How to Maximize Chiropractic Effectiveness Part IV: Mental Health
Mental health and chiropractic. Your goal shouldn’t be to eliminate physical and mental stress entirely. Some stress is necessary for feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. But there are certain specific instances of stress with zero chance of having a positive impact. An unhealthy diet, poor posture, bad sleep hygiene – all of these create negative feedback loops that are harder and harder to get out of.
Chiropractic care has several mental health benefits to help reduce stress. But it’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation. The more you can minimize stress, the more effective your chiropractic sessions will be, which will, in turn, further improve overall well-being. Let’s identify the most common mental and physical stressors people experience day to day and how to reduce them.
What are the Most Common Causes of Low-level Stress?
Sometimes, the causes of anxiety or discomfort are obvious: a car accident, workplace injury, back pain, etc. Other times, they’re more subtle. Without examining your lifestyle and daily habits, you might accept specific stressors as “just the way things are” when they are anything but. Here are a few examples:
Mentally and emotionally taxing living situations
Traffic during unavoidable daily commutes, inescapable culture wars, and a lack of stimulating or challenging work are just a few of the common problems people face today. They aren’t the “good” kind of stress that you can adapt to, helping you develop a thick skin.
Unhealthy relationships with technology
Nonstop emails, app notifications, and news updates erode the ability to focus and give your full attention to the world around you. Technology often provides a distorted view of our situation as well. Advertisements and social media are extraordinarily good at convincing us that we don’t have it as good as we could. And that’s before even considering the physiological problems associated with laptops and phones.
Physically harmful environments
Modern workplaces can often do more harm than good to our bodies. Some people are expected to sit for several hours a day, while workers on the other end of the spectrum are tasked with picking up and moving heavy objects. Once or twice a week might build resilience and strength, but 40 hours a week is far too much.
Whatever the biggest causes of unhelpful stress in your life are, it’s essential to take a long, hard look at what you can and can’t improve. One option is holistic chiropractic care from highly-rated clinics like Total Spine Health and Injury Center in Maple Grove. But it’s not a magic bullet. It is most effective when paired with complementary lifestyle adjustments that eliminate unnecessary hardships.
Improve Chiropractic Results by Reducing Physical and Mental Stress
A foundational principle of chiropractic care is focusing on treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms. This means addressing the root causes of pain and discomfort, both physical and mental. That might take the form of a spinal adjustment during a weekly chiropractic session or a small change in how you approach personal and work-related tasks. These are a few worth considering:
Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and junk food
Poor eating and drinking habits are leading causes of physical and mental stress. Alcohol and junk food disrupt sleep patterns, increase mood swings, and cause inflammation – all factors that can negatively impact the body’s response to chiropractic care. Check out our advice on healthy eating in Maple Grove and limit yourself to no more than one to two drinks per day.
Regular physical activity, especially when it includes a social component, is a perfect example of the right kind of stress. Whether it’s a brisk walk in the park or a CrossFit class at Maple Grove’s Fierce Play, exercise releases endorphins—natural mood elevators. Find an activity, class, or club that gets your heart rate up, and make it a priority to go three to four times per week.
Spend more time with friends
Regular social interactions can elevate your mood, provide emotional support, and reduce feelings of isolation. One recent study found that strong social relationships have “protective effects on maintaining physical and psychological health.” That could be a weekly coffee date with a friend, a local running club, or a weekly neighborhood potluck. Just remember that the quality of these connections is more important than the quantity.
Be deliberate about when and how you go online
Dedicate specific hours to ‘unplug’ by turning off your computer and your phone. Especially before bedtime (for more sleep tips, read our guide to chiropractic care and sleep). And since unhealthy technology habits often manifest as distractedness and absentmindedness even when you’re disconnected, consider scheduling brief mindfulness or meditation sessions. Spend 10 minutes per day trying not to plan, daydream, or contemplate the future or the past. Just observe, listen, and pay attention.
Establish physical and mental health routines
For all of these recommendations and any other stress reduction efforts you undertake, try to make them habitual. Consistency is vital when improving mental health. Try to wake up at the same time every day, exercise with the same friends, and take a break from technology in familiar places. Routines are like anchors, keeping you from getting blown too far off course and giving you a sense of control.
Seeing a local chiropractor is one of the best ways to reduce physical and mental stress. But if you can make improvements to your habits at work and at home, your improvements will be exponentially more noticeable.
Chiropractic Care for a Happier, Healthier Life
Choosing a chiropractor in your area isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You need to feel comfortable that the person you choose is qualified, empathetic, and serious about your treatment’s success. At Total Spine Health & Injury Center in Maple Grove, new patients are always welcome.
For personalized, professional chiropractic adjustments and treatments from Dr. Tieri and his team, schedule a consultation today.