Stress: the subject of many an article. This article particularly caught my attention as the author James Clear uses such a great analogy to explain the theory of how stress accumulates and how it affects the body. He encourages us to imagine our health and energy as water inside a bucket. In everyday life things like sleep, food, laughter and love fill our bucket up. However, there are also forces that drain the water from our bucket. He suggests they could be things like relationship problems or other forms of stress and anxiety, as well as exercise, work and study which could be either positive or negative experiences. Interested in finding out more? Then why not take a look at his article?
If you are very stressed then often the advice from others is to take a break, have a rest and chill out for a while; then you will feel better. However a recent study has shown that people who are particularly stressed after work get the least out of watching TV or playing computer games to relax. It was found that those people with high stress levels expressed feelings of failure and guilt about using the TV or games console to try and relax which meant they could not wind down properly. An interesting article from Dr Jeremy Dean of PsyBlog.
Getting to the other side of anxiety, Linda Esposito advises, is all about making choices to do things differently from how you are doing them now. She’s right isn’t she? We need to put some effort in to get a positive outcome.
Linda quotes an analogy about a glass of water: why not give it a try? Pour yourself a glass of water. Hold it in your hand. Now guess how heavy it is. BUT… the absolute weight of the water doesn’t matter; that depends on how long you hold it for. The weight of the glass and water doesn’t change but it feels like it becomes heavier and heavier the longer you hold it for. So how to compare that to the stresses and anxiety in life? You’ll have to click on the link below to find out!!
When we think about the effects of stress most of us know that it can affect how we cope with illness and how it affects our bodies in other ways such as the links of stress and heart disease for example. A recent study has now confirmed that stress can also affect our short term memory especially in older adults. When cortisol is produced by our bodies in response to stress and if it continues to be produced when the feelings of stress persist, the cortisol can then begin to affect the part of our brain that operates short term memory. Why not take a look at the article to find out more?
We know stress greatly influences our food choices. As a result emotional eating can take place which is usually an overindulgence of high-calorie, sweet and fatty foods – in an attempt to abolish negative feelings. Many of us when we are under stress reach for sugary foods (including alcohol) to make us feel better. Recent research has investigated why this happens and identified that there are receptors in our taste buds that are activated by stress hormones called glucocorticoids. The jobs of these receptors are to detect bitter, savory and sweet tastes. The highest levels of receptors were found in the taste buds linked to sweet tastes. Lots more research needs to be done in this area but this is fascinating reading. I wonder if there are differences in these receptors between men and women for example? What do you think?
I’m sure most of us will admit to opening that bottle of wine or beer after a really stressful day at some point or other, over the last few weeks.
However….. ( you knew this was coming didn’t you!) the timing of those drinks may actually affect the levels of stress chemicals in your body. Drinking after a stressful event does lower the level of cortisol in the short term but recent studies have shown that this habit can trigger a pattern where in the long term more cortisol gets made; a reaction that shows that the body is improperly handling stress. Read on to find out more….
Watching someone else going through a stressful event has been shown to lead to a raise in your own stress levels too. Researchers measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol and proved that even when not directly exposed to stress the level of cortisol can rise significantly due to ’empathic stress’. They discovered that this response was much greater when watching a loved one experience something stressful but also occurred between strangers too. The significance of that could even impact on the subject matter of your choice of TV watching. Researchers concluded that watching stressful events on TV may be enough to raise your cortisol levels.
This article links quite nicely with one from a couple of days ago about the benefits of stress. Brain blogger reports on studies that have looked at the differences between men and women in their stress response.
A study reported in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology placed male and female participants in moderately stressful situations that mimicked everyday stressful situations. Once stress was induced they were then tested to assess their levels of empathy. The tests included recognising emotions and judging the perspective of another’s situation. In all areas tested the mens responses were compromised compared to the women’s response. Their conclusion; that women are much more empathic in stressful situations than men.
What a title I hear you cry! Feeling stressed has benefits? Really??
Alex Strike writing for World of Psychology says that stress need not necessarily be your enemy; you just need to learn how to use it to your advantage. Stress is your bodies natural response to danger; it can help you respond to a crisis, get you out of sticky situations and enable you to tackle deadlines, job interviews and exams. It can also aid you to make sense of your bodies emotions and if you learn to listen to your bodies signals such as a churning stomach, tense neck and shoulders for example you can learn how to manage them. Why not read more by clicking on the link below?
With spring well and truly on its way it’s wonderful to see the blossom on the trees. Even the rapeseed is flowering in some parts of the country now. While this lifts most of our spirits; for allergy sufferers it can be a real challenge with flare ups being much more common at this time of year.
Did you know that if you are stressed it can mean that you may suffer even more allergy flare ups than if you are not? Why not take a look at the findings of this new American study to find out more?