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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Mich LAc

Stressed? Now What?!

Every day, in the news and media, we hear about the dangers of #stress and the damage chronic stress can cause to the body. A simple google search of stress and disease pulls up some 310,000 results. There is a lot of information out there, but publishing clinical research studies and medical journal articles doesn't do much to help everyday people live healthier lives and feel better. It is the responsibility of the neighborhood healthcare providers to review all the latest information and to teach their patients practical skills they can use to improve and protect their health. I am committed to improving the lives of my friends and neighbors in Oregon City. It is my mission to share #Acupuncture and #Chinese #Medicine with everyone who is interested and to use my training to promote health and healing for all members of our community. I believe that stress related disease, like being more susceptible to common colds and flu, asthma, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation that leads to autoimmune diseases, heart disease and heart attacks, cancer, pain, digestive disorders, and sudden death, is MANAGEABLE and PREVENTABLE. Let me help you to stop stress related diseases in their tracks so you can live well, play longer, and enjoy your life to the fullest!

What is Stress, exactly?

Stress is a generalized physiological response that occurs in the thalamus and hypothalamus of the brain to an external stimulus or event. This response is commonly known as the "flight or flight" or stress response. When stress occurs, there is a release of hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, epinephrine,and norepinephrine that affect a person's heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and body fluid regulation. If stress occurs for a short amount of time, for appropriate reasons, it is beneficial for the body. The fight or flight response is very helpful if someone is escaping from a burning building or running from a tiger. Over extended periods of time however, the long term elevation of blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension damages the body. While stress scientifically may be a chemical reaction in your brain, its effects are certainly NOT all in your head.

What are the Symptoms Related to Being Over-Stressed?

  • nausea

  • indigestion

  • spastic colon

  • irritable bowel syndrome

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • insomnia

  • irregular sleeping patterns

  • colds and sinus infections

  • vaginal yeast infection

  • bladder infections

  • PMS

  • Painful Periods

  • fibromyalgia

  • arthritis

  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • asthma

  • Irritability or moodiness

  • headache

  • migraines

How Big is the Stress Epidemic? HUGE!!

  • Top Causes of Stress in the U.S.

  • 1. Job Pressure: Co-Worker Tension, Bosses, Work Overload

  • 2. Money: Loss of Job, Reduced Retirement, Medical Expenses

  • 3. Health: Health Crisis, Terminal or Chronic Illness

  • 4. Relationships: Divorce, Death of Spouse, Arguments with Friends, Loneliness

  • 5. Poor Nutrition: Inadequate Nutrition, Caffeine, Processed Foods, Refined Sugars

  • 6. Media Overload: Television, Radio, Internet, E-Mail, Social Networking

  • 7. Sleep Deprivation: Inability to release adrenaline and other stress hormones

  • U.S Stress Statistics

  • % of people who regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress 77%

  • % of people who regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress 73%

  • % of people who feel they are living with extreme stress 33%

  • % of people who feel their stress has increased over the past five years 48%

  • % of people who cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress 76%

  • % of people who reported lying awake at night due to feeling stressed 48%

  • Stress Impact Statistics

  • People who say stress has a negative impact on their personal/ professional life 48%

  • Employed adults who say they have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities 31%

  • Percent who cited jobs interfering with their family/personal time as a significant source of stress 35%

  • Percent of people who said stress has led to fights with people close to them 54%

  • Percent of people who reported being alienated from a friend or family member because of stress 26%

  • Annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work: $300 Billion

  • Percent who say they are "always" or "often" under stress at work 30%

  • People who cited physical symptoms experienced the following

  • Fatigue 51%

  • Headache 44%

  • Upset stomach 34%

  • Muscle tension 30%

  • Change in appetite 23%

  • Teeth grinding 17%

  • Change in sex drive 15%

  • Feeling dizzy 13%

  • People who cited psychological symptoms experienced the following

  • Irritability or anger 50%

  • Feeling nervous 45%

  • Lack of energy 45%

  • Feeling as though you could cry 35%

How Do I Know if Stress is a Problem For Me?

Read the following statements. If many of the statements resonate as true, or if some are true very frequently, being over-stressed may be a problem for you.

  • I eat to calm down, especially at night.

  • I speak and eat very fast.

  • I drink alcohol or smoke to calm down.

  • I rush around but do not get much done.

  • I work too much.

  • I delay doing the things I need to do.

  • I sleep too little, too much or both.

  • I slow down mentally, physically, or both.

  • I try to do too many things at once.

  • I have difficulty remembering things.

  • Worry keeps me awake at night.

  • I frequently have stomach upset.

  • I dread getting up in the morning.

  • If I get sick, it lingers for a long time.

  • I spend a lot of time wishing I could get away from it all.

  • I can't remember when I last had a vacation.or even some real time off.

  • I never have time to do any hobbies.

  • I cannot seem to make any time for myself.

  • I am so tired, even when I get extra sleep.​

How Can I Manage My Stress Better?

  1. Talk with family and friends. A daily dose of friendship is great medicine.

  2. Engage in daily physical activity. Regular physical activity can relieve mental and physical tension. Physically active adults have lower risk of depression and loss of mental functioning. Physical activity can be a great source of pleasure, too. Try walking, yoga, swimming, biking or dancing every day.

  1. Embrace the things you are able to change. While we may not be able to do some of the things we once enjoyed, we are never too old to learn a new skill, work toward a goal, or love and help others.

  2. Remember to laugh. Laughter makes us feel good. Don't be afraid to laugh out loud at a joke, a funny movie or a comic strip, even when we're alone.

  1. Give up the bad habits. Too much alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine can increase blood pressure. If you smoke, decide to quit now. If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

  2. Slow down. Try to "pace" instead of "race." Plan ahead and allow enough time to get the most important things done without having to rush. Slowing down your breathing is also helpful. Practice taking slow deep breaths to slow your mind and beat stress.

  3. Get enough sleep. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can't sleep, take steps to help reduce stress. Physical activity also may improve the quality of sleep.

  1. Get organized. Use "to do" lists to help you focus on your most important tasks. Approach big tasks one step at a time. For example, start by organizing just one part of your life — your car, desk, kitchen, closet, cupboard or drawer.

  2. Practice giving back. Volunteer your time or spend time helping out a friend. Helping others helps you. Even spending a few moments everyday appreciating what you are grateful for can be really helpful.

  1. Try not to worry. The world won't end if your grass isn't mowed or your kitchen isn't cleaned. You may need to do these things, but right now might not be the right time. Remember, whether you worry or not, the outcome of the problem will probably be the same. It's easier to make good decisions when you are well rested with a clear mind.

  2. Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments. Acupuncturists have been helping people cope with stress for thousands of years. The ancient theories of Chinese Medicine of how stress affects the organs are similar to Western Medicine, however Chinese Medicine is able to treat root causes as well as signs and symptoms.

In addition to Acupuncture Treatment and Chinese Herbal Formulas, I also offer a comprehensive line of Western Nutritional Supplements for Managing Stress. There are lots of options available, so we can work together to find the perfect fit for you! Call me today at 503-868-1496 to learn more about how I can help!

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