” STRESS KILLS! ” – We have all heard that slogan before right? But do we really take it all that seriously? In two words… We better. Virtually every mental breakdown, ailment and disease known to man have a common denominator and that is the physiological changes the mind and body experiences during times of physical or emotional stress.
In fact in a study done by Yale University, they say:
They found that even the brains of subjects who had only recently experienced a stressful life event showed markedly lower gray matter in portions of the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that regulates not only emotions and self-control, but physiological functions such as blood pressure and glucose levels.
Hmmm…. wakes you wonder about all the folks with diabetes too. I’ll save that for another day. Anyway, Rajita Sinha, the Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry, and professor in the Department of Neurobiology and the Yale Child Study Center said:
“The accumulation of stressful life events may make it more challenging for these individuals to deal with future stress, particularly if the next demanding event requires effortful control, emotion regulation, or integrated social processing to overcome it,” said Emily Ansell, assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study.Sinha said that the study illustrates the need to address causes of stress in life “and find ways to deal with the emotional fallout.”
Perhaps the better term should be “EXCESSIVE STRESS KILLS” because, realistically some modulated stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a bridge for example. A well built bridge can withstand a lot of stress by virtue of the weight of the vehicles traveling over it on a daily basis. But if you were to pile the same numbers of vehicles all AT ONCE on that same bridge. It might SNAP. Maybe not today… maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it would snap. It doesn’t take an engineer to figure that out.
Sound familiar: “I don’t know what happened…. It appears he just “SNAPPED”. It’s the effects of stress, my friends. Sad but true.
The same goes for us. Life is full of stresses and stressors. Some good and some bad. Unless we want to live as a hermit on a deserted island, then many of those things are not necessarily going to go away. The trick is to not let the stress pile up. It must flow through, much like the cars on a busy bridge.
But the fact of the matter is, many of us TAKE ON too many situations that cause excessive stress. And that, my friend, is clearly within your control. Step back and evaluate what is causing you the most stress. Is it the lack of money? Perhaps you need to scale down, sell a few toys and go on a spending diet. Is it your just TOO BUSY, doing lots of good stuff because you are a very nice person and can’t say no? Perhaps you need to set some boundaries and have someone help you stick to them. You get the point.
It’s wasn’t too long ago, I was walking on thin ice in the stress induced depression/anxiety department. As I sat one day, exhausted, fatigued, depressed, numb, frustrated, irritated, stressed out, anxious…. I asked myself….. What’s wrong? What is stressing you out? EVERYTHING… I thought. The pets, the kids, the hub, the work, the clutter, the weather…..For crying out loud, just WAKING up in the morning was overly stressing me out at that point in time.
So what happened? How did I let myself get so bad? Well, what it boils down to I let TOO MUCH stress (we had just spent nearly every waking moment for almost a year remodeling a house and then moving into it) accumulate and stick around TOO LONG w/out any relief. And that is what many of us do. We do not take the time and effort to relieve the stress pressure valve on a DAILY, perhaps even hourly basis.
But what about the stressors we have no choice in dealing with? Like our family, our basic necessities, the death of a loved one, dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane and SO MUCH more. So what do we do when we can’t change the stress. Well, the same remedy applies:
DAILY, hourly if necessary take time to relieve the stress.
1) One of the fastest and most effect ways to release stress is to breathe! In the morning, through out the day and especially before you go to sleep at night, spend 5 – 10 minutes doing some controlled breathing. Breathe in through your mouth slowly to the count of 5, hold for 4, then exhale SLOWLY for the count of 5. Oxygen to the brain brings clarity and focus. I actually found that what worked extremely well for me was few bursts of 95% pure oxygen from a can. I got mine at Oxygen4Energy. I can’t tell you how much it helped bring a sense of calm! Plus it also helped increase my energy levels, at least for a while when I needed it most.
2) Eat/drink nutrient dense foods and beverages. Eat foods that are low in sugar and fat. Healthy fats and sugars from fruits, nuts and avocados and olive oil are fine, it’s the junk food I’m talking about. For me, since my cognitive function was seriously impaired due to the stress, I literally needed a “NO BRAINER” solution. For this I choose Shakeology because in the 70+ ingredients includes an Adaptogen blend of high potency elements. Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years to help the mind and body deal with stress. Plus it tastes great and is packed full of plenty of whole food nutrition. It’s no wonder it’s called the “Healthiest Meal Of The Day”. Because it really is.
3) Keep moving 30 minutes at a time. I don’t care if you have to march in place. Just do it. I will say, this is next to impossible to do when you too far down the slippery slope of stressed induced depression, like I was. It helps to have a buddy to do stuff with, but I didn’t have that. So needless to say…. I got worse and worse in no time flat.
Stress induced depression is not just a blue, sad mood by the way. It effects every fiber of your body and being. Perhaps you already knew that. Anyway, what I had to do was incorporate a high potency supplement specifically designed for brain health called Q96. This supplement alone immediately raised my serotonin levels with in a matter of a couple of hours, giving me the strength and good mood I needed to focus on moving my body parts on a daily basis.
So those are the basics. Of course there are many more like art, pets, yoga, music, laughter, love, aromas, that should be incorporated into a daily stress relief regimine. Ephesis DAILY regime. That is the KEY. Relieve stress daily so it does not accumulate.
Just like the Yale Study shows, it’s stress accumulation that changes our brain function. It’s what wreaks havoc on our emotions, thinking, behavior and SO MUCH more.
Perhaps you have done like I have done many times in my life, and let stress get the best you. I know better. And so should you now too!
Livin’ Life eXponentially!
Mental Health and Wellness Advocate