the impact of chronic stress [research spotlight]

In this culture, it seems like we use busy as a “badge of honor.” But, it turns out that the constant state of busy wreaks havoc on our stress levels which translates to the body as a “constant threat.”

So here is my 3-part challenge to you

[and don’t you worry I’m working on it right alongside you as a student myself]:

  1. Fight [and I do mean fight] every day to pause [even briefly] 3-5 times and just check in. Notice what’s happening around you, maybe jot down something you’re grateful for and breathe. One pause could be in the morning and another in the evening. There’s 2 right there. 3-5 a day makes a world of difference on a deep biological level.
  2. Every time you are asked how you are doing this week I dare you to say “balanced” not busy. You might have to hear yourself say it before you actually feel it. And your response will not only surprise the person who asked you but you might just inspire them to pursue a balanced pause themselves.
  3. And finally each and every day make a list [because we all love lists] of what does not have to happen today. Relish in the margins. And don’t commit just because you have time. Time is your most precious entity. Guard it with fierce commitment.

I believe in you. And trust that even if you pause ONCE and breathe every single day you will notice something, feel something or taste something you might never have otherwise experienced. And it all starts with sloughing off “busy” as your identity.

I know this is unbelievably compelling which is why I compiled the latest greatest research re: the role busy-ness/stress plays on our physiology.

If you love science as much as I do then keep reading to geek out with these 3 “hot off the press” studies showcasing:

  • menopauses’ role in stress [and a powerful antidote to consider]
  • the ultimate antidote to stress [hint- it’s free]
  • the hidden underlying cause of stress [it’s not what you think]

HOT OFF THE PRESS:

  • Eat for an improved mood? It’s no joke! A recent study investigated the impact of antioxidant consumption on the prevalence of depression, stress, and anxiety among postmenopausal women and found that antioxidants play a powerful role in fighting off depression and anxiety symptoms for postmenopausal women without a family history of depression. And while antioxidant consumption did not have an impact on overall stress levels of the studied women, this research validates the importance of including a daily dose of antioxidants with each meal for optimal mood stabilization. Not sure what to eat with lots of antioxidants? Click HERE for a chart of high ORAC foods [a measure of a food’s antioxidant capacity]. Or you could click HERE to jump straight to one of our favorite holiday fruits, pomegranate.
  • Stressed out by how much happens around the holidays? Push the easy button and take a “nature pill.” Recent research reveals just 20-30 minutes of exposure to nature each day correlates to a drop in cortisol levels and contributes to an overall stress reduction. Participants of the study were instructed to just “be” outside [avoid social media, conversations, reading, and technology during their time outside] and simply enjoy a quiet experience. So the next time the gremlins make you feel stressed, escape to the outdoors to take a leisurely stroll or sit in the sunshine with a nice cup of tea [THIS is one of my favorite brands] to relax, recharge, and prepare to tackle your next task head on.
  • Inflammation seems to be at the root of everything. New research studying the causes of depression reveals emotional stressors lead to disrupted protein folding mechanisms in the brain which causes an inflammatory response. This inflammation can trigger depression or worsen symptoms of pre-existing depression, resulting in a somewhat perpetual cycle. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do to lower inflammation through what we eat. Head on over to the BLOG to learn about functional remedies for pain and inflammation or click HERE to find out why we love turmeric.

REFERENCES:

Dietary total antioxidant capacity is inversely associated with depression, anxiety and some oxidative stress biomarkers in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study

Abshirini, M., Siassi, F., Koohdani, F., Qorbani, M., Mozaffari, H., Aslani, Z., … Sotoudeh, G. (2019). Dietary total antioxidant capacity is inversely associated with depression, anxiety and some oxidative stress biomarkers in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study. Annals of General Psychiatry, 18(3), 1–9. doi: 10.1186/s12991-019-0225-7

Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers

Hunter, M. R., Gillespie, B. W., & Chen, S. Y.-P. (2019). Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1–16. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722

Linking unfolded protein response to inflammation and depression: potential pathologic and therapeutic implications

Timberlake, M. I., & Dwivedi, Y. (2018). Linking unfolded protein response to inflammation and depression: potential pathologic and therapeutic implications. Molecular Psychiatry, 24(7), 987–994. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0241-z

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