A Pro-Active Approach to Reducing Stress

By Dr. Michael Roth

This post concludes my three-part series on stress, excerpted from my book, Balancing Your Emotional Health. I specialize in the mind/ body connection, and as I’ve stated in previous newsletter articles, stress is the underlying culprit of many of the issues my clients present in my Ventura holistic chiropractic practice. Here are three tried-and-true activities you can start using right now to reduce stress.

Flickr photo credit Giuseppe Milo

Dr. Herbert Benson is a pioneer in mind/body medicine. In his 35-plus-year career, he has defined the relaxation response and continues to lead teaching and research into its efficacy in counteracting the harmful effects of stress. When Dr. Benson introduced this simple, effective, mind/body approach to relieving stress in 1975, his book became an instant national bestseller. The Relaxation Response has become the classic reference recommended by most health care professionals and authorities to treat the harmful effects of stress.

Relaxation Response

by Dr. Herbert Benson

1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.

4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “ONE” silently to yourself. For example, breathe IN…OUT, “ONE”; IN…OUT, “ONE”, etc. Breathe easily and naturally.

5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm.

6. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened.

7. Do not stand up for a few minutes.

8. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating “ONE.”

9. With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.

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The neck is a primary target for stress. Here is a simple exercise to release tightness and tension in the neck and shoulders.

NECK AND SHOULDER RELEASE

1. Begin by letting your left ear drift slowly towards your left shoulder. Only go within your normal range of motion, and relax.

2. Place your arms on your lap or at your sides. Then, move your right hand behind your back to extend the flexion for that area.

3. Breathe and relax in that position for 15 to 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on the other side.

5. Next, gently let your chin fall to your chest. Slowly rotate your head in a small semicircle from one side of your collarbone to the other.  Hold your extension for a few seconds at any spot that is a particularly stressed or tight.

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This last exercise is designed to release tension in the neck and shoulders and increase the natural range of motion when turning your head side to side.

TRAPEZIUS RELEASE

 1. With the right hand, grasp the top of your left shoulder muscle (trapezius) and squeeze it gently.

2. Take in a deep breath. When you exhale, turn your head away from the hand, while looking over your right shoulder. Inhale when turning the head back to center.

3. Exhale while turning the head to look over the left shoulder. Return the head to center position.

4. Exhale, drop the chin to the chest. Inhale and raise the head to face forward.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 three times.

6. Next grasp the top of the right shoulder with the left hand and repeat steps 2-5 on the other side.

I encourage you to practice these exercises and feel for yourself the difference they make. As always, I am here to support you in health and wellness. Please call Crystal in my Ventura office at 805-644-0461 for an appointment.

 

If you enjoyed this excerpt and would like to purchase my soft-cover book, Balancing Your Emotional Health, please call the office or click here for more information.

 

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Proactive Steps to Manage Your Stress

By Dr. Michael Roth

Controlling your stress level is a necessity in today’s fast-paced society. For many people, the challenges life brings rest heavily on their shoulders and they don’t know where to begin to alleviate their tension.

Flickr photo credit Bottled Void

Worry – we all do it to some extent. Worrying is a stress-producing activity. Multiple worries can lead to a cycle of non-stop agitation.  Humans usually can tackle only one “worry” at a time effectively.  And really, does the act of worrying ever make anything better or easier?  At the end of the day, put worrying on hold until the morning.  Getting a good night’s sleep can help reduce the urge to worry.

Yoga and other stress-relieving movement exercises are always an asset. For example, the simple act of focusing on your breath allows your mind to take its attention off the stressful thought.  The deep breathing sends fresh oxygen circulating to all parts of your brain and body, refreshing your entire system.

Flickr photo credit Matt Madd

As a holistic chiropractor, I often recommend breathing and movement activities to my patients.  Locally here in Ventura, there are many such choices available.

Rigorous stress-busting exercise works wonders on an emotional and chemical level.  The mood enhancing endorphins created during a good workout relieve stress and may even improve your attitude!  Make sure your primary care doctor clears you for vigorous activity before you begin.  The last thing that you want is to cause more stress through a sports related injury or a cardiac-related mishap.

You are what you eat.  Making good food choices and managing your portion size will reduce the stress that improper nutrition and excess weight put on your system. Many people love their caffeine in coffee and colas. It is wise to limit your caffeine intake to reduce any undue stress it may be creating in your digestion or circulation. Please come talk to me about making healthy food choices—it is a passion of mine!

Treating yourself to some fun is always a good strategy for reducing stress and making life more enjoyable. Go for a walk in the hills or at the beach. Have a catch, toss a Frisbee, go for a swim. See a movie, visit a friend, play with your pets, or tell a joke. Laughter is always a great stress-buster. Laughter chases away the worry and oxygenates the body at the same time!

Flickr photo credit Kendall

Balance is a wonderful word worth reflecting on for a moment. Financial, emotional and physical balance are goals we all wish to achieve. You can start balancing your life today by managing your stress level, releasing more energy to meet those goals. Choose one thing right now that you can do to help release the stress in your life. Come see me for more discussion on how to optimize your health and wellness and reduce YOUR stress!

