspace” I am now on a run of 61 days straight of meditation (this is a first for me).
- Walk. I’ve done all sorts of exercise over the years… triathlons, weight training, crossfit, martial arts but the one thing that consistently brings me the most joy is simply going for a walk. Whether it be a simple 10 minute walk around the block or an 2 hour long journey, walking simply makes me feel better whilst simultaneously allowing me to dissipate stress. Four months ago I purchased a fitness tracker (here’s a link to the one I bought https://jawbone.com/up) It has allowed me to measure my activity and even tracks sleep quality. It seamlessly syncs to my phone and lets me know about how much activity I have done or not done. Having an objective measure of my activity levels has been fabulous at boosting movement.
Whilst the steps above are simple, implementing them into your life might not be easy. Perhaps choose one or maybe you know of an entirely different way that works for you (please share it with us, we’d love to hear from you).
What ever it is, just begin, your life depends on it!
Until next time, stay well.
Dr Angus Pyke