Chronic stress impacts the following:
This is a reprint of an article that I wrote for the Wellness Universe on Sept 7, 2018
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- The immune system making us susceptible to infection
- Our Gut, or “leaky gut,” which leads to inflammation and pain. Stress releases inflammatory substances that travel through your body and attack body tissues. Stress causes disease.
- Muscles tighten and over time, creating back and neck pain, and headaches
- A permeability of the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins, viruses, and poisons to flow through. Stress impacts your memory and brain functions.
- Sugar cravings. Sugar is a toxin, as addictive as cocaine and feeds cancer and causing inflammation. It turns off Ghrelin, a hormone that regulates appetite.
- It releases cortisol, a hormone which is your bodies “alarm” system and creates “fight or flight.” In the right situations, it is necessary to react quickly and remove ourselves from danger. In excess, it wreaks havoc on the body.
- Weight gain and increased belly fat. Excess cortisol adds visceral fat around our organs.
- Your skin causing skin disorders (Psoriasis, Eczema, etc.)
- Mood, causing anxiety and depression.
- And the latest research indicates that stress shortens telomeres. (1) Telomeres are at the tips of our DNA and are at the end of a chromosome. They protect the chromosome from deterioration. Stress shortens telomeres. Short telomeres create a sluggish immune function, and over time, promote inflammation. This leads to the degeneration of our tissues and diseases of aging. Finding ways to reframe stress in our lives is crucial to reversing inflammation and also to squelching the degeneration of our tissues and the diseases of aging. Powerful stuff.
So, we accept that stress is very hard on the body, and also negatively impacts our health.
The question becomes how do we reframe our response to lower our stress level and its damage to our health? Recovery is not negotiable; you can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Imagine your health to be a cup of warm soothing tea. Keep your cup full.
Here are 5 Techniques to Dramatically Lower Your Stress:
There are many breathing exercises and doing mindful breathing has a big impact on lowering stress. I use and recommend the Dr. Andrew Weil 4-7-8 breathing exercise, (2) and you can find Dr. Weil showcasing this technique on Google. It is recommended that you do two sets of four rounds of this breathing exercise daily. They take about three minutes to do the set. It resets your parasympathetic nervous system, instantly lowering your stress and reducing your pulse. Try this breathing exercise to help you fall asleep. It will immediately relax you. Getting enough sleep is also critical to reducing stress. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, do this exercise. It will immediately calm you.
Buy and Use the Tao Korean Belly Button Wand.
(3) The theory is that our belly button is our original source of life; if we massage that area with the belly button wand, using gentle vibrations, and if we direct the wand in the direction of our different organs, we can exercise the organ and start to heal the body. The technique has been tested with brain scans, and the mind becomes very calm after only 10 minutes of doing the belly button exercise. It is important to remember to breathe in slowly through your nose, and breathe out slowly through your mouth while you are doing the exercise.
A leading Neuroscientist, Dr. Emeran Mayer, the executive director of the Oppenheimer Center for Stress and Resilience at UCLA has done studies to prove its effectiveness. It’s very relaxing. Using the belly button wand improves blood circulation, relaxes the body, increases detoxification, balances the body’s energy fields, and fights all of the negative side effects of stress.
Take Additional Magnesium Which Relaxes the Body.
The way we grow our food has changed dramatically so most people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is considered the relaxation mineral.
- I recommend magnesium malate. Your body probably needs it, and it will help you significantly reduce your stress.
- I recommend that you take a hot Epsom salt bath (magnesium sulfate) with lavender essential oil at the end of almost every day. They don’t need to be very long baths, but long enough to wash the troubles of the day away. Add a little argon oil to soften your skin. It will relax you and allows you to get a good night sleep.
Indulge in Self Care.
This is not selfish; it is an important step in releasing stress. This includes everything from eating nutritious real organic food, to finding “you” time to relax and re-energize. This includes spending time with your loved one(s), taking time to catch up with a friend, enjoying stretch breaks every hour, or doing light exercise. It includes spending time in nature. It also includes laughter, hugs, and massages, sleep, yoga, and meditation. You must fill up your own cup in order to lower your stress and its negative effects.
“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all of those around you.” – Robin S. Sharma
Practice Gratitude Every Morning.
Write down 5 things that you are grateful for. It will focus your brain on the many wonderful things you have in your life and help you stay away from negativity. By concentrating on the goodness in your life, it will relax you and set your day off on a positive note. Gratitude improves your relationships, your physical and mental health, and your sleep. Gratitude improves your quality of life. It refills your cup and reduces your stress.
“It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive, to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller (from Deanna Minich.com)