Stress and Life...
They go together like peanut butter and chocolate, sushi and wasabi, good wine and stinky cheese. You can't have one without the other.
Not all stress is created equal though. Some stress actually seems to be good for you right?
Stress as a motivator?
Think about it... you're studying for a really important test or practicing for a sports match that has a lot riding on it....you want to do the very best that you can.
Your body and brain are humming in anticipation...and you know you're going to crush the competition.
The stress associated with these situations is a driving force that helps push you towards a goal.
What about the kind of stress that can literally save your life?
We're pretty thankful for that kind of stress...right?
Imagine this....You hear someone running up behind you on a dark road at night and your body immediately kicks into a fight or flight type of stress that sends your body racing away from the danger.
These instances of "quick stress" are necessary for our survival and even our scholastic and evolutionary growth.
How does stress work in your brain?
You have this tiny little Napoleanic powerhouse called the hypothalamus in your brain.
It's a little bitty guy, but still a major player who sets up camp at the base of your brain, and he quite literally sets off a 4 point alarm in your body, as a reaction to stress.
Stress hormones called cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine respond to it's command immediately.
In these moments of extreme fear or excitement these little soldiers go to work, driving your body towards the ultimate goal.
Once these episodes are over, these super spiked-stress hormones return to normal and your body functions level out.
Stress has actually helped your body achieve what it needed to and you're all the better for it.
One study even found that significant, but brief stressful events caused brain stem cells to grow into new nerve cells that, when mature two weeks later, improved mental performance.
But what about....
...when good stress goes bad
When we look at toxic stress— we see an almost malignant form of non- stop stress that can literally put your life at risk, and it needs to be taken very...very seriously.
Think of it like a person with chronic back problems.
They're in a constant, never ending state of pain.
They can't even sleep, which makes it worse because those muscles can't relax at night.
The pain is ongoing with no real relief...the body is exhausted and begins to break down.
This is exactly how the elevation of stress hormones act with toxic stress on your brain.
They stay raised without giving your brain any real relief.....
It's a head on collision waiting to happen...
When stress is continually present this keeps your fight-or-flight reaction always on .
Cortisol, and other stress hormones, stream through your system all day long, and that’s deadly.
This overdose of stress hormones can de-regulate almost all of your body's processes.
This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including
- weight gain
- hormone imbalances
- stomach problems
- heart disease
Look at these 6 major consequences of chronic stress
Stress can actually change the DNA of your children.
I sure didn't know that...did you?
Toxic Stress was shown to not only change the DNA in adults, but their children as well, beginning in the womb.
Researchers have found expectant mothers suffering from depression produce higher levels of stress chemicals, which reduce fetal growth and increased risk for premature labor.
Current studies also suggest that chronic (toxic) maternal stress may subdue the working of a gene in the fetus that is meant to control the overproduction of stress chemicals.
In other words, the gene in the unborn child is supposed to help regulate stress throughout their lives, but the mothers stress actually changes that particular gene before the baby is even born.
This can cause a lifetime of poor health and behavioral issues in your child.
This was really hard for me to swallow, because like all mothers I second guess myself....
"Am I a good enough mother? Should I have done that differently? Am I harming my child if I work instead of being with them,"...the list goes and on right?..
And now our stress could affect our childrens DNA structure?
I don't know about you, but quite frankly that stresses me out.
Toxic stress hijacks your immune system and keeps you sick
75% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related health complaints. 75 percent..that's incredible.
Stress is a major contributing factor to death in the United States from cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
Unhealthy amounts of stress hormones alter multiple biochemical processes in the body, everything from the immune system to the inflammatory response which makes you more vulnerable to everything from that annoying little common cold, to the killer...cancer.
Ongoing Stress weakens the Blood Brain Barrier
This leaves the blood brain barrier open to very bad molecules.The blood-brain barrier or BBB helps block harmful substances, such as toxins and bacteria from entering the brain.
When the blood-brain barrier breaks down as happens with chronic stress, some substances that are normally kept out of the brain may be able to break through, putting your brain in jeapordy.
Toxic Stress increases your risk of dementia and alzheimers
As more toxins cross over the BBB, and cortisol damages the hippocampus, your brain functions begin to falter.
The ability to retain newly learned information becomes corrupted.
This inability of the damaged blood brain barrier, to keep bad molecules out is a common finding in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
One study of elderly people found that the hippocampus size was 14% smaller in those with high cortisol levels and their ability to create new memories was seriously impaired.
Another study found that hippocampus size was directly linked to the rate of progression in Alzheimer’s disease.
Chronic stress actually shrinks your brain
Imaging done by dozens of researchers has found that children under extreme stress have less volume in both gray and white matter of the brain.
One of these areas of the brain is the hippocampus. The hippocampus helps people to process fear, so these children may not be recognizing the warning signals that they should be in dangerous situations.
Toxic stress increases the risk of addictive behavior
This is pretty self explanatory...
When you are constantly "stressed out" you are vulnerable to seeking out addictive properties that may help you relax.
Once they wear off though, you will be back to your rigid mess of stress, and continue to use the addictive substance more and more frequently for the short term relief it provides.
How to banish the silent killer lurking within your brain and keep it away for good.
One thing I've noticed is that people get so focused on the cause of their stress, that they don't focus on the stress itself and the damage that it's causing to their health.
