Stress is such a destructive force in each of our lives. Everyone, at one point or another, has experienced stress. Everybody has demands in their lives and we each respond differently to those demands. How we individually respond to these demands determines our stress level.
Life is messy- and stressy! Sometimes it lingers around longer than it should. Stress can even originate inside of ourselves! With all the different types and causes of stress, understanding stress is a crucial part of stress management.
Managing stress levels allows us to hit the reset button. Waiting until your body signals that your stress levels are too high is dangerous and unhealthy. It’s important that we prioritize recognizing stress as we experience it and deal with it effectively.
Remember, stress is just the body’s reaction to any change that requires some sort of response. This can manifest in any number of ways, including:
- Musculoskeletal System
When the body experiences stress, your muscles tense up. This muscle tension is almost a reflexive reaction to stress- your body’s defense against injury and pain.
However, with chronic stress, the body is in a constant state of guardedness. Muscles being taut and tense for extended periods of time can trigger other stress responses– even promoting stress-related disorders.
Relaxation techniques have shown to be effective in reducing muscle tension, decreasing the presence of some stress-related disorders, and increase a sense of well-being.
- Respiratory System
Stress has an effect on your breathing, causing you to breathe harder. Acute stress (like the sudden death of a loved one) can trigger asthma attacks. Stress can also cause some to hyper-ventilate– a trigger for panic attacks for those who are susceptible to them.
Both your heart and your blood vessels compromise the parts of the cardiovascular system that function together to provide nourishment and oxygen to your vital organs. This is also a large part in how the human body responds to stress. Acute stress (or short term stress) like meeting deadlines at work or slamming on your brakes in traffic causes an increase in heart rate with stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol serving as the messengers to the other parts of the body. Additionally, your blood vessels dilate, elevating your blood pressure– known as the fight or flight response.
Chronic stress– constant stress over a prolonged period of time– contributes to long-term problems for your cardiovascular system; leading to hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.
Repeated exposure to acute stress and persistent chronic stress can also contribute to inflammation in your circulatory system– specifically, the coronary arteries. This is what ties stress levels to a heart attack. Research shows that a person’s response to stress can also affect their cholesterol levels.
With how stress affects the body and mind, it’s important for you to take measures to manage stress in a healthy way. One of the many relaxation methods to alleviate symptoms of stress is ‘floating,’ or, spending an hour in deep relaxation in one of our float tanks. Each float session is unique and no two floats are ever the same.
The deep relaxation state that you can achieve with every float allows your body to recover from stress. A float tank provides a weightless environment that, when combined with pitch-darkness and silence, induces sensory reduction– allowing your mind and body to completely unplug. This was backed up by a 2001 study in the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, which found that sessions in a float tank is an effective way to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression, increasing optimism.
Floating is a Form of Meditation
A float session is considered Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) that enhances point-to-point relaxation in your body. The water in the tank is heated to just below body temperature (93.53 degrees fahrenheit), which creates a comforting space to reach a level of relaxation typically only achievable as you fall asleep or wake up.
Float Sessions Reduce Cortisol Levels
The REST experienced in a float session helps decrease your cortisol levels. Cortisol has severe implications on numerous bodily functions– altering immune system response, suppressing functions in the digestive tract, the reproductive system, and growth responses.
The over-exposure to cortisol that chronic stress presents can manifest in a number of ways– specifically, anxiety, depression, heart disease, memory and concentration impairment and more.
Floating regularly can reduce cortisol levels and decrease blood pressure and also improve overall mood. If you’re feeling the stress of everyday life in your body– try us out! Schedule a float today.