IN YOUR DAILY DOSE: today is research that defines just how stress may affect your heart by way of your brain. You can make a difference, which you’ll learn about in Making Changes.
MAKING CHANGES: All is not lost if you have a stressful job, small children, bad financial situation or have started your own business - all stress producing situations. There are a couple of simple strategies you can use to reduce your stress and improve your health.
FACT OR FICTION:Do you think you’re more accident prone that your friends and family? Do you have more accidents more frequently than they do?
In The News
Research published in The Lancet, medical journal, demonstrates heightened activity in a portion of your brain called the amygdala when you’re under stress. This increased activity level is also associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Researchers believe these insights may eventually lead to new ways to target the treatment and prevention of stress and heart disease. Previous animal studies had linked stress with increased activity in the arteries and bone marrow, but researchers were unclear if these same changes occurred in humans.
In this study nearly 300 patients underwent PET and CT scans to record activity in their brains, bone marrow, arteries and spleen. The researchers found those who had the highest activity in the amygdala had the highest risk of developing cardiovascular illness. Quoted in Science Daily, lead author Dr. Ahmed Tawakoi from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, commented:
"Our results provide a unique insight into how stress may lead to cardiovascular disease. This raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological well-being. Eventually, chronic stress could be treated as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is routinely screened for and effectively managed like other major cardiovascular disease risk factors."
Daily Health Tip
Stress is a known contributor to anxiety, high blood pressure and other immune mediated diseases. However, knowing you shouldn’t be stressed and reducing that stress is two different things.
In Making Changes we’ll give you several strategies to use to help improve your health and your overall enjoyment of life.
There are several different stress reducing activities you may have tried but the following three are our favorites as they are supported by research and they work, whether you believe they will or not. In other words, there is no placebo effect with these strategies - when you practice them consistently and correctly you WILL enjoy the benefits. And one of the nicest benefits is stress reduction.
Don’t just read these - actually DO THEM.
- Exercise - you may not want to hit the gym and sweat to the oldies, but you can go for a 30 minute walk after dinner each night. The combination of being outdoors in the sun and exercise has a calming effect on your nervous system. If being outside is out of the question, try an indoor bike, exercise ball, mini-trampoline or any other activity that raises your heart rate. You aren’t training for the Olympics, you’re just moving.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques - this is a bit like acupressure, using specific areas of your body to interrupt energy pathways. This is NOT some new age nonsense, but is based on 1,000s of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can even help improve your motivation. It’s easy to learn, can be done at home or even in public and takes just minutes. You can learn more about it here: http://eft.mercola.com/
- Yoga - that’s right - yoga. It can be a simple form that isn’t very physically taxing or you can try a Hot Yoga class done in a room heated to near 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Research demonstrates that yoga has a significant number of positive benefits to your health, well above reducing stress and anxiety. Just 12 minutes a day may reduce your potential for osteoporosis, reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Simple, easy and 12 minutes a day - do you have an extra 12 minutes each day to reduce your stress?
Being charitable helps me to appreciate my blessings.
Being generous to others keeps me connected to the important things in life. Sharing kindness reminds me that life is empty and hollow without it. I am conscious of how uplifted I feel when I am charitable.
Fact or Fiction?
Hurrying, worrying, multi-tasking and stress are the four horsemen of being accident prone. In fact, stress was recently linked to post 9/11 traffic fatalities by the University of Minnesota. After reviewing 79 different studies of almost 150,000 people from 15 different countries researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands found that there really are people who are prone to more accidents than others. One out of every 29 people will have a 50 percent greater chance of having an accident than the rest of us.
Have a wonderful day!
Your Healthy Life America Team