Stress Defined • STRESS is the body’s response to the demands of daily living. • STRESSORS are the causes of stress. A STRESSOR is a demand that causes changes in the body which can be Physical, Mental or Social.
Examples of STRESSORS • Physical • Mental (Cognitive and Emotional) – • Major life changes, School, Relationship difficulties, Financial problems, Being too busy, Inability to accept change, pessimism • Social - “…the majority of stress stimuli in humans that lead to psychopathology are of social nature…” -Buwalda et al. • Relationships, social acceptance
The Body’s Response to Stress • The stress response is meant temporarily to improve your chances of surviving a physical threat to your safety (i.e., outrunning a predator), but becomes dangerous to your health if activated for prolonged periods of time.
The Body’s Response to Stress: Cortisol • Cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation. Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food, and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.
The Body’s Response to Stress: Cortisol • Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects: • A quick burst of energy for survival reasons • Heightened memory functions • A burst of increased immunity • Lower sensitivity to pain • Helps maintain homeostasis in the body • Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as: • Impaired cognitive performance • Suppressed thyroid function • Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia • Decreased bone density
The Body’s Response to Stress: Cortisol • Decrease in muscle tissue • Higher blood pressure • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences • Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!
The Body’s Response to Stress: Adrenaline • “Fight or Flight” • “Tend or Befriend” – Maternal Instinct
Stress is inevitable; how we react to it is a major component to our overall health.
Stress management • The good news is that you can learn ways to manage stress. To get stress under control: • Find out what is causing stress in your life. • Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life. • Learn healthy ways to relieve stress or reduce its harmful effects.
Ten Commandments of Managing Stress • Thou Shalt Organize Thyself: • Take better control of the way you are spending your time and energy so you can handle stress more effectively. • Thou Shalt Control Thy Environment. • Control who and what is surrounding you. In this way, you can either get rid of excess stress or get support for yourself. • Thou Shalt Love Thyself • Give yourself positive feedback. Remember you are a unique individual who is doing the best you can.
Ten Commandments of Managing Stress • Thou Shalt Reward Thyself • Plan leisure activities into your life. It really helps to have something to look forward to in life. • Thou Shalt Exercise Thy Body • Your health and productivity depend on your body’s ability to bring oxygen and food to the cells. Exercise your heart and lungs regularly, a minimum of three days per week for 15-30 minutes. • Thou Shalt Relax Thyself • Take your mind off of your stress. Concentrate on your breathing and think positive thoughts.
Ten Commandments of Managing Stress • Thou Shalt Rest Thyself • Sleep 7-8 hours consecutively each night. Take study breaks. There is only so much that your mind can absorb at one time. It needs time to process the information and integrate this information. A general rule: take a 10-minute study break for every 1-hour of studying. Rest your eyes as well as your mind! • Thou Shalt be Aware of Thyself • Be aware of distress signals, such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, lack of concentration, and excessive tiredness.
Ten Commandments of Managing Stress • Thou Shalt Feed Thyself/ Thou Shalt Not Poison Thy Body • Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie foods that are high in fats and sugar. Don’t use drugs or alcohol. Caffeine will keep you awake but it will also make it harder to concentrate. • Thou Shalt Enjoy Thyself • Happier people do better in life. Enjoy your uniqueness. Treat yourself well.
Managing Stress Food For Strength
Vitamins and Minerals • Vitamin C – Increased immune function • Vitamins A and D – Support Nerve cell strength • Vitamin E – “anti-heart attack vitamin” • Vitamin B Complex – prevent fatigue, increase stamina, protects from toxicity • Of all the vitamins, the B Complex is most effective in helping you eliminate stress • Calcium and Phosphorus – Ca regulates your heart, helps blood clot normally, speeds up healing. P works with Ca to help with mental clarity and overall nerve strength • Magnesium – Needed to absorb Ca. Natural tranquilizer deficiency causes nervous irritability and depression • Iron – Improves quality of blood • Copper – Needed to absorb Iron
The Eight Anti-Stress Foods • Bananas – Contains Vitamins A, most B, and C, Iron, Ca, K, Cu, and Mg (the peel is the most nutritious so scrape the inside for full effect) • Almonds – All B complex, Cu, Fe, Ph, Ca, K, protein (no skin is better) • Raisins – Fe, Ca, Mg, Ph, K, Cu, B1 and B6 • Broccoli and Spinach – A, C, B Complex, K, Ca, Mg, Fe and Cu. As fresh as possible
The Eight Anti-Stress Foods • Wheat Germ – Contains 70% of the value of wheat; B complex, E, Fe, Ph, Mg, Cu and K. • Sunflower Seeds – Vitamins E and B. Best without shell, salt and not toasted • Milk and Honey – Ca, warm milk relaxes stomach, Ph, K, B1 and B12
Survival Cookies • 2 cups butter • 1 ½ cups brown sugar • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar • 3 eggs • 1 Tbsp vanilla • 2 ½ All purpose flour • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda • ½ tsp salt • 3 ¾ cups large flake oats • ¾ flax seeds • 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds • 1 ½ cups pumpkin seeds • 2 ½ cups raisins • ½ cup wheat germ • ½ cup coconut
Survival Cookies • In food processor or Large bowl, cream butter with sugars until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla • In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. By hand, stir in remaining ingredients. • Using ¼ cup batter for each cookie, place on parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 in. apart. Refrigerate at least an hour. • Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 15 min or until crisp but still chewy. Cool on racks. Store in airtight container.
Relaxation Tips • Practice every day. Aim at being able to relax anytime, anywhere. • Possibly try relaxation tapes. • Free yourself of distractions: unplug your phone, turn off TV, find a quiet place. • Imagery works well for some people. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place while imagining the tension leaving your body. • Meditation and yoga are excellent techniques. • Treat yourself to a massage. • Find out what works for you. • A walk, more vigorous exercise • Visiting with friends or spending time alone • Spending time with pets • The technique is not important, what is important is what works for you and that you do it.