For your own good...
Reach out and touch someone...be social.
I know...the last thing you want to do is hang out with friends and make small talk when all of your energy is being funneled into "handeling"your stress, but look at this...
One study showed that the effect of social support on life expectancy appears to be as strong as the effects of obesity, cigarette smoking, hypertension, or level of physical activity.
What that means is less social support equals lower life expectancy. Why do you think that is?
According to the same study, high levels of social support appear to buffer or protect against the full impact of mental stress and physical illness.
I think in this case the term "don't hold it inside or you'll explode" is pretty well worded...maybe it should say "implode" though.
Your friends and family may not be able to solve your problems for you, but just being able to talk about them can be a welcome relief and that's exactly what you need.
I recently found out that a good friend of mine was in a very precarious situation financially.
I couldn't believe that she hadn't reached out to me, maybe because she was embarrassed...but that should never be the thing that holds you back with loved ones.
Get your REMs
Studies have shown a strong link between insomnia and ch ronic stress(no surprise there).
According to one survey more than 40 percent of all adults say they lie awake at night because of stress.
Experts recommend going to bed at a regular time each night striving for at least seven to eight hours of sleep,but not just any sleep. Quality REM sleep.
...But what if you can't sleep?
Start by taking a superior, natural neural protective formula that is designed to create deep, restorative and regenerative sleep without any of the side effects of "sleeping pills".
The natural ingredients in this formula are known as nootropics, and have been tested globally for centuries. They are now available in this one special blend created specifically to give you the most healing quality of sleep possible.
Meditate for relaxation and brain growth
There are many, many....(did I say MANY?) studies on how meditation not only reduces stress and helps relaxation, but it actally helps re-grow your brain.
One study found that experienced meditators had more gray matter in the frontal cortex. This is used for working memories and decision making.
It's a well documented fact that our cortex shrinks as we age yet...
the same study also found that the meditators who were 50 years old had ...
... the same amount of grey matter as 25 year olds. Whaaat?
Up your endorphins!
There are so many studies on the benefits of exercise, but specifically exercise on stress and depression that you can't deny it's effectiveness.
These studies are across the board -all age groups, all ethnicities and all genders. That's about as big of a test group as there is...it's literally everyone.
Exercise helps relieve stress, and lifts depression. There is no getting around that.
Much like being social, it may not fix the REASON behind your stress, but it will help manage the dangerous effects of it.
That lowers your risk of falling victim to some of the consequences of toxic stress.
I know, I know...you're saying the stress has drained all energy from you and it's worse since you can't sleep...OK, so let's look at night yoga.
Yes...relaxation yoga. An exercise that works your body's core, and relaxes you for sleep. That's the ticket. Lets check that out.
Issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia are the biggest reasons that people seek treatment with secondary therapies like yoga.
Yoga encourages relaxation and slows the breathing.
It literally makes you focus on the present, which switches you from the sympathetic nervous system (flight-or-fight response) over to the parasympathetic system and the relaxation response.
Here's what happens:
- breathing and heart rate lower
- blood pressure decrease
- cortisol levels lower
- blood flow to the intestines and vital organs increase
- fear, aggressiveness and rage are reduced
- the pleasure centers in the median forebrain are stimulated
- anxiety & heart rate are lowered
All of these are tools to use for the management of chronic stress.
Again...it doesn't take away the reason for your stress, but it allows you to control it, and not let it control you.
The last tool in the "de-stress chest"...
We've talked about the absolute neccessity for quality sleep, and some of the benefits of one nootropic formula, MindBoost Night.
Now lets talk about the benefits of another proprietary blend of non-toxic, safe and clinically tested nootropics that target stress, anxiety and brain shrinkage. MindBoost Day.
Let's look at the two biggest powerhouses in this proprietary memory boosting formula...
For centuries, people around the world have depended on Rhodiola rosea for help with:
The scientific studies of Rhodiala's benefits are too numerous to mention, but this is a good reference article if you like research (like me)... Rhodiola benefits
As people age, it’s common for brain shrinkage to occur.
The active compounds in Bacopa Monnieri, also called Brahmi, are called bacosides.
Bacosides have been shown to grow and repair your brain’s nerve endings...among numerous other clinically tested benefits.
These two amazing nootropics, along with folate, B-12, and Ginkgo Biloba, make MindBoost Day a superfood for your brain, created to take on the effects of chronic stress.
Create an action plan to take back your sanity
You do not have to allow this type of stress to ruin your health and that of your brain.
Yes, you may have very legitimate reasons for the ongoing stress, but focus on what the stress does to you rather then the reason for the stress...attack the stress so that it doesn't attack you.
Put the simple steps above, into action.
- Be loving...and let yourself be loved. Socialize with people who matter.
- Sleep deeply....take your MindBoost Night
- Meditate the mind...grow that grey!
- Walk, dance, jog, do some yoga...move your body consistently
- Protect your brain, help relieve stress and depression with MindBoost Day
- Last...my favorite that I didn't mention, but if you can- then you should. Unplug from your devices even if it's only for an hour, and go somewhere that you can stick your bare feet into the warm sand....now just put your head back, and wriggle those toes.
Thanks for the read, and if you know someone who is constantly on a Defcon 1 stress level...please share 🙂
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