I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have patients come into my office asking me to reduce their stress levels. When I tell them their stress response can be used as an opportunity to grow and understand oneself better, I am often met with a frustrated and confused look. It is said that 75%-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress related ailments and concerns, from the common cold to cardiovascular disease and everything in-between. These health concerns are often the cause of physical and biochemical changes that happen in our bodies due to our stress messaging systems.
The truth, however, is that stress alone is not the issue. What has been documented as the real issue is the way we perceive stress. Another way of saying this is, stress only becomes a major health issue when we believe it is. If two people are experiencing difficulties concerning their financial situation, the individual that believes their stress response is harmful (and feels unequipped to deal with it) will in fact increase their mortality risk by over 40% over the individual that does not perceive their stress response as harmful (and feels equipped to understand it) – just by believing their stress is harmful! This piece of knowledge can make a dramatic change in your health.
The good news is, when we learn to change our perspective of stress, we learn to change our body’s response to stress. The more you practice the more you strengthen your ability to manage your stress and health. Let us learn not to run from discomfort, but change the way we perceive it/stress (and our body’s response to it) so we can take full advantage of these opportunities for a deeper understanding of ourselves and move towards better health.
Until the next time, let’s keep growing.
Article provided by Dr. K, our Naturopathic Doctor at Align Health Centre.