Keeping Stress In Check To Limit The Aging Process

In Skincare Advice & Articles by Dr Bollmann's 0 comments

Keeping stress in check is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The very word disease can be explained as DIS-EASE.

Some people feel that disease is 100% caused by stress.
There is an old Hindu story about the goddess Cholera. A villager was walking along when he encountered the goddess. He said to her, “I understand you killed 100 people in the last village.” She responded, “I actually killed 10; the other 90 died from stress.”
How many times have we had a headache and thought it could be a brain tumor? Or had a fever and thought it was something much more serious.

As a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association, I have long been interested in stress as a cause of illness. I was one of the few doctors using bio-feedback and autogenic training, along with bio-feedback, in my OB/GYN practice. Looking for alternative ways to provide pain relief for my patients in labor (some people feel that labor can be stressful), I had a sound-technician install stereo speakers under the labor beds to provide music for my labor patients.

Some Thoughts To Help Reduce Stress

Keep Stress in Check
Stress is an unavoidable part of modern living, but its chronic presence can take a severe toll on both our physical and mental health. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. Short bursts of cortisol are beneficial, helping us react quickly in emergencies. However, when stress becomes a relentless state, cortisol levels remain elevated, contributing to:
Increased risk of serious health problems: These include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, a suppressed immune system, digestive issues, and a predisposition to anxiety and depression.
Difficulty sleeping and concentrating: These further compromise our ability to cope with and overcome the very stressors causing the problem.

The good news is that proactive self-care can keep stress levels in check.
Restoring Adrenal Balance

The power of natural light: Our bodies thrive on a predictable sleep/wake cycle. Exposure to natural light (even on cloudy days) boosts mood and tells our internal clock it's time to be awake. Aim for an hour or more outdoors daily, remembering SPF protection.

Supplement to support: Under the guidance of a healthcare professional, consider adrenal-supportive supplements such as DHEA or Siberian Ginseng. These substances may bolster natural adrenal function for greater resilience.

Uncover hidden sensitivities: Some food allergies or intolerances act as invisible stressors on the body. An elimination diet or working with a specialist can help uncover food triggers so you can make dietary adjustments accordingly.

Additional Stress-Busting Strategies
Get moving: Few things counteract stress as effectively as regular exercise. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity movement on most days is the goal. Options are limitless – brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, exercise classes – whatever YOU enjoy is most sustainable. My favorite is the most expanding new sport, pickleball.

Master your mind with mindfulness: Focused breathing techniques, guided meditations, and mindfulness practices calm the nervous system. Exploring in-person classes with experienced instructors can be invaluable. I have been meditating for many years, starting as a teenager. And 7 trips to an ashram in India helped me expand this to new bounds. Another method is autogenic training, which is easily done by yourself.

Social connection is vital: We're hardwired to belong. Time with supportive friends, family, or social groups is protective against stress. If your circle is small, explore activities centered around your interests to meet new, like-minded people. Church groups are a good source for this activity.

Don't underestimate sleep: A full 7-8 hours of quality sleep is fundamental. When we're sleep-deprived, cortisol surges and our overall coping skills degrade. And as we age, naps become an important part of our reducing stress. My children always would kid me about my naps; now they are taking them too.

The importance of "No": Our culture sometimes makes "busy" feel like a badge of honor. Learn to gracefully say "no" to commitments that overburden or drain you. Your time and energy are precious - protect them. This is extremely important to women. As a gynecologist, I frequently had to encourage my patients to say no to non-essential things when they had other more pressing matters.
Making cookies for the PTA meeting is not always an earth-shaking engagement.

The healing power of laughter: Seek out activities that genuinely make you laugh. Time with lighthearted people, comedies, or funny animal videos – it all counts toward lowering stress levels! Learn to laugh a lot.

Spend time in nature: Exposure to natural light helps regulate our circadian rhythm and improve mood. Research suggests spending time in green spaces reduces cortisol levels. Aim for at least an hour outside daily, lathering up with sunscreen as needed.

Follow a whole foods diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help provide essential nutrients and keep blood sugar stable. Limit or eliminate caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, as these substances can stimulate the adrenal glands and worsen stress.

Support your adrenals with supplements: Supplements like DHEA and Siberian Ginseng may help regulate adrenal function. Consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized dosage recommendations is vital.

Uncover food allergies: Unidentified food sensitivities can be major stressors on the body. Talk to your doctor or a specialist about determining any potential food allergies and developing a rotation diet to minimize stressors.

When to seek professional help: No shame exists in asking for help if stress consistently interferes with your well-being. Therapists specialize in providing tools and developing personalized plans to help you manage stressors effectively.

Key Takeaway
Stress management isn't about eliminating stressors (that's often impossible!), but about equipping ourselves for greater resilience. Experiment with the strategies that resonate with you, be kind to yourself in the process, and never hesitate to seek additional support when needed.


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