Mindle's HealthQuest

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So much emphasis is put on the eating and exercise components of health and healthy weight that we can sometimes forget the coping component. One of the things I like about this site is how well-rounded its approach is.

I took a two-day class on stress management in the workplace last week and one of the things it covered was the body's reactions to stress, both "fight-or-flight" and "vigilance" reactions. Some of the first type were things I did not know about, most notably how the body floods the bloodstream with fat and sugar for energy to run, raises the blood pressure, suppresses digestion, and increases blood-clotting ability. None of these are particularly good for the body in the long-term, and some can be downright dangerous for people with diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

But the stress that, at least for me with my lifestyle, is more common is vigilance. During these times, the body produces the hormone cortisol, which increases cholesterol, lowers the immune system, and increases body fat storage, particularly around the abdomen.

Some stress is good, helping you to be at and do your best. But too much can be overwhelming (duh!).

And since stress is cumulative, you can do things to chip away at your stress levels, kind of like in a video game where you have energy levels that go up or down, depending on your experiences and activities. There is a wide range of things you can do, from sitting down and examining whether you have control over the situation and planning what to do, to the simple act of laughing.

People don't always respond to every relaxation technique. For instance, once let loose, my imagination and brain in general go loco during visualization tapes and meditation. But during an autogenic tape (where the speaker just tells you in sequence to tense certain groups of muscles and then release them), my mind quiets down and obeys, and I am much more relaxed when finished.

So I'm going back and giving my coping strategies here on diet.com another look, doing what I can to de-stress, now that I know how it will also help my health.

And I can't wait for my Amazon.com order with my autogenics cd to arrive!

@ 12:04pm ET on May 2, 2007
A lot of people don't realize how bad stress is for their body. I have recently been under a lot of work related stress and it zapped all of my energy and will power. You have got to make time for yourself and let go of the stress from time to time, otherwise, you end up very sad, sick, and sometimes worse. Thanks for the great information about what stress really does to the body!

@ 3:54pm ET on May 2, 2007
You are most welcome! I can definitely see the toll stress has taken on my body. I'm glad I could pass on some of the things I learned in that class!

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