5 Stress Myths Dispelled: By Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins
While 50% of Baby Boomers thought finding ways to relieve stress was
important 20 years ago, a resounding 82% believe it is important today.
1 When you feel stressed, you get splitting headaches. When your sister is
stressed, she can't sleep. And when your uncle is stressed, he cracks even
worse jokes than usual. How you react to stress is an individual matter,
influenced by both your heredity and environment.
Our bodies were designed to quickly respond to life-threatening dangers,
like the charging lions that our cave-dwelling ancestors once faced. At the
first sign of threat, a chemical signal from deep within the brain speeds
stress hormones through the bloodstream, priming the body to be on high
alert, ready to escape. But unless you work in a zoo, chances are you're
not facing any lions. Instead, you confront looming deadlines, financial
worries, traffic jams, family problems and frightening news reports. All of these everyday
challenges release stress hormones that quicken your pulse, deepen
respiration and tense the muscles. Over the long haul, living with constant
stress can seriously undermine your health and longevity.
In today's world, where two-thirds of all office visits to family
physicians are due to stress-related symptoms, you need to know the facts
about managing stress. Read on to discover 5 Surprising Myths About
Stress...and a host of easy, practical ways to reduce your stress levels,
relax, and get more enjoyment out of life.2
Wellness Library Report Health & Wellness
Feeling stress is normal. Suck it up and cope.
Chronic stress is dangerous to your health.
Left unchecked, stress will release hormones in high levels that will
continue to wash through your system, never leaving your blood and tissues.
The resulting wear and tear on your body can seriously damage your health
and boost your risk of injury and disease.
In fact, stress is linked to the six leading causes of death - heart
disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and
3 Does stress play too large a role in your life? Then you owe it to your
health to find ways to decompress and regain calm.
GOOD HEALTH TIP: Relax with Rhodiola
"Drink rhodiola tea regularly and live more than 100 years." That's what
they say in Siberia, where this ancient folk medicine is cherished for
fighting fatigue and strengthening the body's natural resistance to various
stresses. Now modern experts are studying rhodiola's ability to
combat depression, elevate energy levels, enhance immunity and
strengthen the nervous system.
Some scientists suggest rhodiola may improve moods and fight depression by
stimulating neurotransmitters that are crucial to mental well-being. 4
NEWSFLASH: Stress and Stroke
Stress has been linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease and
cancer. Now stroke can be added to the list. A large study included over
20,000 stroke-free adults that were followed for 8.5 years. Participants
who reported the most psychological distress had a 40% higher risk of
stroke than those who were the least psychologically stressed. Researchers
concluded that increased psychological distress is associated with elevated
stroke risk. 5
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Marriage and Your Health
You fight with your spouse and then feel stress hormones surging through
your system for hours. You wonder if these constant marital battles are
wearing down your health. Unfortunately, they are. One fascinating study
couples who were hostile to each other took two days longer to
experience healing of small blister wounds than couples who were not.
And even more ominously, a lengthy study of Midwestern couples found that
the couples who choked back their anger and failed to resolve their
problems died earliest. If your marriage is an ongoing source of simmering
resentments, try to gently open positive lines of communication. Your reward may well be
happier, healthier and longer lives for both you and your spouse.
It takes too much time to manage stress.
You can help relieve your stress in the time it takes to eat an orange,
drink a glass of tomato juice or swallow a stress-fighting supplement.
Stress places extra demands on your body and you need proper nutrition to
combat it. Make sure you eat healthy, well-balanced meals during times
of acute or ongoing stress, and consider taking nutrition-boosting
supplements in addition. Studies show that psychological stress increases
oxidative stress, which wreaks havoc on your cellular structures. By taking
nutritional supplements, you can unleash a battalion of health-giving
antioxidants in your system that fight free radical damage caused by
NEWSFLASH: What are the most popular anti-stress supplements?
