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The Origins Of Stress, & Self-Help Techniques To Deal With It

August 18, 2017. a teenager, hearing the following words "they'll be taking time off work due to 'stress related illness', used to leave me thinking, is someone having a laugh. Just another excuse to take time off work", but decades later,  and having suffered with severe physical and metal health deterioration as a direct result of severe stress, lasting for 13 months. it took 3 months before being able to control it without the need for therapy, counselling or medications. Just education.

How best to guard against this silent illness which is linked to a number of health issues including anxiety, depression, cancer, and heart problems. It can weaken muscles, deteriorate bones, and costs the economy billions of pounds, and millions of people are suffering unnecessarily from severe stress related illnesses.

There will be times when things go on in life when we least expect it. Life sets up challenges to test our courage and mental and physical resilience. To cope and bounce back from difficult periods in our life. life's pressures, difficulties and everyday stresses. Health and psychological health and to achieve high levels of resilience. We strive to live happy and rewarding lives, but the reality is, at some stages in our lives, we're going to be struck down by hardships, difficulties, bereavement in the family, the loss of a pet or partner, loss of a job or home.

How stress can be switched on like a light switch. From our thoughts. We all know the feeling we get when we reach for our wallet, purse, mobile,  keys and realised their missing and the heart starts racing, sweating, causing spike in sugar levels.* Or being informed a friend, family member or pet is seriously ill or have just died leaves us with that gutted sickening feeling. * You've met someone adorable, you're in love, we've all had those butterfly feelings in the tummy. * The waiting and the anticipation of the potential win of a huge prize. * Meeting up with friends and looking forward to a holiday of social activity All these thoughts have an immediate chemical reaction in the body.

Where does it come from? The origins of stress. Stress is one of the most vital survival mechanisms we possess. Acute stress is our bodies primal emergency reaction, (fight or flight) to save our lives. When we sense danger, the fear centre of the brain, the Amygdala sends a distress message to the control centre which in turn tells the adrenal glands to start pumping stress hormones into the blood stream making our heart beat faster by pumping blood to the muscles and increased breathing to get extra oxygen into the brain to sharpen our senses. Small amounts of acute stress keep our bodies in a super-alert state to deal with whatever life throws at us.

What happens to our bodies under permanent stress. The body has an immediate physical response. The heart rate starts spiking, the breathing rate increase and the body temperature and breathing rise. All signs of stress.which results in the rational part of our brain being hijacked by the primal part, and our ability to think clearly become overwhelmed by our emotional response. This means that we can lose control, triggering an emotional outburst or a complete meltdown.

One study suggests millions of us feel close to breaking point.

What happens to our bodies under permanent stress?. When were permanently stressed, it not only causes uncomfortable physical and mental sensations, but it can tip over to the real killer, chronic stress.  Acute stress now and then is normal, but too much and constant stress can lead to the over production of cortisol, also known as the steroid hormone. Cortisol has an effect on our blood sugar levels to give us more energy. When were chronically stressed our cortisol tap is turned on all the time and can have a serious effect on our health. It weakens parts of our immune system making us more vulnerable to disease, increase our blood pressure which puts a strain on our arteries and that can lead to heart disease, and even linked to serious mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It can last for minutes, months and even years.

Stress Can Damage The DNA. Thomas von Zglinicki. Professor of cellular genealogy at Newcastle University. Says stress can age us on the inside and can effect our DNA. The telomeres (the small dots) are the ends of the chromosome (in blue). The bodies building plants and maintenance plants for your body is written on that. The job of the telomeres is to cap the ends, to protect the ends of our chromosomes, but chronic stress, stress that sustained over a long period of time can damage them. The shortening process has been linked with ageing, cancer and a higher risk of early death.

Can we change the way we deal with our stress? Professor Ian Roberson, a clinical and neuro scientist.suggests teaching the brain to turn a negative into a positive. Our emotions, excitement, anxiety, anger are all the same bodily symptoms. He explained that you can change all these from one emotion, anxiety, to another by writing a little line of code in your mind by saying three little words, I feel excited. You fake it until you make it. As far as our bodies are concerned, anxiety and excitement are mirror images of each other. They both make our hearts race and we breath harder. The difference is all in the mind.

It's how we use stress that matters. It is down to us to learn how to use it properly.

Another hormone released into our brains when we're anxious or excited is noradrenaline, produced in a tiny area called the Locus Coeruleus. This part of the brain is sensitive to how much carbon monoxide is in our blood so we can regulate it by taking a few slow breaths and control it further by adopting a confident head-up posture which not only helps deepen the breath, but also affects our mood. Too little or too much of this stress hormone and our brain under performs. but once we get to the point where were challenged but not overwhelmed, we can perform at our best.    

