STRESS- YOUR ALLY OR FOE?- IS DETERMINED BY YOU!

“IT’S NOT THE LOAD THAT BREAKS YOU DOWN,IT’S THE WAY YOU CARRY IT”-LOU HALTZ

Have you ever wondered how stress could work both as an agonist and as an antagonist? Stress could be your – ally or foe. It depends on your – lifestyle, attitude, mindset, choices, robustness, perception, management of psychic abilities and art of handling emotions. Either you handle your stress or your stress will handle you!

Stress has always an important role in our survival.Stress is not a disease that we should be afraid of. We are evolved out of stress. It’s our reaction to external pressure and a condition we experience in our daily life tensions. It is simply the body’s response to the changes that create taxing demands.

We often use the term “Stress” to describe negative situations, this leads to believe people that all stress is bad. It’s not true. Stress is good in short-term and harmful in long term. We need some amount of stress to grow and thrive! Stress is everywhere. You may notice stress while dealing with your kids, boss, office colleagues, spouse, managing your finances….. And while some stress is ok, too much stress can wear you down and make you sick mentally, physically and spiritually.

The first step to control stress is to realize that you are stressed. We become habituated of being in stress and don’t realize until the boiling point!

What is stress?

Stress is body reaction to harmful situations-whether they are real or perceived. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent danger. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response. During stress response, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. You’ve gotten ready to act. It is how you protect yourself.

GOOD STRESS AND BAD STRESS:

Good stress is known as –EUSTRESS, whereas bad stress, is known as – DISTRESS. One more type of stress is – OXIDATIVE STRESS.
Eu-stress-The term was coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye, consisting of the Greek prefix EU- meaning “good/healthy”, and stress, literally meaning “good stress”.Eustress means beneficial or adaptive stress – either physiological, psychological, spiritual or emotional-having a good effect on your health, motivation, performance and emotional well being. Stress is healthful and the stimulus for growth. During positive stress, a feel-good hormone – ENDORPHINS (endogenous morphine- body’s self-produced painkillers), are released.
Distress– on the other hand, Distress is negative, harmful stimuli that make you weaker, less able, anxious, panic and less confident and in extreme result in depression. It occurs when something is difficult for an individual to cope with. Distress causes tension to build in body and mind and the situations seem daunting. Distress leads to poor decisions making skills. Physiological symptoms include -High blood pressure, heart problem, Type 2 diabetes, Thyroid problem, Headaches. Behavioural symptoms include- emotional eating, smoking, drinking, and avoiding the task at hand, negative coping skills.
Oxidative stress – Environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle choices influence oxidative stress in humans. An elevated oxidative stress is a contributing factor to many chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, an autoimmune disorder, cancer, diabetes, thyroid problem and the list goes on. It is a state of your body in which excess of free radicals is present. A free radical, is a molecule in an unstable state, with a missing electron. To gain the stability it takes an electron from a nearby molecule. It can happen in any part of the cellular structure. Now the second molecule is unstable and in turn, it needs to gain its stability by taking an electron from another molecule. Now, a dominal effect of electron stealing begins! This process leads to the cellular destructions. Free radicals are the by-product of the metabolic process. The problem comes from the excess of free radicals produced which leads to oxidative stress.

Stressors that cause common stress:

  • Too fast change of our environment that our genes can’t adopt.
  • Unemployment
  • Educational stress on students.
  • Workplace-Having too much responsibility and heavy workload, long working hours.
  • The death of loved ones
  • Divorce
  • Traumatic events
  • Toxic environment
  • Toxic relationship
  • Conflict with co-workers and family members
  • Financial problems
  • Fears

Factors that cause oxidative/chronic stress:

  • Poor dietary habits and lifestyle.
  • Eating refined carb, sugar and fried foods
  • Dairy products and poultry
  • Imbalance of omega -3 and omega- 6
  • Carbonated water
  • Drinking and smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Air pollutants
  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Stress-emotional and physical
  • Excessive exercise
  • Some medications
  • Radiations/UV light

Today’s irony is that when no tiger is chasing us then also we are most of the time in – fight and flight mode, even in our sleep. We are stuck on sympathetic dominance. A proper balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic is the key to the good health!

The sympathetic nervous system is related to activities that require your mental or physical alertness such as work and exercise. The parasympathetic is related to more relaxing activities such as sleeping, eating, meditation, nature walks, Listening music etc.

We never have only one system working because both are necessary in order for the body to function.
Sympathetic is – fight and flight mode that prepares our bodies for action.
Parasympathetic is-rest and digest mode that produces a state of equilibrium in the body.

