2020 has been a year full of uncertainty, fear and STRESS!
So what is stress? Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress can stem from external stimuli such as from the environment or from psychological or social situations, or internal stimulus such as illness or a medical procedure. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry or nervous. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. However, prolonged exposure to stressors can have devastating and long-lasting effects on both your health and interpersonal relationships.
Are there different types of stress?
In fact there are two: “positive” and “negative” stress. Positive stress can motivate you to get that promotion at work or run the last mile of a marathon. Negative stress, however, can seriously interfere with your job, family life or health. More than half of Americans say they fight with friends and loved ones because of stress, and more than 70% say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from it. In fact 50% of U.S. workers admit to experiencing office stress and 25% say work is the biggest source of stress in their lives.
So what causes stress?
The cause of stress is different for everyone. The most common stressors people experience, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic, are:
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Increase in financial obligations
- Getting married
- Moving to a new home
- Chronic illness or injury
- Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)
- Taking care of an elderly or sick family member
- Traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape or violence against you or a loved one
- Home schooling your children
Perhaps less thought-of stressors that negatively affect your health include:
- Being unhappy at your job
- Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
- Working long hours
- Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work or no say in decision-making
- Working under dangerous conditions
- Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination
- Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
- Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn't supportive
What are the symptoms to look for if you think you might be suffering from stress?
Stress disturbs the body's internal balance or equilibrium, leading to both physical and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms most commonly present in the body as:
- Upset stomach
- Elevated blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Problems sleeping
- Dizziness or a general feeling of "being out of it"
- General aches and pains
- Teeth grinding, jaw clenching
- Indigestion or acid reflux
- Increase in or loss of appetite
- Muscle tension in neck, face and/or shoulders
- Racing heart
- Cold and sweaty palms
- Tiredness, exhaustion
- Trembling, shaking
- Weight gain or loss
Emotional symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Panic attacks
What does research say about the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating stress?
According to Effectiveness of Acupuncture Therapy on Stress in a Large Urban College Population, a clinical trial was conducted on 62 participants
to study the effectiveness of acupuncture on the perception of stress in patients who study or work on a large, urban college campus. The participants were randomly placed into two groups: verum (traditional) acupuncture group and a sham acupuncture group. Both the groups received treatments once a week for 12 weeks. After the 12 weeks, the group that received verum acupuncture showed a significantly greater treatment effect than the sham acupuncture group. This study indicates that acupuncture is successful in decreasing the perception of stress in students and staff at a large urban university, and this effect persists for at least three months after the completion of treatment.
So how can The Point of Health Wellness Center help?
We are so happy you asked! Together we discover the root cause of your stress utilizing a specific stress detection technique performed during your initial exam that allows the body to alert us to the areas of the body that are stressed. The body always lets us know what's going on internally. Because we treat based on the root cause and the symptoms you are experiencing we’re able to offer a holistic approach to wellness. During the second visit we discuss nutrition and how you can use food as medicine, and on the third visit we discuss herbs. The whole experience is geared towards treating your body's specific needs from several different vantage points. We know the road to stress management can be a long and hard one, but be encouraged you’re not on this journey alone.
The Point of Health and Wellness Center is here for you!