Category Archives: stress

We’re Less Likely To Spread Alarming Information While Experiencing Physiological Stress

Research Digest

By Emily Reynolds

The spread of bad news — fake or otherwise — is likely to be on everybody’s minds at the moment. Whether it’s legitimate updates on the spread or symptoms of coronavirus, or sensationalism more to do with page clicks than scientific fact, it can be hard to tune out of the news cycle — and to know what information you should be passing on to friends and family.

Past research has found that alarming information is likely to spread further than positive information; we’re also more likely to share news that confirms our own beliefs and biases. But what impact does the experience of stress have on the sharing of negative or alarming news? A new study published in Scientific Reports suggests a complex relationship between the two.

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Filed under dealing with stress, fake news, mainstream media, newspapers, stress, stress reduction

Fighting Viruses When Drugs Aren’t Available

Here is some straightforward no nonsense information on the topic of the day – and tomorrow. Straight from a doctor.

All About Healthy Choices

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

We’ve all been told steps to take to minimize exposure to Covid-19

 What has not been stated often enough are the ACTIVE STEPS one must take to strengthen the immune system prior to potential exposure to this disease?

 Consider including these five essential components:

  1. Get adequate sleep:

Approx. 6-9 hours of QUALITY sleep is required to repair and restore the body to maximal function from normal exposure to environmental toxins and physical activities of daily living.

  1. Manage stress:

Discover constructive methods to deal with stress. Activities that positively impact the way you FEEL inhibit damaging hormones from weakening immune function.  Everyone has stress; learning to effectively CHANNEL it is the key to successfully managing it.

  1. Eat intelligently:

Don’t deprive yourself from foods you enjoy. These foods, however, should only be eaten AFTER a healthy, well balanced meal is consumed. Food provides both nutrition and INFORMATION…

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Filed under coronavirus, coronavirus risk, COVID-19, Exercise, exercise benefits, good night's sleep, stress

How to handle social media coronavirus stress – AHA

Pandemic. Politics. An upending of life at a level that few Americans have ever experienced. And all of it amplified by social media.

The ever-shifting news has some people constantly checking their phones for updates – and others saying they’re ready to walk away from their feeds entirely.

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“It’s really the perfect recipe for anxiety and panic,” said licensed clinical psychologist Debra Kissen of Chicago. And stress, it should be noted, may be a factor in heart disease.

But Kissen, CEO of Light on Anxiety CBT (cognitive behavioral technology) Treatment Center, and others say anxiety can be managed – and social media, used properly, doesn’t have to send you on a mental-health spiral. It also can help you find balance. Continue reading

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Chronic stress may cause heart problems – AHA

In the nearly 10 years I have been writing this blog, I have written numerous posts on stress. I even have a Page – How to deal with stress with a number of them listed if you want to read further on it. What follows here is from the American Heart Association.

Sometimes stress can be useful. But constant stress can affect overall well-being and may even impact heart health.

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When stress is short-lived, it can help with performance in meeting a major deadline, interviewing for a new job or achieving another goal. Stress and its impact on the body can also be lifesaving in the face of danger. Continue reading

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Filed under American Heart Association, chronic stress, heart disease, heart health, stress, stress reduction

Dealing with visceral fat …

Fat is fat, right? Well, no. There is more than one kind of fat.

Visceral fat is stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in the body. An excess of visceral fat can, therefore, have potentially dangerous consequences. Because visceral fat is in the abdominal cavity, it is close to many vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and intestines.

 

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The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Filed under abdominal fat, Exercise, fat, fat storage, stress, visceral fat

5 Ways To Manage Holiday Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Or is it?

Yes, the holiday season can be magical — with all of its dazzling displays of lights, parades, festive parties and fun family gatherings. But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year, when Christmas shopping is unfinished, budgets get blown and out-of-town guests overstay their welcome.

Furman University Associate Professor of Psychology Cinnamon Stetler says it’s unrealistic to think you can eliminate all holiday stress.

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“If you don’t have any stress, you’re not really engaging with life,” she says. “You should try to keep stress to a minimum, but it will not be something you can eliminate entirely.”

The key to managing stress is to recognize it and work to minimize it so it doesn’t overwhelm, according to Stetler.

Here are five ways to cope with holiday stress. Continue reading

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8 Tips to curb overeating – Tufts

No matter how much you exercise, you can’t outrun your fork. If you are eating too much, you may be doing serious damage to yourself. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter offers the following ideas.

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These tips may help to curb overeating:

Focus on NUTRITIONAL quality of food. Highly-processed foods may be more likely to trigger craving and overeating.

Avoid distractions. Focus on the food you’re eating and slow down to increase odds of recognizing when you’ve had enough.

Don’t get too hungry. It may be harder to control food intake and choices when the body’s systems are all screaming for food.

Address stress. Look for ways to cut down on exposure to stressful situations. Try stress-reducing techniques such as meditation and exercise to cut down on stress eating.

Avoid temptation. Fill your pantry with healthy choices that you enjoy, not highly-palatable highly-processed junk food.

Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.

Get enough Sleep. Ensure you get at least seven hours a night.

Support policy change. Government and industry policy changes can improve access to healthy choices and make portions smaller.

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Filed under good night's sleep, overeating, overweight, sleep, stress, stress reduction

Stress can weaken defenses – Study

Research from the lab of Mark Alkema, PhD, professor of neurobiology, sheds light on how the “flight-or-flight” response impairs long-term organism health. The study, conducted in the nematode worm, C. elegans, a common research model, was published in Nature.

