Everyone experiences stress, right? But did you know that there are three types of stress, and they all play a different role in how your body and mind operate? We sat down with chiropractor and Blisspot mindset expert Dr. Andrew Powell to chat through the fact there are actually three different types of stress, in particular structural stress, how this arises in our day to day lives and how we can aim to reduce and manage this type of almost unavoidable stress.
Andrew explained that stress is often the core reason that our bodies become ‘unhealthy’. “Our bodies are meant to be functioning and healthy, but the main thing that derails that is stress.” The type of stress that we are most familiar with is what is called ‘emotional’ stress. Emotional stress comes from the family, friends or work troubles and those daily trivial moments of stress like traffic jams, running late for a gym class or spilling coffee down your white top leaving us feeling down or anxious. This is the predominant and most common type of stress that we see taking up the majority of our mind and mental health.
In fact, Andrew let us know that there are three types of stresses that we can, and most probably do, experience daily without even realising. What are these three types of stress?
- Structural Stress
- Chemical Stress
- Emotional Stress
What is structural stress?
Structural stress, Andrew explains, has to do with the structure of our physical body. When we deal with this lesser-known but extremely common structural stress, it frees up our brain to be able to deal with the trickier, more complex emotional stress. Things like tech neck from looking down at a device all day, sitting at a desk chair with bad posture or driving can lead to a negative bodily structure, which can cause huge stress on the mind and body. Why? Because if we find our structure isn’t right, this affects our brain’s neurology, leading to feelings of worry, stress and tiredness.
The main input to the brain is movement. Each time we move our body, this sends a signal to our brain which charges it, making it fire positively, leading to an improved mood and productivity. As mentioned, common things like bad posture or not moving our bodies enough is putting immense stress on our mind and body. We can often then confuse this type of stress with emotional stress. Andrew said he was once told, “movement charges the brain’s batteries.”
How can we try and reduce this type of stress?
Andrew emphasises, “simply walking just 30 mins a day is one of the best things you can do for your brain health and functioning.” When our structural stress is high it can show up in a multitude of physical ways such as a bad headache, a sore back or in negative mental ways such as sadness, anxiety or even a panic attack.
Andrew also mentions that body realignment can be another benefit to reveal where you are experiencing structural stress and how you can aim to fix it, whether it is acupuncture, physio or chiropractic work.
We all experience structural stress each day simply because of the lives we live in the twenty-first century. It can leave little room to deal with emotional and chemical stress. But structural stress can often be the easiest of the three types of stresses to overcome and improve through body therapy and realignment and of course, getting our bodies moving!