Change how stress impacts your life!
Join the expert in resilience, stress management, addiction, neurofeedback, and longevity, Dr. Stephen Sideroff, as he breaks down common causes of stress, its impact on longevity, and actionable steps you can take to manage it.
Listen now and start de-stressing your life today!
Stress is any demand on us to respond, react, or make an adjustment to what’s going on in our lives. A promotion at work, having a baby, and getting married are all positive stresses, which makes things a little more complicated because you can’t really escape stress, nor do you always want to. However, there are many health benefits to learning to better manage it.
Stress can cause autonomic dysregulation, which turns on the sympathetic branch of the nervous system without later going into parasympathetic recovery. This can trigger a whole cascade of health issues such as GI, neurological, and other problems.
Maybe your body feels uncomfortable in certain ways, a vibration in your chest, or an upset stomach. Perhaps you’re experiencing GI problems, headaches, physical tension, overreacting in situations, and sudden weight gain that isn’t associated with a hormonal change. Things you used to enjoy don’t bring you the same level of enjoyment. Maybe you’re distracted. All of these are indications of stress.
Thousands of studies show the impact of stress on physical health as well as mental and emotional wellbeing, whether it’s impacting cortisol levels, inflammation, or the functioning of the brain. We also know stress shortens our telomeres, which are an important measure of how well, fast, or slow we’re aging.
Managing stress is a foundational behavior that alters the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, digest food, remove toxins, be in balance, sleep properly, detox, and repair. Putting more pressure on ourselves increases our stress, so it’s crucial to come into it with the perspective that you’re doing your best. A lot of our stress comes from judgments and fear, often that we won’t meet our own or someone else’s expectations.
Control is another important variable in terms of how well we deal with stress. The more you feel a sense of control, the better you handle stress. The less agency and control you have over your life or job, the more at risk you are of chronic diseases, bad outcomes, and overall unwellness as a result of stress.
We’ve all learned habitual patterns from our childhood that don’t serve us anymore. But that doesn’t mean we can get rid of stress in general. The first step to regaining control in out-of-control situations is to reframe our mindset to better respond.
The goal when you’re dealing with stress is to be able to adapt. When you challenge yourself within your possibilities, it may result in some stress, but it’s manageable. This is often considered a positive stress. But when we pile too many stresses on top of each other, we go beyond the limits of the body’s healthy response.
Consciously engaging in certain stresses can also challenge the brain, which improves your ability to make future adaptations. So it’s not about eliminating all stress, which is impossible. It’s about learning to better adapt and manage the stress you encounter day to day.
Listen now and bring balance back to live a long and healthy life!
Dr. Sideroff is an internationally recognized psychologist, executive and medical consultant and expert in resilience, stress management, addiction, neurofeedback, and longevity. He’s also an Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Rheumatology at Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.
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