The Posture of Stress

by Dr. Powell on January 27, 2012

in About,Introduction,Symptoms

Stress Posture

So in the last post I asked the question “What would happen if every time we someone touched us on the shoulder we thought we where under attack?” The answer is that you would not be fun to be around and we would call you “stressed out”! The reason becomes clearer as we look at the symptoms of stress.

stress posture

Think about a time when you where totally relaxed and try to visualize your posture at that moment. You where most likely extended, meaning that your shoulders where back your head back and your trunk extended. Compare that to a time when you thought you where stressed, and your shoulders rounded forward, your head forward and a flex in your hips. This is natural for when we are in the sympathetic mode we flex and in the relaxed mode we extend. Have you ever noticed a worm curl up when it thinks it is threatened? Does it curl backwards or does it curl forward like the image in the picture. It curls forward because flexing is the natural stress response.

How to reduce the stress effect?

Manage your physiology

The first most powerful thing we all can do to reduce stress is to breathe. It may seem simple but our breath rate actually tells our brain how much oxygen to expect and that information alters hormones and other neurotransmitters that influence and dictate the function or other major organs like the thyroid and adrenals. By simply controlling the rate of breathing we can change our response to stress.

The next time you are in a room observe people as they walk in and out. Look for signs that someone is having a good day and some that indicate that they are not. It will become clear to you that our bodies, or our physiology reflect what’s happening with our thinking. The rounded shoulders, head down, tight facial muscles are signs that stress is not being handle well in that moment. When you find yourself in that physiology, stand tall, breathe deeply and change the focus in your mind. Without any effort you will be affecting the two of the three causes of subluxation and reducing the stress to your spine and nervous system and, therefore, the decay that comes with it.

Manage your thoughts or perception

The second way is to change how we think of what is causing our stress. There are several way for us to do this. Much of it depends on the type of stress we are experiencing. So, let me give you one example of how to reduce stress using thought. Lets say that there is a big test coming up, one that will impact your future with a company or a school or with your personal goals. You have done all you could to prepare for the test yet there is anxiety over taking the test. How do you think your body would respond, if instead of focusing on taking the test, you shifted your focus to what you were going to do after the test? This simple activity now puts your mind to something you are looking forward to, and the test now becomes something that you want to do in order to get to that thing. The first time I tried this I did not expect much. I had to attend a two day meeting, and was not looking forward to being away from my family. It was stressful to me. So I came up with some activities that I wanted to do when I returned, and now instead of the stress of leaving for two days, I was more focused on the fact that something fun was just around the corner. The side effect was that I enjoyed the meeting more than if I had stayed in that non-productive mind set. There are many ways to apply this simple idea. Find what works for you!

 

 

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