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Tag: Stress

Stress Kills

Healthy Fitness Revolution wrote this article to explain why it is important to remain positive.  Everyone gets stressed out and overwhelmed at times, but we all need to remember to take a step back, relax, and stay healthy!  Whether it’s work, finances, children, family or not enough time- we all need reminders on why it’s important to keep stress at bay.

 

Not only is stress the #1 indirect killer in the US today, but it is also a large reason behind those stubborn pounds you have been trying to lose for years.

The science behind this statement lies in the hormone cortisol.  When stress becomes chronic and prolonged, the brain activates and triggers your adrenal glands to release cortisol- which is normally released in specific rhythm throughout your day.  It is usually high in the morning to get you going, and tapers off in the late afternoon to get you sleepy for bedtime.

 

Now the issue lies when you get stressed and increase your absolute cortisol levels, which in turn disrupts the natural cortisol rhythm.  It is this broken cortisol cycle that wreaks havoc on your body and weight.

  • it raises your blood sugar (which can lead to diabetes)
  • make it harder for glucose to enter your cells
  • reduced DHEA, testosterone, growth hormone and TSH level
  • makes you hungry and crave sugar
  • makes your cells less sensitive to insulin
  • causes hormone imbalances
  • reduces your ability to burn fat
  • increases belly fat and fat in liver
  • increases the rate at which you store fat
  • raises the level of fatty acids and triglycerides in your body

While exercise is a powerful tool in reducing a lot of chronic stress, it is also very important for you to put less pressure on yourselves and take things in stride.

 

We want everyone to take some enjoyment for working out, and use these tools for the empowerment and betterment of yourselves.

 

So even if remembering all our tips and the new exercises seem daunting at first.  Please do not stress or panic. Taken one step at a time, they will become easier and second nature with time and patience.

 

Today, do something you love and treat yourself, because every ounce of stress you let go of, you’re becoming healthier- and thinner!

 

Job stress may raise our ‘bad cholesterol’ levels

 

“Bad” LDL cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease

‘A stressful job really can kill you – by raising your cholesterol,’ reports the Mail Online website. This headline is based on Spanish research that looked at the relationship between job stress and lipid (fat) levels in the blood of more than 90,000 people.

 

The research found that people who reported difficulties coping with their job had higher levels of what has been dubbed “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) and lower levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL cholesterol). High levels of LDL cholesterol can clog up the arteries, increasing an individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such ascoronary heart disease.

 

A significant strength of this study is its size – an impressive 90,000 people participated. But the study did not look at diet, which can also affect cholesterol levels. It could well be the case that people in stressful jobs tend to have unhealthy diets and it is this, rather than stress itself, that is to blame for their higher “bad” cholesterol rates.

 

While increased LDL levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, this study did not explore the effect this would have on people’s long-term health. The Mail Online’s claim that a stressful job will kill you is therefore not supported by this study.

 

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Ibermutuamur – a mutual insurance company dealing with work-related accidents and occupational illnesses – and two universities in Spain. There were no external sources of funding for the study.

 

It was published in the peer-reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

 

The Mail Online’s headline over-interprets the research, as the study did not assess whether people in stressful jobs were more likely to die. The body of the story was reasonably accurate, but it did not highlight that this type of study cannot prove that one factor is definitely causing another.

 

What kind of research was this?

This was a cross-sectional study that explored whether there is a link between job stress and abnormal levels of fats (lipids) in the blood.

 

Some studies have found a link between job stress and an increased risk of coronary disease. There are various theories about how this link might come about – for example, by stress increasing the likelihood of unhealthy habits such as smoking.

 

Some studies have also suggested that stress could directly influence levels of lipids in the blood by possibly adversely affecting the body’s metabolism. However, these studies have been small and in selected populations, and have had mixed results.

 

In the current study, researchers wanted to assess stress and lipid levels in a large representative sample of workers. As this study is cross-sectional, both stress and lipid levels were assessed at the same time. This means the study cannot establish whether participants‘ lipid levels were directly influenced by their stress levels.

 

What did the research involve?

The study involved workers covered by the Ibermutuamur insurance company who had yearly medical check-ups. More than 430,000 participants were recruited between 2005 and 2007, and a study questionnaire was sent out to more than 100,000 randomly selected individuals. Completed questionnaires were returned by 91,593 of these people.

 

The questionnaire included the question, “During the last year, have you frequently felt that you cannot cope with your usual job?”. Participants who answered “yes” were considered to have job stress.

 

The questionnaire also included 11 questions relating to anxiety and depression symptoms, such as “Have you felt keyed up, on edge?” and “Have you had difficulty relaxing?”.

 

The researchers took fasting blood samples from participants and measured levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (so-called “good” cholesterol), and levels of a type of lipid called triglycerides. The levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol were calculated based on these measurements.

 

Participantswere classed as having abnormal lipid levels based on pre-specified levels if they reported taking lipid-lowering medication or had been diagnosed as having abnormal lipid levels.

 

The researchers then looked at whether abnormal lipid levels are linked to job stress. They took into account the followingconfounders:

  • age
  • gender
  • smoking
  • basic measures of alcohol consumption and physical leisure activity
  • obesity
  • type of job (“blue collar” or “white collar”)

 

What were the basic results?

Job stress was reported by 8.7% of participants. Participants reporting job stress also had higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.

 

After the researchers took into account factors that could affect the results and adjusted them accordingly, people who reported job stress were found to have 10% higher odds of having abnormal lipid levels (odds ratio [OR] 1.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04 to 1.17).

 

They also had increased odds of:

  • high levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
  • low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • a high total cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio
  • a high “bad” cholesterol to “good” cholesterol ratio

How did the researchers interpret the results?