One in ten (9%) Americans who are managing stress take a condition-specific
supplement for stress. Other nutrients that people managing stress use to
aid in their condition include: 8
- Vitamin C: 33%
- Vitamin B/B Complex: 20%
- Antioxidants: 21%
- Vitamin E: 19%
- Melatonin: 6%
- Coenzyme-Q10: 5%
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Vitamin C Loves Vitamin E
You already know about vitamin C's role in supporting your immune system,
protecting you from colds and other illnesses. But did you know that this
versatile antioxidant is also a topnotch stress fighter? Recent research
reported that large doses of vitamin C reduced stress hormone levels in the
bloodstream, and lessened other typical indicators of physical and
emotional stress, such as enlarged adrenal glands and changes in the thymus
and spleen.9 And here's another bonus of taking vitamin C: It boosts the
antioxidant activity of fellow stress-fighter vitamin E.10
GOOD HEALTH TIP: Cheer Up With Folate
In 1946, researchers isolated a B-vitamin from spinach leaves and dubbed it
folic acid. Now researchers are hailing its biologically active form,
folate, for its role in improving symptoms of depression. A recent study of
517 Japanese adults found that male subjects who had the highest folate
intake were 50% less likely to have depressive symptoms compared to men
having the lowest folate intake. The researchers concluded that increased
levels of folate were associated with significantly less depressive
symptoms in men. Several recent studies have linked low folate levels with
depression in women, too. So chow down and
cheer up with spinach and other leafy greens, citrus fruits, and beans
11If you'd like to try folate supplements, be aware that
your supplemental intake should not exceed 1,000 mg per day to prevent
folic acid from triggering symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you're 50 years of age or older, ask your doctor to check your B12
status before you take a supplement that contains folic acid. If you're
already taking a supplement with folic acid, read the label to make sure it
also contains B12.13
Get rid of stressful situations - and you'll get rid of anxiety.
Anxiety and stress, though they may overlap, are not the same thing.
Stress is tied to a particular situation that unleashes feelings of
worry, frustration and nervousness. Anxiety is more free-floating and
may not be traceable to a particular situation.
Some people feel so overwhelmed by anxiety that they stop being able to
Since anxiety disorders are often successfully treated, it's a shame
that most people with anxiety don't seek professional help.
If you suffer from anxiety, your doctor may recommend a combination of
psychotherapy and drug therapy. Treatment may also include counseling,
stress management, meditation, or exercise. In today's world of highly
effective anti-anxiety medications and techniques, there's no need to give
in to the paralysis of anxiety. With professional help, you can learn to
resume an active, productive, and enjoyable life.14
NEWSFLASH: Stress Is Exhausting
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Baby Boomers managing a lack of energy
believe it was caused by the level of stress and anxiety in their lives.15
INSTANT ANALYSIS: When Does Stress Go Over the Line? 16
When stress gets to be too much, you should seek professional help. If you
have any of the following symptoms, you should speak to your doctor right
* Abuse of drugs or alcohol
* Decline in work/school performance
* Extreme anxiety
* Self-destructive behavior
* Suicidal thoughts or feelings
GOOD HEALTH TIP: Ashwaghanda Gets an "A"
The ashwaghanda root, also known as Indian ginseng, is an important herb
from the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Rich in iron and
brimming with amino acids that promote healthy nerve function,
ashwaghanda can be a healing bonanza. Today, Ayurvedic practitioners use it
to enhance mental and physical performance, improve learning ability, and
decrease stress and fatigue. What's more, ashwaghanda is a general tonic
that can be used in stressful situations, especially insomnia,
restlessness, or when you're feeling overworked. Studies have indicated
that ashwaghanda possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress,
antioxidant, immune modulating, rejuvenating properties, and more. Talk to
your doctor and pharmacist before taking ashwaghanda, since it has the
potential for interactions and side effects.17
* Irrational fears
* Changes in sleeping patterns
* Changes in eating patterns
* Physical complaints
Being stressed and being overweight are two separate problems.
The greater the stress, the greater the risk of obesity. When you're
feeling overtaxed, you often make lousy food choices. And there may be
a biological pressure behind your unhealthy cravings.
Studies show that
people with high levels of stress tend to prefer foods that are high in
sugar and fat
.18 19Yes, those late night binges with chocolate fudge ice cream may be
induced by the stress hormones racing through your system. Unfortunately,
when you check out the scale in the morning, those stress hormones will get
another real workout.
43% of Baby Boomers who are managing a sleep disorder state that their
condition prevents them from participating in certain activities. 33% of
Americans who are managing stress exercise 3 to 4 times a week for 20
minutes or more.20
INSTANT ANALYSIS: Sleep Apnea and Excess Weight
You already know that losing weight will improve your health in many ways.
Now you can add getting a good night's sleep to the list. People who are
overweight often have extra soft tissue around their upper airways. This
narrowing of the air passage makes it harder for them to breathe and
increases their risk of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder.22
GOOD HEALTH TIP: Don't Be Trigger Happy
Do you have "trigger" situations that set off unhealthy eating binges?