Think of the things you can do, and the achievements that you have made in your life. Instead of worrying about the future and future failures will make a great difference. If you need help, and assistance, asking is not a sign of weakness.

Exercising regularly releases feel good hormones, endorphins, these counteract our negative feelings and anxiety which means we release less cortisol. Simple things like walking more briskly, stretching at home or in the park. Using a skipping rope for 5 minutes a day can all make a big difference. 

What is mindfulness? mindfulness is a technique which helps you anchor your attention on the present moment. It's amazing how much time we spend reminiscing about the past or facing forward to the future. Both of those two things can cause stress. Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, making an effort, and without judgement. Trying not to procrastinate

Not everyone's raving or believes in mindfulness, but it is gaining momentum in some of the scientific community. Rates of anxiety and depression amongst teenagers have increased by 70% in the past 25 years. Now, over 5000 teachers are being trained in mindfulness techniques across the UK.

Dr Elena Antonova, of Kings College London, asks her patients to switch between allowing their mind to worry about things, the future, the past. The scans showed there was so much activity going on in the 'mind wandering' brain and yet barely any activity in the 'mindfulness' brain. She explained, A lot of this me, me, me thinking constantly agitates our mind, we constantly interrupt those networks by the commentary in what we're doing, the striving on how we should be doing better, how people think of you, the worry of failing. When the brain has switched into mindfulness, I.E plugged into the now, present, there is less reaction in the frontal nerve.

Studies on volunteers who changed their habits by eating healthier, exercising and using mindfulness showed they had lower cortisol levels. Lower levels of chronic stress. Anxiety levels nearly halved, positive moods increased and negative moods decreased.

Some are still sceptical about mindfulness. Ongoing research has been surprising. Mindfulness can help us with stress in one particular way, and that is helping us to deal with this mind that is constantly worrying about things (mind wandering), science has shown that when we do mind wander, 60% of the time, it's about worry, and negative mind watering.

Most common medications used to treat Anxiety and Stress. Celexa. Prozac. Sertraline. Citalopram. Fluoxetine. Paxil. Amitriptyline. Venlafaxine. Paroxetine. Prozac. Luvox CR. Luvox Rx. Prazosin and Fluvoxamine

How we taste our food is altered by our motions. Including how stressed we feel. Large scale studies have shown that being stressed seems to make foods taste less sweet, so when stressed, we're more likely to go for something more intensively sweet, like unhealthy comfort food. 

What foods are good for stress. When you're struggling with stress, what you need is food that is actually going to keep your energy levels and blood sugar stable. Blueberries are very high in vitamin C, high in antioxidants and very protective, which will give you a sweet taste in the mouth without craving for sugar or upset the blood sugar levels? pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts, all of which are a very good source of protein. Walnuts are good for the brain, great sources of magnesium for when you're feeling anxious to help calm and relieve anxiety. If you're already stressed, cut down on caffeine. flooding your system with caffeine will just make you feel even worse. Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and an increased heart rate, all the symptoms of stress. Nutritionist and chef. Christine Bailey explains that sugary comfort foods cause our blood sugar levels to spike and then dip which can make us feel more anxious not less. Research has shown that green tea, very high in L-Theanine, an amino acid which helps in concentration, focus and keeps you feeling calm. Eat Vitamin C fresh produce like oranges and berries which all help to boost your immune system.

Foods bad for stress. Replace biscuits and sweets with dark chocolate, minimum 70%. It has been associated with higher levels of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating your mood. It also contains magnesium which may have an effect on reducing anxiety.

Don't skip breakfast, study shows that if you do, your cortisol levels will rise to increase your blood sugar levels. Carry a bottle of water and keep hydrating throughout the day. Dehydration puts the body under more stress and that means more cortisol.

  • How to deal with exams stress. If you have teenagers, there are other ways of dealing with exam stress. Getting into the right mindset can make all the difference between passing or failing.
  • The next time you're having to face a difficult situation. Turn your anxious feelings into excitement is key to feeling less anxious and stressful.
  • Work is important, but life is more important. Solutions - easier said than done, but try to stop doing the things, seeing the people, or thinking of the things that cause you stress. It could mean a total change of lifestyle.
  • Believe in yourself. Keep positive. Exercise physically and mentally for physical and mental health.
  • Eat healthily, drink plenty of water,  and minimise toxins.
  • Small steps and positive self-talk. We can talk ourselves into a better frame of mind without the need of medication. To Ditch Your Medication & The Truth About Doctors & The Pharmaceutical Companies This is a must-read for anyone who needs the inspiration to help them give up their prescription drugs and lead a health.

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