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How to Manage Stress in Real Life

The key to effective stress management is finding the combination of resources that work for you. Don't stop until you find it.
Woman meditating on the ground
We all know it.  We get it.  Long-term stress is not healthy.
What is less obvious is what to do about it.
What is most important? Regular exercise? Avoiding sugar? Meditation? Acupuncture? Herbs?
Well… it depends, and the answer will be different for different people!
But figuring out what works reliably for you is well worth the effort.  Now is a great time learn how to create a personalized stress relief protocol that fits your specific needs and biochemistry.

How to create your stress relief toolkit

The first and most common way to fail at developing effective stress relief strategies is to ignore your stress and the symptoms it causes, expecting to be able to just wait them out.  I tried that approach years ago, and many of my patients have since, and we currently have a 0% success rate.
Pay attention to how stress feels in your body.  What symptoms do you feel?  Where and when do you feel them?  Track these symptoms to learn how stress is affecting you.  Don’t skip this step! You won’t be able to track changes if you don’t know what you are trying to change.
Then you get to start experimenting.  You are a one-person pilot study on how to control your stress symptoms.  Scientific trials and even social media can give you some ideas for what has worked for some people, but they are not you.  You are going to have to test these out to see how they work for your needs.
Below are the test protocols you can try.  Start with 1-3 at a time, and plan to do them for at least 1 month.  After that month, check in on your symptoms.  Are they better?  Worse?  What does your gut tell you?  Keep what seems to be helping and ditch what doesn’t.

Lifestyle & Behavior Modification:

•Move your body in any way you choose for 30 minutes every day
•Meditate, pray or breathe deeply for 20 minutes every day
•Engage in a craft or hobby for 20 minutes every day
•Journal for 20 minutes every day

Beneficial Supplements:

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Dietary adjustments:

•Limit sugar and alcohol
•Increase Omega 3s through diet or supplementation
•Consider a Food Sensitivity Test to find inflammatory sources

Herbal Formulas:

•Xiao Yao San (Easy Wanderer)*
•Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan*
•Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan*
*Formula & dosage of Chinese herbs depend on your specific TCM diagnosis. It is highly recommended to work with a Licensed Acupuncturist to get an herbal prescription that fits your needs for safety and efficacy.

Professional Services:

Get acupuncture; consult a Licensed Acupuncturist for recommended frequency
•Get therapy; interview therapists to find the right fit. Get recommendations from friends, trusted health professionals or start with your in-network insurance providers
•Try massage or sound therapy; interview and/or try multiple providers to find a good fit
Track your symptoms as you move through your test protocols. If you notice something has created an improvement in your symptoms, even by 10%, keep doing it and add on another.
Keep repeating until you have your personalized mix of stress management tactics that work best for you!

The key to effective stress management is finding the combination of resources that work for you. Don’t stop until you find it.

Chris Goddin, owner and acupuncture of Balance Wellness

Why choose Balance?

I have made it my mission to be an advocate for you, my patients, and determine what steps you need to take to improve your health and get to the root of your health issues. My background in Integrative Medicine gives me the opportunity to understand the various mechanisms that are causing your health issues and the tools we can use to fix them.

I feel extremely fortunate to have found this medicine and I look forward to the opportunity to share it with you!

—Chris Goddin, L.Ac.


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