The Science of Stress

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Long before scientists began shedding light on how our minds and bodies actually affect one another, an intuitive understanding of this dialogue between the body and the emotions, or feelings, emerged and permeated our very language: We use “ sick” as a grab-bag term for both the sensory symptoms — fever, fatigue, nausea — and the psychological malaise, woven of emotions like sadness and apathy.

Pre-modern medicine, in fact, has recognized this link between disease and emotion for millennia. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Indian Ayurvedic physicians all enlisted the theory of the four humors — blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm — in their healing practices, believing that imbalances in these four visible secretions of the body caused disease and were themselves often caused by the emotions. These beliefs are fossilized in our present language — melancholy comes from the Latin words for “black” (melan) and “bitter bile” (choler), and we think of a melancholic person as gloomy or embittered; a phlegmatic person is languid and impassive, for phlegm makes one lethargic.

For nearly three centuries, the idea that our emotions could impact our physical health remained scientific taboo — setting out to fight one type of dogma, Descartes had inadvertently created another, which we’re only just beginning to shake off. It was only in the 1950s that Austrian-Canadian physician and physiologist Hans Selye pioneered the notion of stress as we now know it today, drawing the scientific community’s attention to the effects of stress on physical health and popularizing the concept around the world.

Modern medicine’s advances in cellular and molecular biology, which have made it possible to measure how our nervous system and our hormones affect our susceptibility to diseases as varied as depression, arthritis, AIDS, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The same parts of the brain that control the stress response … play an important role in susceptibility and resistance to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. And since it is these parts of the brain that also play a role in depression, we can begin to understand why it is that many patients with inflammatory diseases may also experience depression at different times in their lives… Rather than seeing the psyche as the source of such illnesses, we are discovering that while feelings don’t directly cause or cure disease, the biological mechanisms underlying them may cause or contribute to disease. Thus, many of the nerve pathways and molecules underlying both psychological responses and inflammatory disease are the same, making predisposition to one set of illnesses likely to go along with predisposition to the other.

Mood is not homogeneous like cream soup. It is more like Swiss cheese, filled with holes. The triggers are highly specific, tripped by sudden trails of memory: a faint fragrance, a few bars of a tune, a vague silhouette that tapped into a sad memory buried deep, but not completely erased. These sensory inputs from the moment float through layers of time in the parts of the brain that control memory, and they pull out with them not only reminders of sense but also trails of the emotions that were first connected to the memory. The same sensory input can trigger a negative emotion or a positive one, depending on the memories associated with it.

This is where stress comes in — much like memory mediates how we interpret and respond to various experiences, a complex set of biological and psychological factors determine how we respond to stress. Some types of stress can be stimulating and invigorating, mobilizing us into action and creative potency; others can be draining and incapacitating, leaving us frustrated and hopeless. This dichotomy of good vs. bad stress is determined by the dose and duration of the stress hormones secreted by the body in response to the stressful stimulus.

Extended exposure to stress, especially to a variety of stressors at the same time — any combination from the vast existential menu of life-events like moving, divorce, a demanding job, the loss of a loved one, and even ongoing childcare — adds up a state of extreme exhaustion that leads to what we call burnout.

Among the major stressors — which include life-events expected to be on the list, such as divorce and the death of a loved one — is also one somewhat unexpected situation. An unfamiliar environment is a universal stressor to nearly all species, no matter how developed or undeveloped.

ref:> https://experiencelife.com | https://www.sciencedaily.com | https://www.edutopia.org | https://getpocket.com/explore

Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Here are our favorite Xmas cartoons. Enjoy!

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Anti-anxiety medications could become the next US drug epidemic

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The growing use of anti-anxiety pills reminds some doctors of the early days of the opioid crisis.

Considered relatively safe and non-addictive by the general public and many doctors, Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin have been prescribed to millions of Americans for decades to calm jittery nerves and promote a good night’s sleep.

These can trigger addiction after prolonged use or even coma and death when used in combination with opioids, public health officials warn. A series of recent studies showcasing the drugs’ danger have called for heightened awareness of their addictive and fatal potential.

