Continued success for stress management requires an ongoing plan in addition to the relaxation techniques. Lifestyle changes, in the form of frequent meditation, journaling, and mindful positive thinking are necessary. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of these actions. A 2013 controlled study found a correlation between positive emotions and better physical health in a research group (4). This same study also found evidence supporting an increase in vagal tone (regulation of the body at rest) with positive emotions.
As one of the cranial nerves, the vagus nerve is responsible for many automatic functions in your major organs -including the heart and lungs. Tone, or tension, of this nerve is a good indicator of the level of your emotional control and the effect of that control on your body’s critical functions. One of the best ways to increase your vagal tone is through mind-body practices like controlled breathing, centered humming, and meditation. The Journal of Investigative Medicine published a study showing mind-body techniques have a positive effect on PTSD (5). Good vagal tone also has benefits beyond emotional control, such as playing a part in reduced inflammation and good digestion (6).
Nutrition and physical activity also play integral roles in anxiety reduction and stress management. Under the care of Dr. Murfin - the use of natural herbs and supplements, as well as exercise, helps replace and enhance your body’s missing nutrients while restoring proper function. This, in turn helps reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a cycle – when you feel better, you’re less stressed and vice versa.
Functional Medicine treatment, especially in conjunction with guidance from a professional lifestyle educator at Dr. Murfin’s practice, aids in the change of thinking patterns. When you’re stuck in a cycle of negative emotions, your stress levels increase and cause harmful effects on your health. This can aggravate existing conditions such as fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes. Emotional control, mindfulness of your body, and positive thinking are vital for good health (7).