Stress & Anxiety
by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Some tips for coping with stress and anxiety
Exercise has many-many benefits; helping to burn belly fat, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve glucose sensitivity. Exercise is also an excellent antidote for stress and anxiety; aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety by up to 50% according to research. Exercise also improves sleep disorders. This is important because adequate rest improves the ability to respond to stress properly. The correct amount of sleep each night for most healthy adults averages 7 to 8 hours.
Decrease the amount of caffeine you consume; 2 cups of coffee doubles the amount of epinephrine (a stress hormone) your adrenal glands release. Epinephrine is a "fight or flight" hormone, and it plays a central role in the short-term reaction to stress. It is released from the adrenal glands when danger threatens or in an emergency, or if you are stressed out.
When secreted into the bloodstream, epinephrine rapidly prepares the body for action in emergency situations. The hormone boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles, while suppressing other non-emergency bodily processes such as digestion of food. Epinephrine increases your heart rate, dilates your pupils, and constricts the small blood vessels in the skin and gastrointestinal tract while dilating those in muscle improving the supply of blood and energy to muscle. Epinephrine elevates your blood sugar level. Like some other stress hormones, epinephrine has a suppressive effect on your immune system increasing your risk of upper respiratory tract infection (usually a flu or cold infection).