When taken in combination with painkillers or illicit narcotics, benzodiazepines can increase the likelihood of a fatal overdose as much as tenfold, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. On their own, the medications can cause debilitating withdrawal symptoms that last for months or years.

The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies benzodiazepines, called “benzos,” as a Schedule IV depressant, signifying a low potential for abuse, while opioids are considered a Schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. However, more than 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involve benzos, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said. This combination can turn fatal when the drugs suppress a user’s breathing. A June study found that simultaneous use increases the risk of overdose more than five times.

Many overdoses result from concurrent use of medications: More than 17 percent of patients using opioids are also prescribed benzos at the same time. While the rate of opioid prescription declined almost 5 percent between 2012 and 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in its 2017 annual drug report, more than 13.5 million American adults use prescribed benzos, a 65 percent increase between 1996 and 2013.

While temporary use can successfully treat insomnia and anxiety disorders, research has shown prolonged use of anti-anxiety medications can cause physical and psychological dependence. Like other addictive drugs, benzos “hijack” synaptic plasticity, or changes in nerve cell signals, in the brain to trigger the release of dopamine. Weaning patients off the drug can produce symptoms of withdrawal-like delirium, anxiety and seizures.

Just as the spike in legal opioids prescriptions spurred the increase in sales and use of deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl, overprescribing anti-anxiety medications has created a market for synthetic benzos. Sold illegally and without doctor or FDA approval, these synthetic drugs can be more than one thousand times more potent than prescription benzos.

The opioid crisis has dominated the national drug conversation, and with reason: Rates of opioid-related deaths remain high, at more than 16 deaths per 100,000 people, the 2017 CDC report found. But health professionals worry America’s highly publicized opioid problem diverts attention from the growing overconsumption of benzos, which could prove just as damaging.

Finding Non-med Safe, Effective Relief through CES

CES (Cranial Electrotherapy) is a unique and viable “bioelectric” approach which enhances the homeostasis of the biological central nervous system – the tendency for intrinsic balance within a system. Its ethic is that of self-regulation. Its goal, wellness – a state of proper alignment – the balanced interplay of body and mind attained through personal empowerment rather than dependency.

Self-regulation, autonomy, and no negative side effects are ample reasons to consider CES. CES proponents believe that increased reliance on external drugs interferes with that self-regulatory process, reducing our ability to cope.

To reclaim control of our life we have to learn how to alter that chemical composition and reorient that circuitry, not through dependency but by activating, strengthening, and effectively employing our own inner resources.

On a more mundane level, cost is yet another factor. The CES Ultra is but a fraction of the cost of drugs and may be used year after year.

ref:. https://www.newsweek.com | https://www.cnbc.com

Coping with Winter Depression

Depression is a chemical habit of the brain. Everyone’s neurochemistry (NC) is slightly different, but everyone is addicted to their own NC. If your NC is that of a depressed person, you need to reverse it. Your brain needs to learn how to go back where it was and start making the NC it used to make. With CES, your brain will remember how to make what it needs. Once your brain’s receptors start calling for the rebalanced levels, you’ll return what was normal for you in the past. Your depression will ebb away.

Winter depression is not a myth

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Despite the fact that millions of us say we’ve suffered a winter-related low mood, it can feel as though the winter blues is just a myth. But there’s sound scientific evidence to support the idea that the season can affect our moods.

Most scientists believe that the problem is related to the way the body responds to daylight. Alison Kerry, from the mental health charity MIND, says: “With SAD, one theory is that light entering the eye causes changes in hormone levels in the body. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up.

“It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.”

If you’re going through a bout of winter blues, lack of daylight is probably playing a part.

Long-term depression happens over a period of time, but now you can get your brain to work for you again. The CES Ultra, using Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), can bring you true relief. It’s a proven way to treat feelings of depression—without using drugs. Studies show that approximately 70% of people with depression who use the CES Ultra find relief of their symptoms.

Happy Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought.
We take our pleasure in material things,
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.

We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!