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When humans perceive a dangerous or stressful situation, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenalin. Adrenaline makes the heart beat faster, increases blood flow to the brain and muscles, and stimulates the body to make sugar to use for fuel. The rush of adrenaline triggers the “fight-or-flight” response which gives the person the ability to escape a predator or respond to a threat. Continue reading

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Myths about high blood pressure – Rush

Blood pressure is like what Mark Twain said about the weather, “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” Well almost. I have found that blood pressure is one of those subjects that is widely and wildly misunderstood. I used to think it was like grey hair on old people. Everybody has it. I was dead wrong.

Few assumptions are more dangerous than this one: If you have high blood pressure, you know it.

Doctors refer to high blood pressure, or hypertension, as a silent killer because it rarely produces warning signs.

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“When symptoms do occur, such as headache, nosebleeds or blurry vision, high blood pressure may have already reached severe and possibly life-threatening levels,” says Daniel Pohlman, MD, a primary care doctor at Rush University Medical Center. Continue reading

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Why stress and anxiety aren’t always bad

People generally think of stress and anxiety as negative concepts, but while both stress and anxiety can reach unhealthy levels, psychologists have long known that both are unavoidable — and that they often play a helpful, not harmful, role in our daily lives, according to a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

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“Many Americans now feel stressed about being stressed and anxious about being anxious. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches out to a professional for help, stress and anxiety have already built to unhealthy levels,” said Lisa Damour, PhD, a private-practice psychologist who presented at the meeting. Damour also writes a regular column for The New York Times and is author of the book “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.” Continue reading

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Comfort food leads to more weight gain during stress

Eat less; move more; live longer is the many-times repeated mantra of this blog. Now, it seems that eating less is particularly relevant when we experience stress.

Australian researchers have discovered a new molecular pathway in the brain that triggers more weight gain in times of stress.

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It’s no secret that overindulging on high-calorie foods can be detrimental to health, but it turns out that under stress, watching what you eat may be even more important. Continue reading

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Stress Impacts Hormones and Health in Both in Childhood and Adulthood

I have been writing about the dangers and damage of stress on the body for nearly the entire nine years of producing this blog. Check out my Page – How to Deal with Stress for more details.

Adults who report high levels of stress and who also had stressful childhoods are most likely to show hormone patterns associated with negative health outcomes, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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One of the ways that our brain responds to daily stressors is by releasing a hormone called cortisol — typically, our cortisol levels peak in the morning and gradually decline throughout the day. But sometimes this system can become dysregulated, resulting in a flatter cortisol pattern that is associated with negative health outcomes. Continue reading

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Here are the benefits of walking 5, 30 and 60 minutes – Video

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. I call it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. If you want to learn a lot more about the benefits of walking – after you watch this less than five minute video – check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Guidelines for feeling good and functioning well into senior years – GCBH

I just ran across this newly-published set of guidelines for helping seniors succeed in retaining their mental function and well-being as they age. As a senior myself who has a family with a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia I found it to be on point with my own situation.

The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars, and policy experts from around the world who are working in areas of brain health related to human cognition. The GCBH focuses on brain health relating to people’s ability to think and reason as they age, including aspects of memory, perception and judgment.

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We believe the following suggestions will increase the chances for people to experience or optimize mental well-being. If you are already engaging in these healthy activities, continue to do so, and consider trying something new as well.

FOR INDIVIDUALS:

1. Take the time to develop and strengthen relationships with family and friends. For more about the brain health benefits of strong social ties, see the GCBH report, The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, dealing with stress, Exercise, exercise benefits, seniors, stress, successful aging

Psychological Differences Between Those Who Love and Those Who Loathe Black Friday Shopping

Foll disclosure: I don’t loathe it, but I wouldn’t go out on Black Friday shopping with your money. I do know folks who get up at Midnight and plunge right in. The following is what Neuroscience News has to say about Black Friday shopping.

Summary: Researchers consider why some people enjoy the thrill of Black Friday shopping, and why others don’t. Enjoyment of the social aspects of shopping may determine whether you are a fan of the day, or not. Source: The Conversation.

If the thought of taking part in the annual ritual of Black Friday gives you cold chills rather than a rush of excitement, you’re not alone. For every avid bargain hunter who plans for the day as if training for a marathon, there’s someone else who stays home, secure in the knowledge that no one will trample them, shove them or invade their personal space just to get this season’s hottest deals.

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NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from The Conversation news release.

It’s not just a lack of appreciation for bargains that drives this disconnect. Psychology research indicates that several factors determine which side of the shop-‘til-you-drop divide you land on. Some people just aren’t wired to enjoy the more social aspects of shopping.

What you prioritize plays in

Continue reading

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Exercising to relax – Harvard

This is perfectly in line with our mantra of eat less; move more; live longer. Besides all the health benefits of exercise on the brain and body, Harvard Health Publishing says that it also reduces stress.

How does exercise reduce stress, and can exercise really be relaxing?

Rest and relaxation. It’s such a common expression that it has become a cliche. And although rest really can be relaxing, the pat phrase causes many men to overlook the fact that exercise can also be relaxing. It’s true for most forms of physical activity as well as for specific relaxation exercises.

Exercise is a form of physical stress. Can physical stress relieve mental stress? Alexander Pope thought so: “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.” Plato agreed: “Exercise would cure a guilty conscience.” You’ll think so, too — if you learn to apply the physical stress of exercise in a controlled, graded fashion.

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 As you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it

How exercise reduces stress

Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart. You may not agree at first; indeed, the first steps are the hardest, and in the beginning, exercise will be more work than fun. But as you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it, and finally depend on it. Continue reading

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Filed under dealing with stress, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, stress, stress reduction, Uncategorized

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