Stress Is not All Just In Your Head

Stress Is Not All Just In Your Head

Everyone experiences  the effects of stress at some time.  Anxiety over a relationship….financial…frustration at work…the list is endless.  But, wherever it is coming from it is not “all in your head!

Do you wake up with the worst “what if’s”?  Worry about it all day, weeks?  Soon it is anxiety.   If your problem is ongoing, it can become a new normal…extra stress hormones floating around, then inflammation.

Adrenalin can be helpful in danger situations, such as survival in the event of an attack.  But over time it is very damaging.

Effects of Chronic Stress

Effects of Stress
Effects of Stress

Chronic stress interferes with your immune system, causes inflammation and then leading to chronic diseases.  Before long you may trigger high blood pressure, asthma and keep getting everything that is going around.

Stress gains momentum, growing until suddenly it crashes.  This could be at the expense of your health. You have trouble sleeping and and on emotional level you feel like burn-out.

Psychological stress is misleading, because no stress is only psychological…it’s not just all in your head.

When stress is chronic, your immune system becomes desensitized to cortisol, and inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone,  this decreased sensitivity raises the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control.  Chronic inflammation is the root of heart disease and many chronic diseases.

Prolonged stress can damage you brain cells and make you unable to remember simple things.  It can trigger a degenerative process in your brain that can result in Alzheimer’s disease.   Stress can induce weight gain and belly fat, which increases your cardiovascular risk.

Digestive problems can be increased because  of disrupted gut microbes.  Causing decreased nutrient absorption, and four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism.

Stress is also implicated in cancer,  not so much as a cause of cancer but it seems to fuel it’s growth.  In the case of excess cortisol, some cell receptors become muted, including receptors on immune cells.  This is one reason why people under stress are about twice as likely to develop a cold after exposure to a cold virus.

Positive Emotions

On the brighter side, positive emotions like happiness, hope, and optimism also signal changes in your body’s cells, even producing the release of feel-good brain chemicals.  You can artificially produce happiness by taking drugs or drinking alcohol, but the same dopamine and endorphin high can be achieved by healthy habits like exercise, laughter, hugging or bonding.  A 10 second hug can lead to a biochemical reaction in your body that can improve your health.

Regular stress management is important for everyone.  This might be turning off the daily news, restraining from social media, or staying away from negative people.  There are also stress management tools such as having a good cry, meditation, or practicing Heart Map. Also helpful is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique by a simple tapping with the fingertips to specific points on your head and chest while you think about a specific problem. This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the emotional block from your body’s bio-energy system.  This helps to balance your mind and body, which is essential for optimal health of chronic stress.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

 Your Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

As you probably know, the physiological functions of virtually all organisms are governed by 24-hour circadian rhythms.  The modern, round-the-clock lifestyle, made possible by electric lighting, could disrupt your circadian rhythm  and interfere with leaning abilities.  Your lack of sleep due to an over loaded calendar, e-mail, web surfing and TV could take a toll on your health whether you realize it or not.  This is a  surefire way to dysregulate your circadian rhythm.  This can contribute to a whole host of chronic health problems, since your circadian system “drives” the biological activity at the cellular level.  Disruptions can cascade outward throughout your entire body.

Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm

Disrupted Sleep Patterns Can Impact Your Health

Your circadian clock influences :

Short term memory-Your circadian clock controls your daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness by alternately inhibiting  and exciting different parts of your brain through regulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.  This part of your brain is known as the hippocampus. This must be excited in order for the things you learn to be organized in such a way that you’ll remember them later. If your internal clock isn’t functioning properly, it causes the release of too much GABA.  Excess GABA can lead to short term memory loss and inability to retain new information.

Learning Performance-Better sleep enhances performance and learning.

Weight gain/loss- Previous research has indicated that lack of sleep affects levels of metabolic hormones that regulate satiety and hunger.  When you are sleep deprived, your body has decreased production of leptin.  This hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food.  At the same time, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

Diabetes and heart disease risk-Too little and too much sleep may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.    A similar pattern has also been observed in the relationship between sleep and coronary heart disease.

