Craniocervical Specialist Dr. Chris Slininger joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the global health and wellness show Bloom to talk about brain health and stress.

“The stress response is actually the fight-or-flight response of our brain. The fight-or-flight response is very useful when we are under a direct threat. If we are attacked, an animal comes after us, or our child is in danger, the fight-or-flight response will get activated in our brain, which triggers the release of stress hormones. The main stress hormone that everyone is familiar with is adrenaline.” said Dr. Slininger.

Dr. Slininger went on to say  “Adrenaline makes our muscles strong, our heart rate increase, and our blood pressure rise. All these things help us to be able to either fight, respond very quickly, or run away from danger. When we have these stress hormones in our body, it also suppresses our digestive system, suppresses our immune system, makes it very difficult to think, and drains our energy very quickly. Basically, stress hormones are great for survival from danger, but terrible for everyday life.”

Dr. Slininger explained when we get stressed out (which means our situation around us is harder than we are able to handle), our body constantly drips these stress hormones into our system, keeping us in a fight-or-flight state. If we stay in this state long enough, we run out of energy and even suck up our energy reserves. 

“We end up feeling very lethargic, our digestive system absorbs very little nutrition (leaving us malnourished, and we feel like we have a brain fog that clouds our thinking.” said Dr. Slininger.  He went on to say “Dealing with the effects of long-term stress is actually kind of tricky. I say this a lot, but first you have to identify the root cause of each individual’s long-term stress response is.”

Dr. Slininger tells his patients once you identify the root cause, then you can make specific changes for your unique situation.

Dr. Slininger provided a couple examples of causes, and some things that you can do about it:

Situational stress is stress that is brought on by your environment. It could be your work, finances, or people around you.  This usually requires you growing as a person to handle harder things and harder people in healthy ways. Reading books, going to personal growth seminars, and developing yourself will make you a stronger person.  You will feel more comfortable in more environments, which naturally reduces stress.

Psychological stress would refer more to somebody’s emotions and thought life. Somebody who has PTSD or grown up in a very rough situation, may have deep-seated emotional reactions that drive stress from the inside. This greatly affects our our physical body, but the root often seems hidden.  In these situations, it is important to work with a high-quality counselor or a person with wisdom to identify where some of these thoughts and feelings are coming from, and learn to deal with those and healthy ways.

Physiological stress means it’s coming from within your own body. You’re not stressed out because of a situation, emotion, or thought. It means there is something going wrong inside your brain or body that is putting your brain into a fight-or-flight state. I actually deal with a lot of these types of cases. This will often happen when someone has a head injury, a whiplash injury, or a concussion, leaving an irritation in the nervous system. When we correct the sensitive areas of the spine, it often helps the brain relax and the stress response to calm down. In  these cases, people will begin to get their energy back once the brain is functioning correctly.

So in conclusion, to manage stress, you don’t want to treat the stress itself.  It is more important to understand why it is occurring and then take actions to deal with the root cause.  In this way, the stress response shuts off naturally, the brain and body heal, and your energy will return.

You can watch Bloom in the Tampa Bay Market weekdays at 2pm on WFLA News Channel 8.

Bloom is now part of DBTV Network Seen In Over 300 Million Households worldwide, including Roku TV, and Amazon Fire. 

Bloom also airs in 40 markets across the country, with a reach of approximately 36 million households, and in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Madison, WI.