An amazing 77% of Americans report that they regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. “The figures are staggering,” says Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Specialist Dr. Paul Savage, “Chronic stress is an American epidemic.
Although you can never completely eliminate stress, you can reduce it immensely by incorporating a few simple lifestyle changes to balance your stress hormones.” So, why is this so important?
“Bosses and Kids and Deadlines, Oh My!”
Let’s take a look at what is stress. Actually, like many things in life, it is a very good thing in the right situation. Your body’s “fight-or-flight reaction” is its natural alarm system. It was meant to protect you and is constantly on. When you encounter a perceived threat such as a growling dog, your hypothalamus, the tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm. Your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys are signaled to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
The release of adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, curbs functions that would be nonessential in a threatening situation. Cortisol suppresses your immune system responses, the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.
All of this is good, if for example, you were fighting off a bear! The problem is, in modern life, we don’t regularly encounter the life threatening situations our stress system was designed to deal with. Instead we face myriad “mini threats” each and every day such as traffic jams, the mortgage, the boss and looming deadlines. This barrage of “mini threats” can result in the stress-response system not shutting down and stabilizing after each encounter but rather maintaining a constant “mini surge” of adrenaline and cortisol. This is bad. Long-term activation of the stress-response system and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes and put you at increased risk of numerous health problems including:
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems and ulcers
- Depression and mood swings
- Memory impairment
- Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema
- Decrease in testosterone levels in males
- Irregular menstrual cycles in females
- Increased likelihood of infectious diseases
So what’s a modern person living with a prehistoric stress system to do?
Ageology Doctor Paul Savage offers up these 6 tips:
- Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep. Exercise is a natural de-stressor when you are engaged in physical activity your brain can partially refocus on the task at hand vs. the 1000 other things that seem so pressing.
- Get plenty of sleep. Quality sleep will stabilize your hormone levels and give them a chance to “wind down” to normal levels after a stressful day.
- Practice relaxation techniques. There is nothing better than yoga to release stress, like other exercise it gives your brain a distraction from stressors. But any exercise iseven better if you can combine meditation into your practice.
- Foster healthy friendships with man and beast. Friends and animals have been proven to be enormous de-stressors. If you can take your dog to work with you, do it and don’t forget to make time to connect with a friend each and every day.
- Have a sense of humor. Instead of fretting over problems try to find the humorous side of them. Friends and your significant other are often especially adept at helping you find the lighter side of your challenges no matter how big.
- Balance your hormones. Your Ageology physician will use saliva testing to help determine your cortisol levels and based on the results, will help you balance those levels, using a combination of stress reduction techniques, personalized nutrition and fitness regimens, pharmaceutical-grade supplementation and bioidentical hormone therapy.
The payoff of managing stress is peace of mind and a longer, healthier life. It just doesn’t get any better than that! Contact Ageology today, we will help you take it down a notch!
More facts and figures on stress:
- 77% of Americans say they regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress
- 33% say they are living with extreme stress
- 48% feel their stress has increased over the past 5 years
- 48% say stress has a negative effect on both their personal and professional life
- $300 billion in annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work