If Your Stressed, Your Inflamed!

A healthy amount of stress is good for us all – it keeps our bodies, and their function stimulated. It like coal being pressed to become diamonds or when grapes are stressed by hast conditions to produce great wine.

Stress is the body’s natural response to feeling threatened or challenged. The occasional stressful event is not a cause for concern, but many Americans experience a much more recurring and overpowering sense of chronic stress. During times of increased stress, cortisol and adrenaline are released from your adrenal glands. Chronically high cortisol is very damaging by causing inflammation throughout the body. It leads to higher incidence of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and many more. Increase inflammation can worsen existing medical conditions such as depression, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. It can also lead to poor sleep quality and weight gain.

For a long time, it was unknown just how stress induces disease or worsening disease; however, in June 2017, a review was published by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that officially confirmed that inflammation is actually a common pathway of stress-related disease.

Researchers found that chronic stress changes gene activity of immune cells before they enter the bloodstream so that they’re ready to fight infection or trauma, even when there is no infection or trauma to fight. This then leads to increased inflammation.

So, in a nutshell, if don’t manage our stress, we will continue to cause inflammation in the body and be unable to manage existing diseases properly. The following includes some chronic conditions directly linked to stress:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Depression

Alka Gupta, MD, co-director of integrative health at the Brain and Spine Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, has weighed in on these findings, saying, “There’s no one simple answer. We do know, though, that when we teach people how to reduce stress in whatever form — stress management tips, classes, health coaching, yoga, deep breathing — we see decreases in some of these inflammatory side effects.”

So, we need to manage stress and decrease inflammation. There’s a lot of ways to manage stress, but which ways are the best ways that are also healthy and don’t come with potential long-term side effects (i.e., smoking, drinking)?

A study published in 2016 by Psychoneuroendocrinology found that participants who meditated regularly had lower cortisol levels, which were measured following a stress test. They also had a less-pronounced inflammatory response in their bodies. Similar results were found with participants who engaged in yoga, another relaxing and stress-relieving activity. While these methods may not work for everyone, Gupta notes that we have to be patient when experimenting with stress relief methods, as it won’t work overnight.

So if you love practicing meditation and you know you can feel the benefits. Here is some of the science behind meditation and how it effects brain states, stress and inflammation.

We’ve all experience highway hypnosis, your mind checks out and your body operates on autopilot. Your body goes through the motions of getting you to work without taxing the brain, all of which sounds beneficial, perhaps even useful, but only up to a point. Here is the problem: You do not remember much about that commute because your default mode network (DMN) kicked in, you may start with daydreaming, but then you start to ruminate over what happened the day before and may happen in the future. You maybe become anxious about past situation or upcoming event. The DMN just hijacked your brain and put you into a state of stress or even depression. People ruminate about their regrets, failures, shame, and anger. Relaxation techniques, mindfulness, meditation, and even deep breathing can quiet the DMN and lessen it’s effect on your brain. In research studies, the power of meditation quiets the DMN and boosts well-being through decreased inflammation and stress.

It has to be a regular practice.

Other great ways to practice healthy stress relief include journaling, going for a walk, talking to a friend, and breathing in lavender, It offers calming and soothing properties that can help reduce stress. Lavender essential oil is one of the most studied essential oils in terms of its relaxation effects.

Also, taking the right vitamins and mineral is key to reducing stress. Magnesium glycinate is one of the best magnesium supplements, because it’s easily absorbed. Plus, it’s relaxing, good for leaky gut, and nerve pain. This is one of the best magnesium supplements for those with a deficiency or anyone who simply wants to boost levels due to stress. I have given you a link to get discounted, high quality basic daily vitamins and minerals, please click the link for the dispensary.