Fight and flight mode are not good for your health in long duration. It releases stress hormone- “Cortisol “which is a toll on your body. Cortisol produces free radicals which result in oxidative stress. Overproduction of free radicals can cause oxidative damage to biomolecules, (lipids, proteins, DNA), eventually leading to many chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetics, rheumatoid arthritis, post-ischemic perfusion injury, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammation, stroke …

Common effects of stress:

Indeed stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings and your behaviour.Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many chronic health problems. Common effects of stress-

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Anxiety, anger, depression and restlessness
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

Effect of chronic stress/oxidative stress on your body:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetic
  • Cardiovascular problem
  • Thyroid problem
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Obesity
  • Trigger depression
  • Gastrointestinal problem
  • Ruins your sleep
  • Wreak havoc on your hormones.
  • Asthma
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as –Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer
  • Fast ageing

Stress detoxification pathway:

When you get stressed, you get physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. Nobody wants too much stress in their life. Don’t let it dominate or overpower you. Let stress work as an agonist, not as an antagonist. Unlock your potential to handle your stress skillfully, otherwise, it will fill you with negative energies and promote a sense of failure, which can be devastating!

However, there are plenty of things successful people can do to counter a burnout and keep moving forward in life.

Act to manage common stress:

  • Regular physical activity and work out. Exercises are to stimulate you and keep you active throughout the day. It boosts your happiness level and strengthens your immune system.
  • Relaxation technique, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, getting a massage, listening music, meditative walk/forest bathing, gardening etc.
  • Learn to Relax, Breathe and Take it easy. Simplify your life by doing less rather than more.Problem is that we are trying to do more and more things in less and less time and pay price in term of quality. Focus on quality of work rather than quantity.
  • Get involve in creativity
  • Set aside time for hobbies.
  • Socialize with family and friends.
  • Keep a sense of humour.
  • Make sleep a top priority.
  • Say” NO “more often. It will help you to focus on the most important project that matters to you.
  • Unplug yourself from the technology. Decide a specific time to check your messages/emails. Don’t keep your gadgets all the time with you. Kill your darlings. Though technology has made our lives easier in a lot of ways, it can also increase the amount of stress people feel on a daily basis. Constantly checking your messages causes your brain to be overstimulated, leaving you hypoxic.Keep few hrs wifi free zone, it will increase your creativity and productivity! Utilize that time with your family, friends, in fulfilment of your dream project, self-healing, hobbies etc.
  • Get in touch with your feelings and take time to listen to your body and emotions.
  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Adjust your attitude. Don’t fall into the trap of negative emotions that can quickly get out of control and only make us feel worse. Stress is a part of our life which cannot be avoided, but we can change our mindset! Instead of focusing on the negative, try to focus on the positives.
  • Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways may use to manage stress-such as watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games, may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long period of time.

Act to manage oxidative/chronic stress:

  • Eat nutrient dense food
  • Reduce acid load of your body by -Rainbow eating/Alkaline diet. Make sure your plate is enriched with colourful fruits, vegetables, nuts and real food.
  • NO to dairy products and poultry.
  • NO to the refined carb, sugar and carbonated water.
  • A proper balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid.
  • Avoid alcohol intake, tobacco use, smoking, excess caffeine and the use of illicit substances
  • Get rid of unhealthy life choices
  • Boost your daily dietary intake of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory food, phyto-nutrient, fibre, herbs and spices. Antioxidant such as-Turmeric,nuts,vitamin C,green tea,garlic,onion,cinnamon etc.
  • Be on at least 10,000 step diet daily
  • Do Metabolic relaxation day(Intermittent fasting) at least once a week. Better to do twice a week or every alternative day for fast healing from oxidative /chronic stress. You can design your own metabolic relaxation day according to your personal wellness goal. Make sure your feasting days are nutrient dense rather than calorie rich.
  • Fluid balance.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with hydrogen peroxide to get rid of insecticides and pesticides.
  • Avoid over-eating.
  • Listen to your body.Avoid excessive strenuous exercise.Give your body time to heal. Go for an intermittent burst of moderate to the high-level intensity with intervening periods of rest and recovery. High-intensity interval training sessions should be performed once or twice per week.Do different types of exercises to enhance your organic fitness and to avoid boredom, overuse injury, emotional burnout and high level of oxidative stress.
  • Get at least 7-8 hours sleep daily.

“YOU CANNOT GO BACK AND START THE BEGINNING,BUT YOU CAN START WHERE YOU ARE AND CHANGE THE ENDING!”-C.S .LEWIS

For further exploration of this fascinating topic, I encourage you to click on the below link –

Kelly McGonigal: How to turn Stress into an advantage

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE-THE TRUE HEALER

Wellness Article

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease”- Hippocrates

Have you ever wondered why after so many advanced technologies and hospitals there are overwhelming chronic diseases and health problems?

