How to deal with stress

Today we will talk about a silent killer. No not electrical cars, which at low speeds present a danger to pedestrians. Well your phone is more important than your surroundings.

The true topic at hand is stress. What is stress, what causes stress, and more importantly. How to deal with stress?

There could be many reasons for stress. Money, work, health, spouse, children etc. The possibilities are endless, but not in a good way.

At the end of the day we all experience stress, the important thing is how to deal with stress. Some people turn to comfort foods, some to drinking, and others to smoking.

While attempting to reduce stress they are actually going on a path that leads to health problems and in the end to even more stress.

How to deal with stress
The other silent killer

EFFECTS OF STRESS

HEART DISEASE

We all know about the joke about the type A personality guy being a heart attack in the making, because he’s high strung all the time and doesn’t know how to deal with stress.

Sadly it isnt a joke, unless you like black humour and dead people, but that’s another matter.

High job strain and effort-reward imbalance seem to increase the risk of cardiovascular mortality (Kivimäki, Leino-Arjas, Luukkonen, Riihimäi, Vahtera, Kirjonen, 2002).

People who are undergoing emotional stress are proven to more likely develop heart disease. A similar connection can also exists for those people who suffer from depression.

Although the mechanism isnt quite clearly understood. But what is understood is that inflammation is involved, due to chronic stress.

The latest study is even more interesting. People who had more brain activity in the amygdala, were more likely to suffer from heart disease in the future. Heart attacks, stroke and angina (chest pain, jaw tightening). (Tawakol et al. 2017).

Amygdala is an area of the brain that governs fear, stress and emotion, 

The imbalance between personal efforts (competitiveness, work-related overcommitment, and hostility) and rewards (poor promotion prospects and a blocked career’) was associated with a 2.15-fold higher risk of new coronary heart disease.

(Pelletier, Rodenburg, Vinther, Chikamoto, King, Farquhar, 1999)

DEPRESSION

Stress also plays a role in depression. It can throw several brain neurotransmitter systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine – out of balance.

Because of that it can negatively affect mood, appetite, sleep and libido. Some severely depressed people have permanently elevated stress hormone levels, which can with time alter the hippocampus, and permanently damage brain cells. Depression is truly an illness that changes the brain.

The hypothesis that magnesium intake is related to depression in the community is supported by the present findings. These findings may have public health and treatment implications. (Jacka et al. 2009)

How to deal with stress
Not the proper way to deal with things

SLOWER HEALING

Regardless if it’s physical or psychological, stress can slow down healing and recovery, be it from a regular cold or an operation. The constant overload depletes your body and immune system.

Converging and replicated evidence indicate that psychological stress can modulate wound healing processes. (Gouin, Kiecolt-Glaser, 2011)

WEIGHT GAIN

We’ve all been there, you’re stressed out and eating your favorite food. And chances are it ain’t carrots and celery. Donuts, ice cream, cookies, pizza,…? Pick your poison, everyone has a weak spot.

There is no denying that eating high fat and high carbohydrate comfort foods cheers people up. It makes them feel better and they may even function better.

But sadly this isnt a long term solution. Overeating on high carb and high fat food leads to obesity, which is connected to type 2 diabetes, CVD and stroke.

ULCERS

In 1983, two Australian researchers named Robin Warren and Barry Marshall discovered that ulcers are actually caused by the bacteria H. pylori.

Sadly the effect of chronic stress on the immune system allows the H. pylori bacteria to thrive. Exposure to stress can also change the balance of bacteria in the gut, giving harmful ones the upper hand.

“The bacteria are able to grow because the immune system is not functioning properly,” neuroscientist Bruce McEwen says. “So ulcers ultimately do come down to a stress impairment.”

Stress can also be a critical factor in irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, heartburn, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which is characterized by chronic inflammation.


STRESS HURTS YOUR WORK PERFORMANCE

You need to learn how to deal with stress also due to your job. Coincidentally, your job is usually your biggest source of stress.

Stress makes you forgetful, makes you agitated and confrontational. So unless you are a wrestler, or your job is to literally YELL AT PEOPLE, there might be a potential fallout. Be it a coworker or even worse, your boss or partner.

Additionally that negative energy can leak into your other relationships. It can cause problems at home. We trip over little meaningless things which then become huge arguments, which leads to resentment etc.


HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS

You don’t deal with stress the way I deal with my loans. That is, I ignore them and hope they go away. They’re big enough to take care of themselves. Half of the time it doesnt work, and the other half, it also does not.

So how to deal with stress? Be proactive!

Do as I say, not as i do. Just like our parents used to tell us.

 

FIND AND ELIMINATE THE ISSUE

You may already know what the problem is, but will be powerless to do anything about it. At least in the near future.

You can’t get rid of a debt or mortgage overnight unless you win the lottery. A death of a rich relative who leaves you behind a fortune is also among the things, that likely won’t happen.

So you need to be realistic and do what you can.  You can make plans how to pay it off, and that could make you worry less, as you remove at least a little uncertainty.

I always say you should focus on the root cause, and not only on the symptoms. A simple example are split hairs. Instead of buying a shampoo, you should fix your diet.

Chances are you are deficient in something and it’s manifesting itself in the appearance and quality of your hair.

Try to find what the reasons of your stress are, and try to eliminate them. Except if the root of the stress is the failing health of your spouse, eliminating them won’t be helpful in this case. So you will have to focus on the other options.