Immune System– Research has found that when you are well-rested you will most likely have a stronger immune system to respond to viruses.  You release certain hormones during sleep that is responsible for boosting your immune system.

Cancer risk– Disruption of your circadian clock may influence cancer through changes in hormones like melatonin.  Your brain makes melatonin during sleep, and it known to suppress tumor development.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer.  When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body may produce less melatonin and therefore may have less ability to fight cancer.

Stress is Created by Inconsistent Circadian Cycle

Making matters worse, poor sleeping habits also tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone. When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.  Your muscles tense, your digestive processes stop, and certain brain centers are triggered,  which alters your brain chemistry.

A Natural Rhythm to Light Exposure

A part of living in sync with your natural circadian rhythm is to have consistent, regular exposure to light during the day and sleeping in absolute darkness at night.  This will help optimize your natural melatonin production.

Use Your Circadian Rhythm for Optimal Health

Regardless of your age, the best way to keep your circadian clock functioning properly is to make sure you are getting the necessary amount of high quality sleep, during those hours when your body expects to be sleeping.

It is important to realize that even if you do everything else right-eat nutritious meals, exercise, manage stress-if you aren’t getting high-quality sleep your health is bound to suffer in numerous ways.

For further info on sleep check out For A Good Nights Sleep Here Are 20 Facts.

I am Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

What is Your Stress Level?

What is Your Stress Level?What is your stress level?

How often do you practice the power of appreciation and an “attitude of gratitude” throughout the day?

How often do you practice a stress management method, meditation, etc?

How often do you feel “stressed out”?

Stress is your response to unusual demands made on you.  What is Your stress level?  You can respond positively or negatively, which is distress.  The effects of stress depend on your response to the demands.  Sometimes, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to stress.

Stress causes hormones in your hypothalamus (an are of your brain stem) to be secreted.  This causes the pituitary gland to stimulate the production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).  ACTH travels through the blood stream from the pituitary gland to the adrenal gland.  The adrenal gland stimulates the release of cortisol.  Cortisol activates your brain’s reward center and increases levels of insulin in the blood stream, stimulating the desire for high-fat high-sugar foods.

Here are some ways to be more productive and help life to run smoother.

1.  Ask for help.  It’s OK to ask family and friends to help you out.  You do not get a Super Man award for trying to do it all.  In fact, you may be so overwhelmed that staying committed to your healthy lifestyle is much harder than when you have others to help you along the way.

2.  Keep exercising.  This can be tough when you feel as though you are being pulled in a thousand different directions.  As you are aware, exercise is a big stress reliever.  Even if you can’t keep up with your normal exercise routine, go for a quick walk or stair climbing.

3.  Rest is important.  Sleep and rest help us recharge our batteries.  This is when our body does repair work we need so much.

4.  Breathe.  Deep breathing seems like such a simple act, and it can do wonders in helping relieve stress and tension we hold in our bodies.  Just 3 short minutes of concentrated breathing can help lower stress levels and release tension and anxiety.

5.  Be sure to eat.  Remember food is fuel for the body.  It is what gives us energy especially when our meal time schedule is off.  Sugary foods and junk food from the vending machine can leave you drained, you can bring healthy snacks as a great option.  I keep nuts and protein bars in a special pack along with pure bottled water for those times when you are not expecting your schedule to be changed.

6.  Talk with others.  While it may seem you have an overwhelming situation, sharing your concerns with others you may find comfort that others may have had a similar experience.

7.  Accept that you cannot do it all.  This is by far one of the most difficult areas to accept.  As a type A perfectionist, I do not like when I am forced to shorten my workout sessions, maybe not eat as well as I should, and get upset with the way things are not done, but this is life.

8.  Trust.  Stephen Covey’s book Speed of Trust, says people must be able to trust before they feel it.

9.  It’s OK to let things slide.  I love an immaculate home, but when circumstances present themselves (which is often in life) we accept that there is only so much time in a day.  It’s OK to not get EVERYTHING done.  It will still be there when things settle down.

10.  Recognize when are being inefficient.  Do you get stuck answering e-mails for two hours at the expense of higher-value items?  Ask yourself, what’s my ultimate outcome that I want and will this achieve it?

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.