According to a 2012 survey, nearly eight out of 10 physicians are somewhat pessimistic about future of the medical profession and are burnout today. Take a look at some of the findings:

  • 87 percent agree that the medical profession is in decline.
  • 58 percent would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people.
  • 34 percent would choose a different profession if they could do it all over again.
  • 82 percent of physicians believe doctors have little ability to change the healthcare system.

Recent studies suggest that today’s children are the first generation expected to live a shorter lifespan than their parents.

ISN’T IT THE HIGH TIME TO WAKE UP?! “IF NOT NOW- WHEN? IF NOT YOU- WHO”?

The chronic disease epidemic is one of the most significant challenges humanity is facing today. They are the slow-motion plague. What do you want?

  • A longer life with poorer health,
  • A shorter life with poorer health, or
  • A healthy life with good health.

Let’s crack the reasons behind of crashing and inundation of our conventional health care system.

DIET:

Our modern diet and lifestyle are out of alignment with our genes and biology. Our 10,000-year-old Primal genes expect us to emulate the way our ancestors ate and moved. Before farms and factories took over, human being lived most of our history eating a hunter-gatherer diet and living hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Our ancestors would hardly recognize modern agriculture and manufacturing or the food they produce. Our genes are not fully adjusted to these changes.

For most of evolutionary history, humans ate primarily meat and fish, wild fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants and tubers. Nobody ate processed food. Nothing came in a bag or a box. There was no refined sugar, no refined flour, and no industrial seed oil. The food available was nutrient-dense and whole. The preparation was minimal.

The modern diet is a prescription for obesity, metabolic problems, and all kinds of chronic diseases. We went from eating a nutrient dense, naturally low-calorie, anti-inflammatory food, to eating nutrient depleted, calorie dense, Pro-inflammatory food

LIFESTYLE:

While there’s no doubt artificial lighting has been a boon from a cultural perspective it lets us stay up late to create art, literature, and music, but it also has had a disastrous effect on our health. When you understand it through an evolutionary framework, you begin to see its problems. We take advantage of expanded daytime to do more activities at night, but doing so disrupts our circadian rhythm. Every cell in our body is regulated by the natural light-dark cycle. When we change that cycle our bodies suffer.

Here’s how it works: When we wake up in the morning, sunlight hits our eyeballs and our cortisol levels rise, telling us it’s time to get up. When the sun sets and darkness falls, on the other hand, our melatonin levels rise, telling us it’s time to go to sleep.

What happens when someone lies in bed at night, screening before going to bed? The screen of gadgets emits blue light, which is like the spectrum of sunlight. When blue light hits the body, it sends a “time to wake up” message. That not only interferes with sleep but has been shown to deregulate metabolism, promote weight gain, and cause cancer. Changes to circadian rhythm mediated by light exposure can have profound effects on health.

Our environment has changed faster than our genes can adapt. Genes typically take hundreds or thousands of years to change; they simply cannot keep up with the pace of environmental changes.

BEHAVIOR:

We’ve known for a long time that exercise is important but going to the gym isn’t an adequate solution. If we look at exercise from an evolutionary perspective, we see that our ancestors moved all the time. They walked an average of 10,000 steps a day. They didn’t sit for long periods and they stood more than half the day. In between, they chased prey, ran from predators, and built things. If you work at a desk for a prolonged period of time but go to the gym four to five times a week, you’ll still be at increased risk of disease. The important change for them is to move from being completely sedentary to increasing their non-exercise physical activity.

THE WRONG MEDICAL PARADIGM FOR CHRONIC DISEASE:

Our current medical paradigm is based more on managing disease and suppressing symptoms than it is on preventing and reversing the disease or promoting health. Heroic interventions can prevent death, but don’t necessarily promote health.

Don’t get me wrong: modern medicine is incredibly effective in acute and trauma care. If I get hit by a bus, I want to be taken immediately to a hospital! We absolutely need oncology surgeons who can remove cancerous tumours and gastroenterologists who know how to perform a colonoscopy.

Today’s patient has multiple problems, sees multiple doctors, and requires multiple treatments that go on for years if not decades. The average visit with doctors lasts for just eight to twelve minutes max. It is impossible to deliver high-quality care in eight to twelve minutes when a patient has multiple chronic health problems. Such a brief appointments leave little to no time to dig into the important diet, lifestyle, and behavioural issues that are causing the patient its symptoms. In a ten minutes appointment, there simply isn’t time to thoroughly investigate all the possible causes of a patient’s chronic illness. Instead, doctors describe the symptoms and prescribe the drugs, and that’s the treatment. It focuses on suppressing symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause of disease. If that doesn’t solve the issue, the patient usually gets referred to a specialist. Unfortunately, it’s rare for those specialists to communicate with one another; our current medical system isn’t set up to accommodate that kind of collaboration.

