Stress. We’ve all experienced it or are currently experiencing it in some form. Personal illness, the illnesses of loved ones, and the weight of day to day living along with the responsibilities that come with it all contribute significantly to how stressed out we can feel. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that another huge stress factor can be traced to politics: what’s currently happening in politics, the state of affairs in our country and even watching the news can all be a source of stress in our lives. In light of the recent political climate, in which the 2016 election race is heating up and tensions are already rising, I’d like to focus on the effects of chronic low level stress on the body caused by politics, and one way you can reduce it: with massage.
The Stress of Politics
According to one study, 44% of people who experience a “great deal of stress” experience it after hearing about what the government and politicians are doing. And that number only rises in an election year…which we’re currently experiencing! What makes this even more interesting is that people with higher cortisol levels are less likely to be involved in politics, engage in political discussions or get out and vote. And I wouldn’t blame them–as the election cycle amps up, the average person is bombarded on all sides with political messages, arguments, and just all around negativity. It’s enough to distress anyone.
But this stress can be lethal! Over time, stress causes increased adrenaline, cortisol and other tension-related hormones that wear your body down. This makes your body susceptible to a whole host of ailments, including a disruption of normal eating and sleeping patterns, weight gain, high blood pressure, irritability, fatigue and decreased longevity. Even low levels of stress can put you more at risk from dying of a heart attack or stroke! For the sake of your longevity and well-being, it’s important that you keep it out of your life.
Fight Stress with Massage Therapy
You may be tempted to just turn off the TV and ignore the election completely. But I have a better idea: massage therapy is an incredibly effective way to combat stress. Massage has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress as well as promote overall relaxation in the body. This is because massage triggers the “relaxation response” in your body, meaning that as your cortisol levels drop (up to 53%!), your brain floods your body with endorphins. Meanwhile, your blood pressure and heart rate drop, your breathing slows and deepens, and your muscles loosen for an overall feeling of relaxation in the body AND in your mindset. There’s a reason why my patients emerge from their sessions feeling completely rejuvenated: the increased blood flow and euphoria caused by those endorphins allow you to transcend whatever is causing your stress. It gives you a whole new perspective on life.
So, if the election year is already causing you anxiety, no matter how mild, it might be time for the ultimate remedy: a massage. You may not even realize that politics are causing your stress, but don’t feel ashamed if they are. Politics and the oftentimes negative behaviors associated with it can be overwhelming and can rob us of our inner peace and well-being. At the very least, reclaim your relaxation for America!