Stress and Lifestyle

By Dr. Michael Roth


Stress – It’s a part of modern life and almost everyone gets stressed at some time or another. We may stress about finances, relationship problems, losing our jobs, or health worries. Short-term stress is ok and normal in situations such as taking exams or going for a job interview. However, long-term stress can take its toll on your health.
Symptoms can include insomnia, lowered resistance to colds, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, anxiety and depression. With severe stress you may also have a loss of appetite and feel nauseous.

Stress can be sneaky. You may become so habituated to stress that you are not aware of it. Your body is amped up all the time and that feels normal to you. You may be under physical or mental stress and only become aware of it when you have an unusually high blood pressure reading!


(Later in this article, I will tell you about a new technology I am offering my patients that gives you a look at the current stress-load on your body!)
So how can you de-stress yourself?
1) Talking to family and friends can often help, yet in cases of severe stress, counseling may be the best option. A stranger is often easier to talk to about sensitive issues than close friends and family who you feel may judge you. Counselors are also professionally trained and know how to help you.


2) Exercise is a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety. A brisk 30-minute walk each day (even if you don’t feel like it) will really make a big difference! Exercise releases endorphins into the body. These natural painkillers also give a feeling of well-being and can help strengthen the immune system.

Flickr photo credit Angelo Benedetto

Flickr photo credit Angelo Benedetto

3) Write down your worries and anxieties. Just the simple process of writing them down on paper can put them into perspective and make them seem less threatening.


4) Meditation can calm the mind and help you to focus. Often when you are stressed you may find it hard to concentrate, as your mind is preoccupied with whatever it is that is making you stressed. Quieting the mind reduces stress and promotes relaxation. You can buy CDs that guide you into a meditative state and help you to relax. Consider also taking up a calming hobby such as painting or playing a musical instrument.
5) Getting enough sleep is essential. If you find yourself working late and not giving yourself time to unwind before you go to bed, you may find that you can’t sleep as your mind is turning over problems in your head. Try cutting back on caffeine and don’t drink caffeinated drinks such as coffee or cola prior to going to bed.


6) Taking a power nap during the day can really help to boost your concentration and also help relieve stress.
My patients here at the Wellness Center are using our new Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology, which gives a snapshot of their current nervous system function. HRV measures the autonomic nervous system, specifically looking at the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. This gives an indication of how much stress their system is experiencing.


The body’s way of coping with stress often results in the autonomic nervous system being out of balance. Stress in the form of poor diet, fear, danger, lack of sleep and overall general stress accumulates over time and can lead to the development of degenerative conditions and premature aging.
The HRV test is neither invasive nor time-consuming. It is available right here at the Wellness Center and is a valuable tool for evaluating the effects stress is having on your health. Call our front office and ask Amber Perrin to schedule your appointment today — 805-644-0461.

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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Published in: on December 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm  Leave a Comment