GET RID OF YOUR STRESS - IT’S NOT HELPING YOU

Courtesy of  www.flatpanelshd.com
By Alan Knight

Just hearing the word can make you nervous and edgy. Everyone feels stress from time to time, and some more than others since it is a very personal emotion. Some people bounce back from stressful events quickly, while some internalize emotions brought on by stress. It is incredibly important to understand your reactions and limits resulting from stress to avoid the health effects that often ensue.


The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.
The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cavemen had stress and it’s a good thing they did. Imagine a few people from a tribe were out in the fields innocently picking berries. Along comes a saber-tooth tiger who suddenly see its dinner. The cavemen sense they are in trouble and the body reacts to protect them from danger. Scientifically speaking, the hypothalamus in the brain sends chemical triggers to the adrenal glands, located at the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands get to work and release hormones like cortisol, which raises blood pressure and blood sugar. These responses are perfect for these cavemen because they are exactly what they need to out run that tiger. Within seconds, they would be able to run faster, see better and think more clearly. Unfortunately, they probably had to drop the berries and run back to their caves, but at least they had the adrenaline to do it.

This process is perfect if you need to outrun a saber-tooth tiger, but it can be harmful to your health if sustained over time. We live in a stressful society. We have concerns about our bosses, meeting deadlines, money, finding affordable childcare and more. These stressors make our bodies react the same way and the “flight or fight” response is on overdrive, causing chronic health issues over time.

MINOR AND MAJOR STRESS EFFECTS

Have you ever had a stomach ache before an important presentation or become nauseous before an interview? Even these relatively minor stresses have an impact. Fighting with a spouse or going through a divorce is major stresses that have an even bigger impact.

When stress becomes chronic, it can interfere with your ability to live a normal life. You might become irritable for no obvious reason, have difficulty concentrating or feel constantly fatigued. This can really do a number on your body and can make existing health issues worse.

IS CORTISOL THE CULPRIT?

Chemical structure of cortisol.
Chemical structure of cortisol.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The effects of cortisol on the body reach far and wide. Studies have shown that repeated elevated amounts of cortisol will lead to cravings and weight gain. Scientists believe it binds to receptors in the brain and controls the hormones that stimulate appetite. Not only is the appetite stimulated, but cortisol is linked to spur cravings for sugar and fat.

Cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue that is stored in your body and enlarge fat cells. Even higher levels of cortisol have been linked to “deep abdominal fat” or the dreaded belly fat. 

MORE STRESS EFFECTS
Do you want to avoid a heart attack? Keep your stress at bay. Evidence is growing that there is a relationship between stress and the propensity for having a heart attack. “A recent study in Health Magazine of 200,000 employees in Europe found that people who have stressful jobs and little decision-making power at work are 23% more likely to have a first heart attack than people with less job-related stress.
Do you have a headache? Stress can cause it, when the adrenaline chemicals are released. Stress also causes muscles to tense which also results in headaches and migraines. If you grind your teeth or stiffen your shoulders in response to stress, this only makes the headaches worse.
Can’t sleep? Stress definitely causes insomnia. Your mind is running and your body is in a hyper-aroused state where you are wide awake. Sometimes this passes quickly once the stress is over, but long term stress can lead to more serious sleep disorders.
Am I forgetting something? There is an association between memory loss and stress. Cortisol is to blame again. It interferes with transmitters that enable the brain cells to communicate with each other, leading to difficulty with memory retrieval.
Is there too much hair left in your brush? Chronic stress can result in hair loss and exacerbate existing conditions.
STOP THE MADNESS- GREAT WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR STRESS
Reducing stress right now can have immediate benefits for you and protect your health long-term. Let’s discuss some methods to reduce stress and promote a healthier you.
Courtesy of  www.morse-re.com
HIT THE MAT
Yoga is considered to be a synergistic combination of mind and body movements, coupled with controlled breathing techniques. The breathing techniques learned in yoga helps your body to stay in the “rest and digest” state which works to balance the “flight or fight” state. The pranayama (breathing techniques), if practiced correctly, can let our minds and bodies slip into a more restful state of being.
Practice controlled breathing before you go to bed. Lie down and close your eyes. Inhale and feel the breath in the abdomen and chest. Exhale fully and try to feel the breath leave your body. Do this practice for a full five minutes before you go to bed and see if you can feel the difference.
GET OUT AND MOVE
Any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. Exercise releases the brain’s feel-good transmitters, the endorphins. This effect is not only achieved by runners, but any solid sweating action can give you the same “high.”
Exercise is like meditation in motion. Think about how you feel after an hour of swimming laps or playing a spirited game of tennis. You find that you have forgotten the day’s woes and feel accomplished. Your energy will be improved and you’ll be more optimistic throughout the day.
Regular exercise can improve your self-confidence, relax you and reduce symptoms of depression. You shed your daily tensions and begin to act calmly under stressful situations. Exercise promotes strength and a good cardiovascular workout will get that blood pumping, giving your heart a boost. Get out and work up a sweat for a proven way to manage your stress.
Kerry getting into his Walk-In tub.
KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIPS STRONG
Relationships can be a source of stress and can also be stress relievers. Reach out to family members and friends and let them know you are having a tough time. Your social network can be an excellent resource to give a different perspective while offering comforting support.
GET INTO YOUR BATH TUB AND MEDITATE
A bath meditation, combines the amazing benefits of meditation to relax your mind and the benefits of a soothing, hot back to relax your tired muscles and take you away from the day’s stressors. For seniors who may have issues with getting in and out of the tub, a walk-in tub is a great solution. These tubs also have therapeutic water and air jets to help you relax. 
Block out a minimum of 15 minutes and make sure you are not disturbed by your phone, family or friends. This is your time. As you are filling the tub, add aromatherapy oils or salts to enhance the experience. Many of these scents are known to promote relaxation.

Check out this short video on warm water therapy.
Relax in the moment while breathing slowly and deeply like the pranayama technique mentioned above. Keep your mind as clear as possible and try not to let it wander. Focus on the sensations around you while staying in the present moment.
If you have trouble keeping your mind clear, you might also try a mantra meditation that requires more focus.
You can be assured you will be feeling relaxed and at peace in a very short time.
Stress is the cause of many health issues, but these can be controlled by using some of these proven techniques to give you a happier and healthier perspective on your life.
Until the next time.

In this article, I provided you with many of the side effect that stress can cause in the human body and ways to alleviate stress. In particular, I discuss how a meditative bath can help you relax when stress rears it's ugly head.

If you would like a FREE copy of our eBook "The Walk-In Tub Buyers Guide", fill out the form below and we will send it to you.

Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and my brother, Alan, who heads up Tub King, will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
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Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and  SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. To contact Tub King directly, call (800)843-4231 or email alan@tubking.com. 
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