If commuting is an inevitable part of your lifestyle, keep the damage at bay…
…by being proactive. There is no use denying it: commuting is a stress inducer- to the body and to the brain, it can be hard to find positives for sitting in traffic twice a day besides the fact that it gets you to work to earn your daily bread. If we must commute, let’s be smart about it: here are some ways that we came up with to negate the effects of a commuter lifestyle.
In the car, keep the zen alive.
- Driving posture: stay upright with hands at 9 and 3. Use a rolled up jacket to support the lumbar
- Deep breathing: Use this time to focus on establishing a pattern of deep breathing and get the oxygen you need to stay sane.
- Podcasts: while the news is important, it can add to your stress level. Switch it up and focus on a subject you love with a podcast; it will keep your brain engaged and happy.
- Comfortable shoes: wait til you reach the office to put on those stiff shoes! Slippers can be a comfortable way to commute.
- Stretching: the neck and lower back are the regions which take the most damage during a drive- simple stretches can reverse this damage.
On the train, take a deep breath.
- Focus on relaxing activities: reading, listening to your favorite music or a podcast.
- Progressive relaxation: tense a different muscle group with each inhale and release on the exhale.
- Massage yourself: focus on trigger points to release muscles from tension.
Don’t let stress sink you before you reach the office
These techniques can help you stay balanced as you enter the workplace and this sets you off on the right foot. One way that we help at Park Slope Chiropractic is by reversing the damage that may have been wrought from years of commuting. By focusing on keeping the spine in balance and reversing muscle tension, we can help you experience less pain which is sure to take a bit of stress out of the picture.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
Breathing is an important tool in moments when you feel overwhelmed.
When you are stressed, your breathing becomes more shallow: the kind of quick, panicked breath that sees your chest expanding. With this kind of breathing, you are not getting nearly enough oxygen to nourish the cells in your body and brain, and stress escalates quickly. The solution is to first realize this is happening in the moment- you are overwhelmed and you need to regain control. A signal way to do this is to make a conscious effort to slow down your racing brain by breathing slower.
Breathing slower helps you achieve:
A reduction in blood pressure
A healthier circulation of oxygenated blood to the cells of the body and brain
Less tension in muscles
These qualities translate to you feeling:
Clearer in mind
Less pain in the body
Step up the relaxation one more notch with balanced breathing
A deep, diaphragmatic breath is one that contracts the diaphragm, draws air in through the nose and fills the lungs to the very bottom, where the blood is circulating; this kind of breath is characterized by the abdomen expanding rather than the chest. In moments of stress, take a minute to focus on breathing.
- Close your eyes to block out extra stimuli
- Breathe in for four seconds and out for four seconds evenly
- Link your breaths together in one fluid cycle
The rhythm does wonders, as does the influx of oxygen rushing to cells in need. At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we believe that breathing is a powerful way to influence relaxation. At our office in Park Slope, we encourage a lifestyle that keeps stress at bay through chiropractic adjustment, attention to chronically tense muscles and the use of acupuncture to heal pain and fight anxiety.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
“Take a deep breath,” is an oft-repeated maxim that has lost its gravitas amidst new generations who seem to be spending more time “relaxing” than ever. But I can guarantee you that no matter who you are, stress is still cycling and tension is buidling (albeit at different rates and in differing amounts) throughout the week. Some people happen to be very proactive in their management of it, while some people have developed coping mechanisms that waylay the problem and allow them to work and play despite stress being on the fringes; still others watch their lives suffer at the hands of stress and their bodies suffer from chronically high levels of tension. At Park Slope Chiroractic, we believe that relaxation is a key to finding happiness and we want to offer you all our experience in this endeavor.
Ways to help you relax throughout the day, with your brain and body: Massage your hands and wrists, give yourself a stretch and shake out the tension every once in a while. We can show you acupressure points that can be pressurized by yourself at work to help relieve tension or pain wherever you may be feeling it.
Control your environment: not enough can be said about creating an environment that is conducive to relaxation and productivity, both at home and in the office.
Exercise: During a stressful day at work, try going for a walk outside; the more vigorous the better. eating lunch somewhere outside where you can be under the sun. Bright light and vitamin D are very effective at fighting depression and instilling mental calm.
Creative stimulation: What is your outlet? Doing something that is creative, requires concentration, or both helps you stay centered and focus on something concrete that helps your brain reset, while also bringing you pleasure for whatever you produce.
- Green tea: for an antioxidant boost, and anger fighting properties.
- Honey: for fighting inflammation in the brain, which combats stress
Everyone could use a plan that helps them manage their own unique blend of stress during the day. At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Park Slope we have many years of experience helping people find true relaxation in and outside of our office; give us a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.