Maybe it's a dreadful commute to work, a talk with your mother-in-law, or
sheer mindless boredom when you're zoning out in front of the television.
You may have trigger foods, as well, such as chips or chocolates that you
can't stop eating once you start. The best way to defuse trigger situations
is to become aware of them. Keep a journal for several days in which you
note what, when and how much you eat and see if you can find negative
patterns. Once you're conscious of what stimulates your triggers, you'll be
able to create a successful strategy for dealing with them. 21
You have to turn your life upside-down to gain control of stress.
No, you don't have to quit your fast-paced job and move to a tropical
island to calm down. You can take simple, effective measures to reduce
stress and increase enjoyment of your daily life.
Go for a stroll in the fresh air, take up a hobby, chat with friends: All
the advice your mother gave you about keeping your life in balance is good.
In addition to these time-honored tactics,
more modern relaxation techniques like biofeedback can harness the
power of your mind to help improve your health.
If you suffer from physical effects of stress, such as headaches or back
pain, you may want to investigate biofeedback. A specialist will apply
electrical sensors to your body and use real
-time signals to teach you how to relax specific muscles.23
NEWSFLASH: 4 Fun Ways to Reduce Stress
Here are some popular, stress-reducing activities used by Americans who are
currently managing stress.24Many people find that working with their hands
offers a particularly restorative relief.
Walking: 70% Gardening: 34% Photography: 33% Arts & Crafts: 31%
GOOD HEALTH TIP: Relax Your Muscles, Relax Your Mind
Unclench your muscles and calm your mind. That's the secret behind progressive muscle relaxation, a stress-fighting technique
which you can master through practice. Focus on slowly tensing your muscles
for at least 5 seconds and then relaxing for 30 seconds. Work on one muscle
group at a time, beginning with your toes and working up to your head. As
you become more aware of the physical differences between tension and
relaxation, you can learn to relax on cue.25
INSTANT ANALYSIS: How Your Body Relaxes
If you practice relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle
relaxation, which is described above, here are some ways your body will
-- Heart rates slows
-- Blood pressure drops
-- Blood flow to major muscles increases
-- Muscle tension reduces
-- Breathing rate decreases
-- Need for oxygen lessens
To sum it up... Take Control of Stress:
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Don't overeat.
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Don't use nicotine, cocaine, or other recreational drugs.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques like guided imagery, progressive
muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Try biofeedback with a
certified professional to get you started.
- Take breaks from work. Make sure to balance fun activities with your
responsibilities. Schedule some leisure time every day. Spend time with
people you enjoy, including quality time with your family.
- Try learning to make things with your hands (such as needlepoint,
woodwork, or knitting), playing an instrument, or listening to soothing
1 Natural Marketing Institute's Healthy Aging Boomer Database, (2007)
2 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph
3 American Psychological Association, Facts and Statistics, 2005
4 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Rhodiola
Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com
5 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Weekly Health News. Is
stress associated with an increased risk of stroke? at www.nhiondemand.com
6 Harburg E, et al. Marital Pair Anger-Coping Types May Act as an Entity to
Affect Mortality: Preliminary Findings from a Prospective Study
(Tecumseh, Michigan, 1971-1988). J Fam Communication. Jan 2008; 8(1):44-61.
7 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph
8 Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database,
9 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph
10 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Vitamin C
Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com
11 Gilbody S, et al. Is low folate a risk factor for depression? A
meta-analysis and exploration of heterogeneity. J Epidemiol Community
13 National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Dietary
Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate. 2005
14 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Anxiety
Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com
15 Natural Marketing Institute's Healthy Aging Boomer Database, (2007)
16 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph
17 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Ashwaghanda
Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com
18 Torres SJ, et al. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and
obesity. Nutrition. Nov2007;23(11-12):887-94.
19 Oliver G, et al. Stress and Food Choice: A Laboratory Study.
Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000;62:853-865.
20 Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database,
21 Mayo Clinic, Weight Loss help: How to stop emotional eating. 2007
22 Mayo Clinic, Stress: Unhealthy response to the pressures of life. 2006
23 Mayo Clinic, Biofeedback: Using your mind to improve your health. 2008
23 Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database,
25 Mayo Clinic, Relaxation techniques: Learn ways to calm your stress. 2007
26 Mayo Clinic, Relaxation techniques: Learn ways to calm your stress. 2007
27 Medline Plus, Medical Encyclopedia, Stress vs. Anxiety. 2007
Bruce Brightman – founder
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