 

The researchers concluded that their results support an association between job stress and abnormal lipid levels in the blood. The best weight loss supplement is Keto Lean Force

 

Conclusion

This study has found an association between job stress and abnormal lipid levels in the blood. Its strengths include the large number of workers assessed (more than 40,000) and the use of the same methods to assess all of the participants.

 

However, the fact that both job stress and lipid levels were assessed at the same time means it is not possible to say for certain whether job stress might have directly caused changes in blood lipid levels.

 

There are also other limitations and points to note:

  • The study did not assess diet. People with job stress may have less healthy diets, which could account for the differences seen in the blood lipid levels, rather than these differences being a direct impact of job stress.
  • Jobstress was assessed by a single question, which may not fully capture all aspects of job stress. Also, different people may consider different things stressful, and the question did not disentangle the exact stressful workplace situations and an individual’s ability to cope with them.
  • Workers who were off sick would not have had the routine medical check-up. This means the sample may have missed some people with more serious health problems with stress.
  • The authors acknowledge that the effect of job stress seen is relatively small – a 10% increase in the odds of having abnormal lipid levels.

 

Overall, it is not clear from this study whether stress is a direct cause of the increased lipid levels seen. Studies looking at whether interventions to reduce work stress can reduce lipid levels in the blood would provide an indication if this is in fact the case.

Despite these limitations, there is a wide range of good quality evidence that workplace stress can have a harmful effect on your physical and mental health.

While some people may thrive on pressure, persistent high levels of stress are likely to be harmful.

Read more about what you can do to reduce your levels of workplace stress.

 

Analysis by Bazian. Edited by NHS Choices.

Ten Stress Busters

What’s making you stressed?

If you’re stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. Then you can use stress busters to eliminate it.

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”

He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook.

 

 

What you can do

 

These are Professor Cooper’s top 10 stress-busting techniques:

 

Be active

If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. “To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,” says Cooper.

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.

 

Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time.

 

Connect with people

A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.

 

Have some ‘me time’

The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. “We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime on those days,” he says.

 

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress.

“By constantly challenging yourself you’re being proactive and taking charge of your life,” says Professor Cooper. “By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”

 

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”

 

Do volunteer work

Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteeringor community work, become more resilient. Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”

On a more basic level, do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favours cost nothing to do, and you’ll feel better.

 

Work smarter, not harder

Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our long-hours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. “You have to get a work-life balance that suits you,” says Professor Cooper.

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

 

Be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you’re grateful.

“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.

This requires a shift in perspective for those who are more naturally pessimistic.

“It can be done,” he says. “By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.”

 

Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.

“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper. “There’s no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.” Get some stress busters.

10 Tips to Stress Less This Week

It’s Monday morning, and while a productive workweek is ahead of us, we could all use some simple tips to stress a little less this coming week.  Here are Health Fitness Revolution’s 10 Tips to Stress Less:

  • Run it out or walk it out: The endorphins that get released during a workout are the best stress busters!
  • Turn on the music and dance: Sometimes, we just need to take life with a bit more fun, and turning on the music and dancing takes us away from our daily routine and stressors.  Plus, if you’re dancing fast, you’re getting a workout in too!
  • Breathe:  Breathing, taking a step back, and composing ourselves makes us more calm and more able to tackle the though stuff.
  • Talk about It:  Sometimes, we all just need to let it out and vent or talk to a friend.  If it’s too difficult to talk to a friend, there are professionals that will listen and give impartial advice.
  • Go to Bed Earlier:  Sleeping is important in our hectic lives because it allows our bodies have a chance to recharge and more adequately deal with the daily demands of life.
  • Focus on what you CAN control: There is a lot of things that we all stress about that we can’t control- so it’s important to take a step back and realize this and focus on the things we CAN control and let the rest go!
  • Think back to good times: Nothing calms the brains like closing your eyes and thinking back to good times.  It’s a temporary, quick break from reality, that is sure to boost our moods and lessen our stress.
  • Ask for a Hug:  Human affection has been proven to release feel-good hormones in the brain.  So next time you need a hug, ask for it!
  • Look for Opportunities in Life’s Challenges:  Life is perpetually filled with obstacles and difficulties, but it’s making it through them that makes us stronger and more resilient- so view the positive side to tough times.
  • Smile: Sometimes, forcing a smile is just a what the doctor ordered- because soon, it becomes a real smile!

 

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Fight Holiday Stress With These Foods

For many people, the holidays are often synonymous with stress — especially if you are hosting a social gathering at home. There’s just so much to be done before family and friends come to town. Fortunately, certain foods can help manage the stress of the holidays. Here are seven picks to try to incorporate into your diet.

1. Oatmeal: A bowl of warm oatmeal can boost levels of serotonin, the hormone that helps you relax.

2. Blueberries: This little fruit provides an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps relieve stress. They’re also delicious!

3. Grains: Whole grains have several benefits to help reduce stress. The grains provide fiber and a steady supply of serotonin. Whole grains are also rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral to help combat anxiety.

4. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but they are also a good source of  glutathione, which protects the body from free radicals and helps protect your immune system.

5. Fatty fish: Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 acids, a nutrient that has been shown to help prevent surges in stress hormones and protect the heart against disease and depression.

6. Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which helps regulate cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, if we do not consume adequate amounts of magnesium in our diet, it not only causes anxiety but it can also trigger headaches and fatigue.

7. Herbal teas: Instead of drinking coffee or a soda to calm you down, try an herbal tea. They are naturally caffeine free, and many of them carry a calming component.

Information gathered from Fox News.