What’s the source of YOUR stress? Health…relationships…money?
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have one more thing you’re likely to feel stressed about shortly. And that is STRESS itself.
Let me explain.
New research revealed that how much stress you’re under really IS a reason to worry.
The new study published in the journal Neurology compared a bunch of volunteer’s stress levels.
Those who were in the red zone with lots of the stress hormone cortisol floating through their bloodstream performed measurably worse on memory and visual perception tests than the cool as a cucumber types.
But it gets worse.
MORE stress leads to LESS brain
Those higher levels of cortisol were also associated with smaller amounts of gray matter in the brain. In other words, it appears that chronic stress levels may have the power to shrink your brain.
And doing poorly on cognitive tests combined with a rapidly shrinking brain spells real trouble. Because the combo puts you at a higher risk for dementia as you age.
But a future with dementia isn’t all you have to be concerned about either. Chronic stress could be doing major damage to your health RIGHT NOW.
Following are three of the worst stress side effects…
1. Weakened immunities:
Stress can make you more likely to get sick. Plus it can make you sicker and keep you that way longer when you come down with something.
A huge meta-analysis conducted at the University of Kentucky poured through more than 300 studies spanning over 30 years. And the researchers confirmed that stress really could knock us down and keep us down longer.
They found that short-term stress alone was enough to weaken cellular immunity. But long-term stress was every bit as bad as you might imagine. The cells weakened. And they produced fewer of the antibodies needed to fight off infections.
2. Higher blood sugar:
When your body senses stress it switches into fight or flight mode. It rapidly pumps out extra glucose providing itself with the energy it needs to fight off the cause of your stress or run from it.
Chronic stress can contribute to wild blood sugar spikes. And if you’re already battling pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, this can make getting control even more of a challenge.
3. Heart disease:
Stress may be hardest on your heart. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. But the trouble doesn’t end there.
According to research published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, a combination of chronic stress and inflammation is one of the biggest factors in the development of heart disease.
Plus this deadly duo contributes to higher levels of oxLDL, the TRULY bad “bad cholesterol.”
And the unhealthy habits many of us adopt when we’re feeling stressed don’t help. Smoking, drinking a lot, and eating far too much comfort food are all bad for your heart as well.
Stop chronic stress in its tracks in three easy steps
But I have good news too. You can stop stressing about stress.
Here’s how to beat chronic stress at its own game…
Get more quality sleep: It’s a vicious cycle. Chronic stress can cause insomnia, but insomnia can cause stress. Break free by stopping work an hour earlier and keeping your electronics out of the bedroom. If you’re still having trouble slipping off to sleep, click here for for some handy hacks that will have you floating off to la-la land in no time.
Exercise regularly: A growing stack of studies proves exercise is a sure-fire way to reduce stress. You don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits either. Just make sure you get your heart rate up for 30 minutes five or six days a week. You’ll feel better, and you’ll sleep better, too.
Talk it out: If you’re struggling with stress, it’s okay to find someone to talk to. A therapist, your minister at church, or even a trusted friend all make good sounding boards. And remember, needing someone to listen doesn’t make you weak. Everybody can use a sympathetic ear from time to time.
Don’t let stress ruin your health and steal your memory. Fight brain shrink and commit to taking control of your health back today.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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