WESTPORT, Conn. — Southport chiropractor Robert Kipp, D.C., took on the topic of wellness as he spoke Friday to Westport's Sunrise Rotary, talking about the origins of stress and how reducing it fosters greater happiness and productivity.
“Stress is probably the No. 1 reason people cannot stay well,” he said. It is a “silent killer” that leads to high blood pressure, then to heart disease. And heart disease leads to over 800,000 deaths annually, making it the No. 1 killer in the U.S. That's “one death every 33 seconds, the equivalent of a 9/11 every day,” Kipp said.
The most common trigger to a heart attack is a stressful event, and the most frequent time for a fatal one is Monday at 9 a.m. — when the “rat race” restarts, he said.
Kipp noted three types of stress — physical, emotional and chemical. The physical is initiated by exercise — there’s the high from a good workout, but also the negative, from chronic injuries.
Other negatives include accidents, sports injuries, surgeries — the things that take us off our “A” game. Ignore your injuries and “sooner or later you’re going to have an incident,” Kipp said.
Emotional stress can also be positive and negative: A new baby, a promotion — along with a relocation — and buying a new home. “Focusing on the positive makes a big difference,” he said.
Kipp suggested two strategies for reducing emotional stress: Creating a “stop doing” list to eliminate some of the little things we can do without, and taking 10 minutes of downtime every day to meditate, pray, read — or even get an occasional massage.
Chemical stressors include unhealthy fast food, too much caffeine, and overmedication, Kipp said.
Don’t stop taking your medications, but don’t over use them, he said. And think about those that are just life style enhancers.
He closed by suggesting changes that improve our health. Nutrition is essential, “Garbage in, garbage out. … Replace processed food and McDonald’s with a healthy salad and a couple of glasses of water,” Kipp said.
Exercise — every day is best, but make time as often as you can, he said.
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep, younger people eight to 10. Sleep helps heal stress. And “leave your electronics outside your bedroom,” he said
And adopt a Positive Mental Attitude, Kipp said, posing the question: If you project yourself as a happy person, what do you attract into your life?