Imagine you get a rock in your shoe and it makes your foot hurt. If you look for help in the current medical system, you may get a description of foot discomfort along with the directions to the nearest drugstore for some extra-strength ibuprofen. Sure, ibuprofen would help to reduce the pain. But wouldn’t it be better just to take off your shoe and dump out the rock?

In most cases, there’s more than one rock. The first pebble might be a patient’s poor diet. The next comes from sleep deprivation, a result of going to bed late night, and only getting four to five hours sleep at night. Another rock is born from sitting at a desk for eight hours a day and failing to do any exercise. Some rocks are nearly invisible such as IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or gut brain axis problem caused by an autonomic nervous system issue, like sleep loss or stress. A skilled practitioner would identify the rock in the shoe and how it is possible in just eight to ten minutes?

For example, patients suffering from Type II diabetic require a lifestyle change; Patients need to remove unhealthy processed foods and refined sugars from their diet. Most doctors know but our current medical system doesn’t support patients to make the lifestyle changes required for long-term solutions. The result? Patients continue to live chronic disease, and doctors continue to prescribe them medication for symptom management.

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE -THE TRUE HEALER                                                   Presentation2               

Imagine you are in the boat, and the boat is leaking. You can bail water from the boat to make it sink more slowly, but if the leaks are still there, you’ll have limited success. Conventional medicine is mostly about trying to bail water out of the boat without fixing the leaks. Wouldn’t it make more sense to prevent the leaks from happening in the first place, and then fix them completely if they do occur? Functional medicine seeks to get to the bottom of things. It looks for the underlying cause of disease. Conventional medicine, on the other hand, is organized primarily around suppressing symptoms with drugs and surgery. It’s a quick fix band-aid.

 

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE SYSTEMS MODEL:

Presentation1

Exposome:

The exposome is the sum of all non-genetic exposures an individual encounter from the moment of their conception to the moment of their death. It’s a new word that encompasses all aspects of our diet, lifestyle, air and water quality, toxins, social environment, family system, and so on. The functional medicine holds that any progress in a patient’s health must start here at the core.

Pathologies:

Pathologies are the underlying mechanisms that give rise to diseases and syndromes.

Let’s consider a syndrome like IBS. When our genes combine with environmental influences (such as poor diet, stress, sleep deprivation, exposure to toxins, etc), which in turn affect gene expression. These interactions lead to pathological mechanisms-such as gut infections, parasites or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, or a disrupted gut micro biome-that can the syndrome that we call IBS.

Diseases and Syndromes:

A disease is defined as a disorder of structure and function that produces specific signs and symptoms.Eg-Type 2 diabetes, GERD, Celiac disease.

A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that consistently occur together, or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms are IBS, restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome or premenstrual syndrome.

Signs and symptoms:

A Sign is an objective indication of a disease or syndrome that can be observed during a physical examination or through laboratory testing.Eg- blood pressure, high blood sugar, and oedema.

Symptoms, on the other hand, are the subjective experiences that the patient might report to the clinician. For eg, the type 2 diabetes patient, symptoms might include increased hunger and thirst, blurred vision, and fatigue.

 FUNCTIONAL (HEALTHCARE) VS CONVENTIONAL (DISEASE MANAGING) MEDICINE:

Conventional medicine sees and treats the symptoms, whereas, functional medicine view it as a manifestation of a pathology that results from the interaction between patient’s genome, Epigenome, and Exposome.

An even simpler example is migraines. If a patient reports having migraine headaches, he’s clearly describing a symptom. Headaches are not a disease; they’re not even pathology. Headaches are a symptom, but conventional model might address them simply with a prescription for painkillers. The conventional model typically seeks to manage disease, slow its progression, and help the patient live with symptoms. It misses the opportunity to prevent and reverse disease, because it works from the outside in, focusing mainly symptoms. Whereas, functional medicine, approach treatment from the inside and move outward.

Presentation3

CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE IS NOT TRULY HEALTHCARE-IT’S DISEASE MANAGEMENT.

Presentation 4The writing is on the wall, and conventional medicine should stop resisting change and start to embrace it. This is a battle that those who believe only in conventional medicine cannot win, and the more they resist, the more credibility and respect they will lose. This is truly the beginning of the end of the war in medicine.

“YOU WILLL NOT SOLVE THE CURRENT HEALTHCARE CRISIS IF YOU SIMPLY CONTINUE TO DO THE WRONG THINGS BETTER– DR.MARK HYMAN

 Reference- Unconventional medicine-Chris Kresser.

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