Stress, your health, and how you can cope!

Photo credit Racchio

The body can adapt to stress quite nicely, but there are times when the body goes into a “flight or fight” response when stress occurs.

An example of this would be if you were to meet a bear in the woods, your physical body would go through a number of changes to prepare you to either fight or flee this situation. Your blood would be redirected from your extremities (giving you cold hands and feet), from your face (pale look) and from your digestive system to the large muscles to help you to run or fight. Your pupils would enlarge to help you see better and your hearing would become sharper. Your breathing and heart rate would increase, as well as your blood pressure would rise. The adrenal glands would secrete adrenalin and other hormones to create a heightened state of arousal. Glucose and oxygen would be increased to the organs such as the heart, brain and skeletal system for more energy.
Once the brain perceived that the threat was over the body would reverse this reaction to a more calm state. Blood would go back to the extremities and digestive system, heart rate, breathing and blood pressure would go back to normal, etc. This bear in the woods situation is not of course a daily occurrence; however humans can have mini stress responses like this on a chronic basis. This consistent physical reaction can lead to disease such as heart disease, heart attacks, insomnia, high blood pressure, low energy, anxiety, weight loss or gain and depression to name a few. Experts say that chronic stress can affect the immune system which can lead to frequent flu’s and colds.

The body reacts just like the extreme physical response described above but on a lesser scale when continual stress is experienced. These consistent mini reactions can wear the body down and take years off our lives.

What can we do about the little annoyances of life that haunt us every day? Deep relaxation exercises can save us from the turmoil of stress. There are many relaxation techniques that you can do on a daily basis to help you lead a more stress free life.

Breathing techniques work wonders. They can slow the brain waves down and help you think more clearly. One breathing technique I do regularly is the following: many people breath too shallowly into their lungs. Practice abdominal breathing. Lie or sit down and put your hands on your abdomen. Breath in deeply and feel your abdomen rise. If you are feeling your chest rise instead, breath in more deeply until you feel your hands rise on your abdomen. Once you have this down, start to do a few minutes of abdominal breathing. Breath in SLOWLY through your nose to the count of three or four (whatever is comfortable). Hold your breath for a second or two and then breath out through pursed lips (as if you are going to whistle) SLOWLY to the count of six to eight (double the intake count). Do this for five to ten minutes a couple times a day. This will definitely relax you!

Flickr photo credit EU Webnerd

Exercise is a great stress reliever and is a must! Exercise produces endorphins, a source of pleasure. It can help to lower blood pressure as well. There are many other relaxation techniques you can try such as meditation, progressive relaxation, imagery, etc.

Watch yourself talk. This is the talk that goes on in your mind all day long. Try to be more understanding and forgiving of the little irritations or people who frustrate you. They may have just had a fight with their spouse or heard some bad news and are in a bad space.

Be positive and stop any negative thoughts in their tracks.

Get out with friends so you have balance in your life.

Laugh! Buy funny videos. Laughter is great for health!

Talk out or write down things that bother you, don’t keep them bottled up inside.

Enjoy life, as it is too short to get ourselves all tangled up in anger and frustration.

Practice relaxation methods and you will see a huge difference in your life.

Be happy!

To learn more about stress and how you can cope.

Contact Dr Michael Roth DC 805-644-0461

Roth Wellness Center

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is stress associated with health?

 

Is stress associated with health? No magical solutions exist for dealing with stress and improving health. There are several popular reports and studies on stress, health, and longevity. For example, in one such study of twenty-seven people in the mountains of Thailand, certain characteristics were associated with longevity. These people were all over 100 years of age, one was 124 years old. They ate a great deal of fish, walked a lot, and lived near mountains. They were also poor, and drinking and smoking did not seem to have any effect on their longevity.

Despite such popular reports and several research studies, we are not able to discover the “sure-fire,” or complete approach to handling stress and improving lifestyle. Hypnosis, meditation, exercise, and diet are not, in themselves, sure solutions. Individuals and companies may offer cure-alls, magical potions, and unique discoveries. Many such approaches offer little more than what one would find in a “witch’s brew” or an astrology chart. Stress management is probably best described as a combination of various strategies such as building up general health through proper nutrition, diet, rest, exercise, and other positive health practices; reducing the sources of life stress and work stress and altering one’s belief and perceptions.

Flickr photo credit Matt Madd

Your personal lifestyle for managing stress is actually important for preventing stress and improving health. Your personality and style is articulated through the principles you value. These principles are like your natural laws and are as fundamental as laws in the universe. If you want to be effective in changing the way you manage your stress and health, you must work within your unique style or paradigm.

Stress is not always a bad word. A world without stress might be very boring. Imagine getting up in the morning, not sure where you are and not at all concerned about the present or future. This is that lazy, hazy feeling where there is nothing to do and a low interest in anything.

