Updated: Nov 30, 2020
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much stress is in your life?
What's your answer?
On average, close to 80% of our clients rate their stress level between 5 to 10.
According to the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey, Singapore employees are not only sleep deprived, they are also among the most stressed at work globally. The survey indicates that a whopping 92% of workers in Singapore report feeling stressed, higher than the global average of 84%.
There are three major stressors that could have an impact on your life and health, especially when there was no opportunity to process those stressors in our busy lives. They are:-
These are events or situations that cause an physical injury or distress. Common physical stressors are falls, birth stress from forceps, vacuum or a doctor pulling on the baby’s head, having a surgery, whiplash, being in a position for an extended period of time, such as sitting at your office desk, etc..
These are environmental and chemical substance that cause damage and toxicity to your body. Common chemical stressors prescription and non-prescription drugs, processed food, smoke, heavy metals, dairy, gluten, electromagnetic radiation, endocrine disrupting phenol variants used in plastics and thermal paper receipts, etc..
These are events or situations that cause an emotional response and could vary between different people. An emotional-mental stress for a sensitive child may be being scolded for being late. Common emotional stressors are relationship issues, loss of someone you love, marital issues, being in an abusive relationship, being bullied, etc..
The Stress Response
A stressful incident can make the heart , breathing quicken and muscles tense. This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the "flight-or-fight" response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling us and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations.
The flight-or-fight response can be triggered by stressful situations, overly stressful working lives, social situations and randomly generated thoughts. Our brain cannot always tell the difference between life-or-death threats and relatively minor threats like those to our emotional wellbeing. So a work deadline, public speaking event, bounced cheque, social occasion with strangers, or a rude comment from another can elicit the flight-or-fight response.
The sympathetic nervous system functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the flight-or-fight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. The parasympathetic nervous system acts like a brake. It promotes the "rest and digest" response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.
With the fast-paced lifestyle we lead, many people are unable to find a way to put the brakes on stress. Chronic low-level stress keeps flight-or-fight response activated, much like a motor that is idling too high for too long. Our body get normalised to and become used to being under stress, being in a state of constant fight-or-flight. After a while, this has an effect on the body that contributes to the health problems associated with chronic stress, such as chronic headaches, anxiety, sleep issues, fertility issues, chronic depression, hyperactivity and more.
Most of our clients are in a flight-or-fight mode during their initial assessment, which tells us that they have been experiencing chronic stress in their life and their tailbone (coccyx) is tucked under - imagine a dog with its tail down between his legs.
How do you assess if your body's flight-or-fight response is activated?
Set a timer for 60 seconds and count how many breaths you take in that time. One breath is a cycle of one inhale and one complete exhale. It may be helpful to get someone else to help to watch the timer to get more accurate result.
How many breaths did you take in 1-minute?
The normal range is around 8. Anything more than 8 breath within a minute and you could assume that your body is functioning in flight-or-fight mode and your tailbone (coccyx) is tucked under.
What Could You Do?
There are many things you could do to help manage chronic stress, such as, movement and breath related activities (e.g. tai chi, yoga, qigong, etc.), giving your busy mind a break (e.g. meditation, practising being present, etc.), journaling and social-emotional support from family and friends. Our all-time favourite is a breathing exercise which you can do anywhere (standing, sitting or lying down), and it helps move our nervous system from a flight-or-fight response or sympathetic response to para-sympathetic response (rest, digest and heal) within 2 minutes.
When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed anytime during your day, try this to calm your nervous system and overworked mind.
Stand, sit or lie still and be comfortable. Breathing through your nose, inhale for a count of four ... hold your breath for a count of four... exhale gently for a count of six... and then holding the breath out for a count of four. Keep your breathing even and smooth. This is one breathing cycle.
Repeat for a minimum of 4 breathing cycles. We recommend repeating for as long as your are comfortable doing it.
If the 4 count feels too short try increasing the breath lengths to 6 in and 8 out.
If the longer breaths create any stress there is no need to push yourself. The most important thing is that the exhale is longer than the inhale, not the length of the breath.
How does Spinal Flow Technique help with health problems associated with chronic stress?
Your nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) controls and coordinates everything in your body. When your nerve energy flows abundantly without obstruction, your body and mind are 100% self-communicating, self-healing and self regulating. When blockages impede nerve flow, you are no longer functioning at 100% and your health and vitality is compromised. Blockages are caused by our inability to process life’s 3 major stressors. Health problems associated with chronic stress, such as chronic headaches, anxiety, sleep issues, fertility issues, chronic depression, hyperactivity and more are caused by our inability to process any or a combination of the life’s 3 major stressors - physical stressors, emotional-mental stressors and chemical stressors discussed above.
At RealEase, our approach is to find out what’s happening in your body and the root cause of your pain, illness or dis-ease by partnering with you as well as performing specific assessments on your body. As Spinal Flow Technique practitioners, we help shift your body from a stressed zone (sympathetic state) to a healing zone (parasympathetic state) by focusing on what works/area of ease or where there is flow to move the body from a stressed state to a calm, heal-digest state to facilitate release of physical, chemical and emotional-mental stress from the body.
Looking to find the root cause of you pain, illness or dis-ease and shift your body to optimal health and wellness?