Medical research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that up to 90% of all illness and disease is stress-related. It is estimated that 75-90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually and more then 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Stress is literally tearing our health apart, yet it isn't something discussed at routine medical exams nor is healthy stress management practices something that is incorporated into most medical treatment plans. We are beginning to see some positive movement, with stress management techniques being suggested and practiced for cardiology patients, but what about all the other illness caused and complicated by un-treated stress? This is where healthy stress management practices become essential in living a naturally balanced and holistic lifestyle.
Most of us continue to increase the amount of stress we experience on a daily basis without really looking at or understanding how it is affecting our general health and well being. We know, through medical research, that prolonged and untreated stress has an extremely powerful and negative effect on health and well being. Untreated being the key word. Biologically stress actually begins to tear apart and wear out your body from the inside out. During stressful periods of time, the inside of your body is actually up to 32 years older than your calendar age! That would mean that if you are 35 years old, your heart, lungs and brain, during stressful periods of time, are close to 70 years old! How long and well will a 70 year old heart last as compared to a 35 year old heart? How about a 70 year old brain? Not nearly as long and not nearly as effectively. In a nutshell, stress ages your body rapidly, very rapidly. Prolonged stress can alter the body's immune system in ways that are associated with other "aging" conditions such as frailty, functional decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Research also suggests that stress impairs the brain's ability to block certain toxins and other large, potentially harmful molecules a condition common in Alzheimer's Disease. Stress can also intensify symptoms of autoimmune type conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also affects headaches, your risk of stroke and irritable bowel syndrome. The best way to deal with stress is to implement healthy stress management practices into your daily life.
Here is Your Body on Stress:...
Shrinks Your BrainEven for healthy people, stressful moments can take a toll on the brain, a new study from Yale University suggests.
Researchers reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry that stressful occasions can actually shrink the brain by reducing gray matter in regions tied to emotion and physiological functions. This is important because these changes in brain gray matter could signal future psychiatric problems and chronic degenerative brain diseases, researchers warned.
Increases Risk for Developing Chronic DiseaseIt's not just the stress, but HOW YOU REACT TO IT, that could have an impact on your health in the future, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University researchers.
Published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the study found that people who were more stressed out and anxious about the stresses of everyday life were, in turn, more likely to develop chronic health conditions (such as heart problems or arthritis) 10 years later, compared with people who viewed things in a more relaxed way. Feeling anxious and stressed is linked with a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack -- the same effect smoking five cigarettes a day has on the heart, the New York Daily News reported.
Decreases ImmunityResearch shows that stress has an impact on the immune system, with one recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences even showing it can make colds worse. That's because when you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which can then wreak havoc on your body’s inflammatory process which lowers immunity and makes you more susceptible to infections. Stress has been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease, high blood pressure, many skin conditions, such as hives and eczema, is a common cause of everyday aches, pains, and health problems, such as headaches, backaches, stomachaches, diarrhea, sleep loss, and loss of sex drive and also weight gain.
On the other hand, healthy stress management techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, and exercise, have been shown to help reverse this effect, by increasing the number of infection-fighting T cells and feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the body, and prevent disease.
Causes You To Gain WeightWhen your body experiences a stressful situation it releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the famous hormone at play in the fight or flight response. Cortisol causes your body to increase blood sugar to provide immediate energy for the impending flee or fight. When all the energy is not used, excess blood sugar is stored as fat, to be used at a later time for energy. Some studies have shown that excess cortisol not only leads to fat deposits but that the hormone can also affect where the fats are stored. Researchers believe that individuals who gain weight due to cortisol are more likely to have abdominal fat. Studies also suggest chronic stress and excess cortisol can cause abdominal obesity in women.
Stress is often inevitable in life, how you deal with your stress, however, is completely under your control. It's important to look at your levels of stress often and make changes where needed to reduce the amount of stress in your life, while implementing consistent healthy stress management techniques such as deep breathing, exercise, relaxation, yoga and mediation. It is important that healthy stress management practices are consistent and constant, not just once and awhile. It is important that stress management practices are consistent and constant, not just once and awhile. The higher the levels of stress you experience the more important stress management practices will be in your life, to your overall health and vitality.
Raw Vitality utilizes some of the most effective, yet easiest to implement into your daily life healthy stress management practices such as: deep breathing, yoga, consistent exercise, outdoor walking and calming nutritional strategies designed to help you reduce the stress impact on your health and implement long term strategies to help you manage your stress effectively and health-fully after cleansing.
Healthy Stress Management Practices Utilized in Raw Vitality
"The benefits of yoga include decreased stress and tension, increased strength and balance, increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels," says Beth Shaw, Founder/President of Yogafit Training Systems, Worldwide, Inc., in Torrance, Calif. Yoga's emphasis on breathing and the mind/body/spirit connection also yields strong emotional benefits. People who practice yoga frequently report that they sleep better and feel less stressed. "It helps you learn not to concentrate on things you can't control, to live in the present," says Mindy Arbuckle, yoga teacher and owner of Green Mountain Yoga in Arvada, Colo. "It seeps into the rest your life. You'll notice you're handling a stressful event more easily, whether it's family or work."
ExerciseRegular exercise helps to reduce your physiological reaction to stress. It also strengthens your heart and increases the blood supply to it, directly affecting your vulnerability to heart disease, one common long term side effect of stress. Exercise helps to increase feel good emotions and physically release built up stress. As you begin to regularly get rid of your daily tensions through movement and exercise, your energy and optimism will increase which will help you to remain calm and clear in everything that you do. Regular exercise lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety, improves your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress. All this can ease your overall stress levels and give you a sense of control over your body and your life.
Deep BreathingA profound insight by Ancient yogis' was the link between breathing patterns and state of mind. Shallow, rapid breaths—the way many people breathe most of the time—can, from a yogic perspective, be both a cause and a result of stress. Think of how you breathe if you are startled, with a quick inhalation primarily to the upper lungs. Physiologically, habitual rapid chest-breathing is a bit like getting startled thousands of times per day.
It is calming and relaxing to the entire body and mind to breathe more deeply than most people usually do. It turns out that slower, deeper breaths are much more efficient in bringing oxygen into the body while not exhaling more carbon dioxide (CO2) than is desirable. Rapid, shallow breaths, in contrast, tend to deplete CO2 levels, which has a number of negative effects, including promoting mental agitation.
Deep breathing also releases endorphins in your body, which increase your sense of well-being and make you feel more at ease.
Calming NutritionMost people tend to eat the wrong foods when under stress — coffee, sugar and processed foods, for instance, which actually cause more stress and puts the body into an agitated state. Caffeine, a stimulant, actually helps create the stress response. Studies show sugar might be a quick fix, but quickly turns into low energy which can create more stress. Food chemicals and other neurotoxins create stress in the nervous system and throughout the body. Switching to plant based, organic, fresh foods calm and restore the body and mind and help to counter act the effects of stress with their high nutrient quality. When under stress, your body uses nutrients more quickly, and fresh plant foods restore those gaps keeping your nervous system and body in balance.
Consistent healthy stress management practices are an essential key to living a vibrant and healthy life. Raw Vitality helps you learn how to do these stress management practices, and implement into your life on a daily and consistent basis.