Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Deep down, you know that dealing with stress and anxiety is important.

Science is now revealing just how vital it is in terms of ensuring your ability to maintain a strong immune system in your efforts to avoid major illness and disease.

In fact, in a recent study at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, Sheldon Cohen has revealed the way in which anxiety and stress hinder the body’s ability to handle inflammation.

cortisol

Better Understanding of Cortisol

In the past, many of us had the simplistic view that as stress increases the cortisol levels in your body, the worse the affect it has on your overall health.

Cohen’s work has shown us how the affect of cortisol levels goes deeper than this. More than how much cortisol is circulating throughout the body, it’s actually the response your body has to its presence that is far more important.

The cells of your body have receptor sites (called glucocorticoid receptors) and it’s these receptors that cortisol molecules attach themselves to. Cohen says that when stress is introduced, your receptors become resistant to cortisol and its “activating” effects.

Since cortisol is responsible for suppressing inflammation, if the glucocorticoid receptors inside your immune system’s cellular structure can’t respond properly to its presence, then your body loses its ability to keep inflammation “in check”.

Going deeper, it’s chronic stress that causes the full spectrum of challenges in terms of disease and illness.

When experiencing constant feelings of anxiety and stress, your body loses its fight against inflammation, leading to all types of physical conditions: stomach pain, asthma, headaches, dizziness, chest pain, high blood pressure, nausea, etc.

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

Now that you know why you want to find ways to cope with your stress, let’s explore how you can go about it:

Exercise is a fantastic way to lower stress levels. Discover the types of activities you enjoy most and then be sure to partake often.

Healthy Diet. Reduce nicotine and caffeine intake, as they place extra stress on your nervous system.  Increase your levels of lean protein, veggies and fruit. Avoid processed foods, as they contain chemicals that can cause higher stress levels in the brain.

Get away and have fun. When you feel your stress levels increasing, you must make it a habit to “get away” in terms of engaging in activities that you enjoy and that make you laugh. Get around loved ones, watch a funny movie, etc.

Become intimately familiar with what “sets off” your anxiety. When you begin to feel stressed, get into the habit of asking yourself what thoughts just led to these feelings. See if you can put those feelings into perspective and see how your worst fears probably won’t (and usually don’t) ever become reality.

Breathing. This is highly effective.

During stressful times, your breathing becomes shallow, leading to even more anxiety as your carbon dioxide and oxygen levels go out of balance.

Breathe in slowly through your nose for 3 or 4 counts, then breathe out slowly through your mouth for 3 or 4 counts. You’ll notice a lessening of your anxious feelings.

Engage in Sound Therapy

Sound therapy is beneficial when dealing with stress and anxiety.

Another way of explaining what we talked about earlier in terms of cortisol levels affecting the cells of your body is that your cells become “out of tune” when you experience stress, anxiety, disease, or illness.

Since sound therapy is highly effective in terms of audibly, as well as physically (through the use of low frequency pulse tones), bringing your cells back into tune, where they’re able to communicate with one another properly, you may want to strongly consider its benefits and using it as a method for coping with your stress.

Combined with the tips above, sound therapy is a viable option for reducing stress, allowing your cellular receptors to properly respond to cortisol, lowering inflammation, and keeping your immune system strong.

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