Natural Stress Relief Techniques Help Prevent Premature Aging

One of the most insidious things about stress is that, in addition to everything else, it also seriously accelerates the aging process.

In part, this is because when the body is stressed it increases the production of the hormone cortisol (also known as hydrocortisone). Excessive cortisol can, among other things,

* Increase blood pressure
* Weaken the immune system
* stimulate gastric acid secretion
* stimulate loss of collagen from the skin

Emerging science is suggesting that, if left untreated over time, stress will contribute to more wrinkles, graying of the hair and blemishes on the skin. A study done at the University of California, San Francisco in 2001 found that when cells were exposed to constant stress they aged more quickly. Such cellular aging causes the skin to lose elasticity which leads to the outer layer of the skin sagging and wrinkling.

So it would seem pretty obvious that reducing cortisol levels by reducing stress levels is something we should all try to do.

Help in controlling stress and help for anxiety is something that many of us would certainly like to do but it is a very difficult process. The more traditional methods of relieving, or controlling, stress and anxiety include:

* Dietary supplement of Omega 3 fatty acids
* Music Therapy
* Massage Therapy
* Laughter and experiencing humor
* Vitamin C
* Reducing your caffeine intake

There is an additional form of stress reducer that has proven to be very effective when administered by a mental professional and that is bio-feedback therapy. Basically, bio-feedback stress training teaches how to pay attention to stress symptoms such as heart rate and breathing and learn to control them by a mental process.

Up to now, bio-feedback stress training has been taught in clinical settings but the company HeartMath has developed a suite of programs that teach each individual how to control the stress in their lives by means of an inexpensive, portable device that provides the user with the visual cues required.

Should this training on how to control stress be of interest to you, go to Control and read further on how the HeartMath emwave personal stress reliever can help you.

Stress Relief Techniques You Probably Need

Would you like some effective stress relief techniques?

It is true that unresolved stress appreciably impacts on your entire body can have a dramatic effect on your physical and emotional well-being.

But you already knew that.

The truth is that no one likes stress or is even particularly well suited to living with it. Although there are some who do tolerate high levels of stress better than others, most of us have a very hard time.

If you are one who has difficulty with stress and haven’t yet found a reasonable way to deal with a the stress levels in your life here are a few stress relief techniques you can use that have worked for others and may work for you as well. But before reading further, keep in mind that how you react to stress and how you deal with it is a personal choice. It is possible to learn to react much differently to stress than you probably do now. What it takes is a desire to learn and the will to do so.

Here are some very good stress relief techniques that may well help you learn to diffuse your stress levels in a positive way.

Stress Relief Techniques

* Filter your information. Today, it is very difficult not to be overwhelmed with the vast amounts of information, both necessary and ridiculous, that come our way each waking hour. Frequently this overload creates a sense of not being able to keep up and increases both frustration and stress. Learn to turn off the information flow for a period of time each day. Listen to your favorite music instead. You will be surprised how much better you feel.
* Interact only with positive people. Stress and frustration are communicable diseases. If you are around people who are stressed and frustrated you will be too. Of course, it isn’t always possible to pick and choose who and how we will interact in the workplace but try to counter act the negativity and stress with other relationships that are positive. This can be anyone who responds with a smile and makes you feel just a little bit better about things.
* Put some money aside for an emergency. It really doesn’t even matter how much you put away. What matters is the act of taking charge and being responsible for your own life. Not surprisingly, financial concerns are one of the leading causes of stress and worry. But the simple act of putting away even $20 a week, or whatever you can, in a different account is very empowering. Try it and see.
* Watch your diet. The fuel you put in has a marked effect on how you feel and how you feel has a direct effect on how well, or poorly, you are able to handle and react to stress. Eat more fruit and vegetables and fewer carbohydrates and processed sugar. Get some exercise, even if it’s just parking at the rear of the parking lot or taking the stairs. Talk with your doctor and come up with a sensible diet and exercise plan you will stick with. The point here is not to lose weight, although you probably will, it’s about keeping the bodies systems in good working in order. Proper diet and exercise will do wonders in your ability to deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life.
* Develop other interests. Find a hobby that interests you and, if necessary, schedule time for it. No, watching television doesn’t count. And neither does aimlessly surfing the internet. To be an effective stress relief technique, a hobby must engage you mentally and provide a respite from thinking about your other responsibilities and challenges. Some advocate getting a pet but I don’t. While pets like dogs and cats are a great diversion, they also have their own real needs that must be taken care of regardless of your schedule. Do you really need more responsibilities?

Remember that how you deal with stress is really up to you. If you want to, you can learn to adjust your reaction to stress so it is not the dreaded beast in your life that it is now. If put into practice, these stress relief techniques will work to relieve your stress. But, in the end, it is how you chose to react to stressful situations that will decide how stressed, or not, you really are.

Anger and Heart Disease

A new medical study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association strongly suggests that our personality type and how well we are able to control our anger may well have implications for our risk of stroke and other heart related ailments.This new research was carried out by researchers with the NIA (National Institute on Aging). Their research discovered that angry and aggressive individuals had carotid arteries that were thicker than these same arteries in people who were not as aggressive and were more easygoing. The thickness of the carotid arteries is an important indicator of elevated risk of stroke or heart attack. In other words, there seems to be a direct link between anger and heart disease.

Likewise, the folks that were considered to have the most antagonistic and least agreeable personalities were 40 percent more likely to experience thickening of arterial walls than their more pleasant and easy going peers. This very large risk factor indicates that doctors may need start considering their patient’s personality type when it comes to cardiovascular ailments. The AHA says that Americans suffer more than one million heart attacks and about 800,000 strokes annually. In total, heart diseases of all types are responsible for about a third of all deaths annually.

In a recent WebMD article author Katrina Woznicki quotes the NIA researcher report: “when the Type A behavioral pattern was dissected into its constituent parts, hostility emerged as the dominant predictor of coronary artery disease.” These findings make it clear that there is a link between anger and heart disease and we all should work on maintaining an equitable outlook on life

For the study itself, the town of Sardinia in Italy was chosen. The study included 5,600 residents, 3,250 women and 2,350 men. The average age of all participants was about 42 years. The study used ultrasound images to precisely measure both the artery and the artery wall thickness at five different points. The study also screened for additional heart disease risks such as smoking, blood pressure, triglyceride levels and diabetes

The results of this study revealed that even the youngest participants with combative personalities had thicker arterial walls than would be indicated by the other risk factors alone. The men in the study had thicker arterial walls than did the women in the study. But, the women who had the most antagonism related personality traits displayed wall thickening very close to men. It would seem that the link between anger and heart disease does not play favorites between men and women.

In the end, the findings of this study reinforce the linkage between anger and heart disease and that many people need to learn to relax more and find effective ways of controlling their anger and stress.