Tackle Stress In YOUR Life

Tackle Stress

“There is no health without mental health”

With the World Mental Health Day (on 10 October) around the corner, we decided to focus on STRESS.

Did you know?

More than 800,000 people each year worldwide commit suicide!

That roughly translates to around one person every 40 seconds ending his/her own life using poisoning, hanging or by shooting himself /herself. India ranks on top of the worldwide suicide figures and also has other worrisome trends -high rate of female and youth suicides to top it off.

Stress — just the sound of this word is enough to set our nerves on edge. In this blog, we jot down some tips that may help you to cope with stress. We, at Texas Medical Concierge, believe that it’s crucial to know your limits when it comes to stress to avoid more serious health effects.

How does stress affect your overall health?

Stress can play havoc on our mind and body! By 2020, depression is projected to become the second most common cause of disability, secondary only to heart disease.

Immunity

Chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response.  When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Knowing this is correlation between stress and immune system is very important for identifying which diseases may be influenced by stress and for preventing disease in chronologically stressed people.

Flight or Fight Response- Binge Eating & Tension Headaches

The stress response is a biological mechanism to protect mortals from danger. The hypothalamus (a small region at the base of the brain) sets off an alarm when we are faced with a threat. Nerves and hormones signal our adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol (often referred to as the stress hormone). Our bodies are prepared to respond in either fight-or-flight. The adrenaline that is released when we are stressed will increase heart rate, raise blood pressure and ready the body’s energy supplies. Cortisol also increases blood sugars. Observe how you crave for sugar and fatty food items when you have looming deadlines, break-up (or whenever stress is likely). It is starkly evident that stress clearly correlates weight gain. “With so much tension, I’m getting another migraine attack”- sounds familiar? Stress also plays a major role in making the pain of the migraines worse. There is an entire type of headache described by medical practitioners as “Tension Headaches”! They are experienced periodically by more than one-third of adults and as the name suggests, they are thought to be directly caused by emotional tension, anxiety, tiredness or stress.

Insomnia

Hyper-arousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy, is known to occur during the major stressful events of our lives. A disturbed sleep pattern leads to fatigue and worrying about not being able to fall asleep creates a vicious cycle! Insomnia may be the first manifestation of the underlying mental disorder.  Mental problems for example, mood disorders, such as dysthymic disorder, major depression disorder, bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, as well as most anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders,  are frequently attributed to poor sleep.

Heart

There’s no question that stress can exert real health effects throughout the body—including the heart. A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. And our body’s response to stress-high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, along with changes in our behavior and lifestyle when we are stressed out (for example, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating) contributes to heart diseases! The technique that we choose to “manage” chronic stress prepares us in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular disease.

Memory

Do you tend to forget things when you’re stressed? There’s nothing like stress to make your memory go a little sketchy! A new study at the University of Iowa reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. Another study found out that acute stress affects neural correlates of memory formation in an unexpected manner. Hence, the memory loss! Neuroscientists from the University of California, Berkeley, found that chronic stress can create long-term changes in the brain. Stress increases the development of white matter, which helps send messages across the brain, but decreases the number of neurons that assist with information processing. The resulting imbalance can affect our brain’s ability to communicate with itself, and make us more vulnerable to developing a mental illness.

The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote 2,400 years ago:

“That which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away. . . . If there is any deficiency in food or exercise, the body will fall sick.”

brainpower

Over the past three decades, theorists and researchers alike have made significant headway in understanding how working memory functions. Evidence suggests that if we train our attention and working memory, we increase our basic cognitive skills that help us in performing many different complex tasks.

What Is Working Memory?

Working memory or Primary memory or Short-term memory is our brain’s Post-It/Sticky notes!! Working memory allows us to do things like plan ahead, solve problems in the course of execution of work, organize and pay attention. It comprises of a set of skills that aids us to retain information in our mind while using that information to complete a task or execute a challenge. It is a foundation of the brain’s executive function. Working memory comes in handy to keep an internal’ to-do’ list while we are engaged in our daily life.

All of us have experienced situations when we need to keep more things in mind while approaching a task and the pieces of information just evade our grasp. For example, remembering a phone number between the time of hearing it and dialing it. In situations like these, not only do we need to keep certain bits of information accessible in mind, but we also need to perform cognitive operations using the same information- grasping it or perform actions based on transforming the information. Basically, as information comes in, we’re processing it at the same time as we store it.

What is your working memory capacity?

To take this test, cut a window in a blank sheet of paper so that it exposes one single line at a time. For each line, determine whether the arithmetic is correct or not: say out loud, YES or NO. Then look at the word that follows the problem and memorize it. Move through each line quickly. After you have finished all the lines, try to recall the words in order. The number you get correct is your estimated working memory capacity.

Is (5×3) +4=17?  BOOK

 Is (6×2) -3=8?      HOUSE

 Is (4×4) – 4= 12? JACKET

 Is (3×7) +6= 27? CAT

 Is (4×8) -2=31?   PEN

 Is (9×2) + 6= 24? WATER