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5 Stress Myths Dispelled: By Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins - Article
5 Stress Myths Dispelled: By Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins - Article

5 Stress Myths Dispelled: By Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins - Article
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5 Stress Myths Dispelled: By Bruce Brightman - LifeSource Vitamins

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

MYTH #1:
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 suicide. 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 discovered that 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.

MYTH #2:
It takes too much time to manage stress.

REALITY: 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 oxidative stress.7

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 and peas. 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

MYTH #3:
Get rid of stressful situations - and you'll get rid of anxiety.

REALITY: 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 function. 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 away.

* 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

MYTH #4:
Being stressed and being overweight are two separate problems.

REALITY: 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

MYTH #5:
You have to turn your life upside-down to gain control of stress.

REALITY: 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 thank you:26

-- 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 music.


1 Natural Marketing Institute's Healthy Aging Boomer Database, (2007)

2 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com

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 at www.nhiondemand.com

8 Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database, (2007)

9 nhiondemand.com Health & Wellness Library, Consumer Stress Monograph at www.nhiondemand.com

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 Health.


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 at www.nhiondemand.com

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, (2007)

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, (2007)

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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