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Seasonal Struggle: The Mind-Body Connection

Seasonal Struggle: The Mind-Body Connection

Traditionally, the holidays are thought to be a time of joy and laughter—with family around the table, tasty treats for all and gifts a-plenty. But for many folks, that’s just not the case. In fact, this season can be really difficult, whether that’s due to personal reasons, holiday stress or even just the fact that the days are shorter and darker.

Especially during the winter, it’s important to keep tabs on your mental health. You deserve to feel your best, and there are so many different ways that mental health can impact not only how you feel emotionally but also how you feel physically.

Let’s take a look at the relationships between mental and physical health, how chiropractic can help, as well as a few quick ways you can feel better this season.

The Mental-Physical Link

It’s no secret that different forms of mental and emotional duress (stress, depression, anxiety and more) can make it hard to psychologically get through the day—but can also be difficult physically.

The relationship between mental health and chronic conditions is especially complicated. According to the Mental Health Foundation, poor mental health can weaken the body, leaving it susceptible to different types of conditions and leading to or exacerbating chronic physical ailments. In turn, chronic conditions impact mental health, creating a cyclical effect.

Poor mental health can also impact your sleep cycles, hormonal balance and energy levels, and has been linked to increased rates of respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

The Benefits of Chiropractic on Mental Health

In 2013, a study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, out of 2,818 patients undergoing chiropractic care, 76 percent reported an improvement in their mental/emotional health. But… how is that possible? It’s simple—since chiropractors focus on whole-body wellness, starting with your spine, it inevitably will affect your mental health too.

A healthy spine is key to clear, efficient communication within the body. When spinal vertebrae become misaligned (whether due to injury, regular wear and tear, toxins, stress and more) it can put pressure on neighboring nerves, effectively stunting communication from your brain to the rest of the body. This makes it hard for the body to heal itself when problems arise.

Chiropractors use gentle chiropractic adjustments and therapies to realign subluxated (or misaligned) vertebrae in the spine, encouraging optimal function. Under care, many patients suffering from chronic pain and discomfort are able to find relief, which in turn, can positively affect mental health and disrupt the cycle. Chiropractic can also help with sleep issues, decrease blood pressure, lessen stress levels and encourage relaxation—all important players in good mental health.

In addition, adjustments have been shown to trigger an increase in positive hormone production, including oxytocin, cortisol and neurotensin. These hormones are critical in neutralizing pain caused by stress, encouraging social bonding and curbing inflammation-induced pain.

Quick Holiday Mental Health Tips You Can Use Today

Although chiropractic is key to long-term health… what about how you feel now? The holidays are now, and tensions might be high. Here are a few quick tips that may help you feel better!

Take time for yourself without isolating yourself. It is important to surround yourself with supportive, positive and caring people.

Stay active. Even just thirty minutes of some light window-shopping can help increase mood and produce endorphins.

Focus on one thing at a time. Pace yourself. The holidays can become overwhelming fast. Focus on one thing at a time to prevent a feeling of drowning, and remember, it’s perfectly OK to slow down.