Managing Stress This Holiday Season
Stress is a natural response of the body, intended to help us overcome temporary threats or hurtles. While short-term stress can be beneficial, a lot of us are living with the effects of long-term or chronic stress. This has for some only been amplified these past few months by the pandemic. Unfortunately, the holidays can also often increase those levels of stress already in our body.
Chronic stress is when our body continues to respond as if it were in a “fight or flight” situation over a prolonged period, even if there are no real threats. A body that is continually engaging in the stress response will affect both our physical and psychological well-being, leading us to feel debilitated, overwhelmed and with the increased potential to develop major illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, insomnia, and depression. Chronic stress ultimately hinders our body’s ability to function properly.
What can we do to manage stress this unique holiday season?
Acupuncture is one modality that can be used for the treatment of chronic stress, both for the symptoms that come with prolonged stress (upset stomach, insomnia, fatigue) as well as the root causes (continual activation of the stress response).
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, filiform needles into specific points of the body that trigger a cascade of biophysiological reactions. It is these reactions that help treat chronic stress and other conditions. Acupuncture causes the production and release of various neurotransmitters, hormones, and chemicals in the body, such as endorphins and serotonin. This causes the body to move from “fight or flight” to the “rest and digest” nervous system. It is this system that allows our body to rest, heal and restore itself to equilibrium.
It is acupuncture’s ability to affect the neurological system that helps reduce the symptoms associated with long-term stress as well as re-set the body to a more homeostatic state. It is the acupuncturist’s job to help support and restore the integrity and vitality of the patient and their body.
Along with acupuncture, the practitioner will also discuss lifestyle and at home habits with the patient that they can incorporate into their daily routine to counteract the effects of chronic stress and deal with the holidays and this pandemic in a more healthful way.
If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed and stressed, acupuncture has been proven to be a safe, effective, and natural treatment.