Updated: May 16
One frequent complaint I hear in my office is anxiety. In the United States, anxiety affects 18.1% of the adult population, or 40 million Americans every year. According to an American Psychological Association survey, New Yorkers cite personal health, job stability, and housing costs as sources of stress more often than the rest of the country. Almost all of the surveyed recognize the direct link between their stress level and health. However, the competitive environment and a strong desire to succeed, have resulted in a continuous struggle for New Yorkers to make lifestyle changes to improve mental health. I can only imagine this current lockdown has intensified the stress and anxiety level of everyone.
When we are constantly in a stress-induced sympathetic state, the body is taking away resources used for digestion, cell repair, waste excretion, and even libido. Instead, the resources will be redistributed to facilitate increased alertness, heart rate, breathing, and blood supply into the muscles to prepare for "fight or flight". More than often, the stressors that trigger the sympathetic responses are no longer life-threatening in our modern-day society. However, our bodies often cannot tell the difference between real and imagined threats. The stress of losing your job is just as real as being chased by a pack of wolves. When we are exposed to stress for a prolonged period of time, the overly active sympathetic functions can cause wear and tear on our systems, and can even result in adrenal fatigue. During this stressful time, it is even more crucial to take care of our mental health. Here are a few acupressure points to help manage your stress and anxiety by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, to assist your body to return to homeostasis.