We all experience some feeling of stress as we perform our tasks. Without some degree of stress or pressure to perform, there is little desire or motivation. A certain amount of stress, stimulation, or arousal is necessary for human functioning or activity. A moderate amount of job stress or arousal is associated with higher performance in work, on exams, or in life in general.

Low performance, however, can also be associated with stress. There may be an optimum level of stress that we need to be satisfied and perform well.

Published in: on February 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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RESET! — A Simple Solution for Stress Relief!

 

Here is a FANTASTIC new product that I recently found:

RESET!

Is  a clinically  tested  unique blend of herbal extracts used to reduce stress,elevate mood,  eliminate anxiety, and RESET! the nervous system.

RESET!

Benefits Of Using RESET!:
* Works Within Seconds

 

* Increases Focus
* Relieves Stress
* Melts Away Anxiety
* Uplifts Moods
* Increases Sports Performance
* Stops Children’s Temper Tantrums

 

* Breaks Chronic Worrying
* Calms Mind
* Relaxes Body
* Easy Sublingual Spray
It has been suggested that every patient that leaves your clinic should leave with a bottle of RESET!

Well lets take a look at to why and how that can be beneficial…

Life does not wait for anyone. Anxiety is one of the main reasons why people stop living their lives and begin to live in stress. There are different types of anxiety and the more serious ones can actually lead to agoraphobia and other dangerous psychological conditions. Finding a good natural anxiety remedy is not difficult because the market is full of affordable and quality solutions that a person can choose from.

One of the simplest ways to get rid of anxiety is by learning various breathing techniques. When a person learns how to control their breathing by using a natural anxiety remedy, they will ensure that enough blood gets pumped into the vital organs. This way they will continue to function normally and stabilize the blood pressure.

A healthy body is less likely to suffer from anxiety. People who exercise every day will have the strength to maintain their vital signs in optimum levels. Everyday exercises do not have to be extremely hard; after all, not everybody has the time to become a professional athlete. Half an hour of sport a day is a natural anxiety remedy effective enough to relieve anxiety in a very natural and positive way.

 

 

To find out more about this great product, or to order, call my office at
(805) 644-0461.     CALL TODAY!

$29.00 per bottle, 1 fl. oz

 

 

7 Simple Ways To Eliminate Stress:
Stress and anxiety are the hallmarks of today’s busy lifestyle. While most of us bemoan our fast-paced lives and say we want to return to quieter times, the fact is that the tempo of modern life shows few signs of slowing down. In order to keep up, we must continually strive to adapt.

 

Stress is usually defined as what happens when the demands on your body exceed its ability to cope. Our bodies are well-programmed to deal with stress events, via the biological “fight or flight” reaction. When this happens our adrenal glands are then alerted, and in response send nutrients and increased blood to our arms and our legs. Nine out of ten times we will never exert ourselves to the point of having to use all of those nutrients and therefore our body dumps them. So our adrenals are now fatigued and we have a lack of nutrients to feed the cells and organs within the body.
Problems arise, when stress occurs in a repeated, or chronic, pattern. When levels of naturally-produced stress hormones remain elevated over a prolonged period of time, they begin to take a toll on several of the body’s key systems. The results can be heart attacks, high blood pressure, inflammatory diseases, IBS, digestion problems, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, pain, cancer, allergies, and psychological disorders. In fact studies show that over 80% of all doctors visits are due to stress.
So, what’s the solution? Avoid stress altogether? There are so many different causes of stress that it’s hardly possible to avoid it. The solution lies in learning how to manage stress.
*Learning Relaxation / Meditation
*Prayer
*Massage
*Think Positively
*Exercise
*Practice Gratitude
*Natural Herbal Remedies

 

RESET! Is a powerful new formula for the resetting of the nervous system after flight -or- fight reactions or high stress situations. It is able to turn off the gnawing edge of distress or anxiety and when taken regularly it will help overcome the effects of long-term trauma . RESET! is based on a synergistic blend of several relaxant herbs which won’t make you sleepy or cause drowsiness but will relieve the angst of stress and raw frayed nerve reactions in a calming way. Excess stress results in lingering headaches, loss or increase of appetite, and eventually begins to effect your body’s immune system. Managing stress on a day to day basis can prevent many long term effects such as, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease. Stress can greatly affect our daily activities which prevents us from being fully tentative to our work and being able to enjoy their relationships and recreational activities to there fullest. Try RESET! today to take charge of the stress in your life and to live it to its fullest.
After everything has been said we can summarized this into a few bullet points:
  1. Studies show that 80% of all doctor visits are related to stress.
  2. Flight – or – Fight reactions are responsible for triggering most sickness and disease and is the first step in stress.
  3. RESET! is a great way to prevent this reaction and could prevent many doctor visits.
Try RESET! today for yourself and experience the elimination of stress in your life!

$29.00 per bottle, 1 fl. oz.

To find out more about this great product, or to order, call my office at (805) 644-0461.  CALL TODAY!
Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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