How to deal with stress
Or do you?

EXERCISE

Its just universally useful and tied to health and wellbeing. Physical and mental.

Benefits of exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins. These are chemicals in the brain that can act as natural painkillers.

Which also improve the ability to sleep, which as we talked about, reduces stress. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high”. After a proper workout you get the feeling of relaxation and optimism.

And conventional wisdom holds that a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy.

Regular moderate exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.

It is key for your head and your heart. Although you might not agree at first, since the first steps are the hardest.

Also in the beginning exercise will seem more like work than fun, but as time passes and you get in shape, you will begin to tolerate, enjoy it, and even depend on it.

Exercise is one of the bes ways in how to deal with stress.

IMPROVE SLEEP

Stress leads to sleep dysfunction, and that leads to more stress, which leads to? You have guessed it. More of the same.

Its a vicious cycle that you need to break if you want to lower your overall stress.

Luckily things are interconnected, so if you focus on fixing one, it can help with the other. Improving your sleep will go a long way with how to deal with stress. Its an important thing.

HEALTHY DIET

Although comfort food might help you in the short term, it will hurt you in the long term. You should focus on whole unprocessed foods.

No the beef doesn’t have to be grass fed and massaged by monks. Nor do the Avocados need to be organic. We dont have that kind of money, nor do we need it.

But what we and our body need is whole and unprocessed food. We need it so we get as much micronutrients and phytochemicals as possible.

It will improve your overall well being and immune system. Which will ga a long way with how to deal with stress.

IMPORTANT MINERALS AND VITAMINS

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is an old home remedy for all that ails you, including “anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness.”

Magnesium is essential to the basic nucleic acid chemistry of all cells of all known living organisms. More than 300 enzymes require magnesium.

If you don’t get enough from food, and you probably don’t. Try supplementation, with Magnesium Citrate. It is more bioavailable than Oxide, which has better laxative properties. 

Magnesium plays an important role in how to deal with stress.

  • Magnesium deficiency to be a major contributor to anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Stress causes us to waste our magnesium.
  • The current MINIMUM RDA for adults is between 320 and 420mg daily, and the average US intake is around 250mg daily.
  • Only 32% of people in the United States meet the MINIMUM recommended daily allowance.
How to deal with stress
He bought oxide instead of citrate

TAURINE

Taurine is an amino acid that plays a major role in neurotransmitter regulation and how to deal with stress. It helps to calm and stabilize your mind, by slowing down the release of adrenaline. It also protects you from post stress anxiety.

As a GABAergic compound, Taurine can inhibit the neurological processes that result in anxiety or stress.

It has also been observed to lower cortisol levels. This is one of the reasons it’s added to drinks with caffeine.

  • It is vital for the proper function of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.
  • Taurine regulates heart rhythm, cardiac contraction and blood pressure.
  • Strong epidemiological evidence suggests that certain groups with the longest life spans consume higher amounts of taurine than those of us in the rest of the world.
  • Taurine supplementation strengthens heart muscle cells, extends their life spans, and protects them from damage, while reducing many of the factors that produce atherosclerosis and its deadly consequences.

VITAMIN B complex

There are 17 essential b vitamins and you do need them all. Every day that is. They play an important role in maintaining energy levels and in a wide variety of vital body processes.

Stress, exhaustion and anxiety can drain the body of these vitamins as they are used to manufacture stress hormones and neurotransmitters.

CONCLUSION

Stress isnt bad, chronic stress is bad, as it can lead to a variety of diseases and ailments.

It can ruin your relationship with your loved ones, be it family or friends. It can have a big negative influence on your job.

You owe it to yourself and your close ones, to use the tools at your disposal at how to deal with stress. No, at how you win against stress!

 

REFERENCES

  1. Tawakol, A., Ishai, A., Takx, R. A., Figueroa, A. L., Ali, A., Kaiser, Y., … & Tang, C. Y. (2017). Relation between resting amygdalar activity and cardiovascular events: a longitudinal and cohort study. The Lancet https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28088338
  2. Kivimäki, M., Leino-Arjas, P., Luukkonen, R., Riihimäi, H., Vahtera, J., & Kirjonen, J. (2002). Work stress and risk of cardiovascular mortality: prospective cohort study of industrial employees. Bmj, 325(7369), 857. ISO 690 http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7369/857?variant=full
  3. Pelletier, K. R., Rodenburg, A., Vinther, A., Chikamoto, Y., King, A. C., & Farquhar, J. W. (1999). Managing job strain: a randomized, controlled trial of an intervention conducted by mail and telephone. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 41(4), 216 223. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.88.1.68
  4. Jacka, F. N., Overland, S., Stewart, R., Tell, G. S., Bjelland, I., & Mykletun, A. (2009). Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(1), 45-52. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048670802534408
  5. Gouin, J. P., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2011). The impact of psychological stress on wound healing: methods and mechanisms. Immunology and allergy clinics of North America, 31(1), 81-93. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889856110000810
  6. Tomiyama, A. J., Dallman, M. F., & Epel, E. S. (2011). Comfort food is comforting to those most stressed: evidence of the chronic stress response network in high stress women. Psychoneuroendocrinology36(10), 1513-1519.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453011001296

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Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the “why” of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don’t, and that’s fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that’s why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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