Totally Stressed Out? The Risks To Your Body

Totally Stressed Out? The Risks To Your Body

 

You’re trying to get the kids off to school, you can’t find your cell phone, and you’re sitting in traffic.  Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles are ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk. Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City Neuropsychologist who breaks down stress and it’s risks to your body. 

 

Gastrointestinal: 

Esophagus

When you’re stressed, you may eat much more or much less than you usually do. If you eat more or different foods or increase your use of alcohol or tobacco, you can experience heartburn or acid reflux. Stress or exhaustion can also increase the severity of heartburn pain.

Stomach

When you’re stressed, your brain becomes more alert to sensations in your stomach. Your stomach can react with “butterflies” or even nausea or pain. You may vomit if the stress is severe enough. And, if the stress becomes chronic, you may develop ulcers or severe stomach pain even without ulcers.

Bowel

Stress can affect digestion, and what nutrients your intestines absorb. It can also affect how fast food moves through your body. You may find that you have either diarrhea or constipation.

 

Headaches:

“Fight or flight” chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause vascular changes that leave you with a tension headache or a migraine, either during the stress or in the “let-down” period afterward. Stress also makes your muscles tense, which can make the pain of a migraine worse.

Possible Solution:  Beyond treating the headache itself, focus on headache-proofing your home, diet, and lifestyle in general.

 

 

Respiratory System:

Stress can make you breathe harder. That’s not a problem for most people, but for those with asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting the oxygen you need to breathe easier can be difficult. And some studies show that an acute stress, such as the death of a loved one— can actually trigger asthma attacks, in which the airway between the nose and the lungs constricts. In addition, stress can cause the rapid breathing or hyperventilation that can bring on a panic attack in someone prone to panic attacks.

Possible Solution: Working with a psychologist to develop relaxation and breathing strategies can help.

Totally Stressed Out? The Risks To Your Body - Ann Again and again Reviews

Female Reproductive System:

Menstruation

Stress may affect menstruation among adolescent girls and women in several ways. For example, high levels of stress may be associated with absent or irregular menstrual cycles, more painful periods and changes in the length of cycles.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Stress may make premenstrual symptoms worse or more difficult to cope with and pre-menses symptoms may be stressful for many women. These symptoms include cramping, fluid retention and bloating, negative mood (feeling irritable and “blue”) and mood swings.

Menopause

As menopause approaches, hormone levels fluctuate rapidly. These changes are associated with anxiety, mood swings and feelings of distress. Thus menopause can be a stressor in and of itself. Some of the physical changes associated with menopause, especially hot flashes, can be difficult to cope with. Furthermore, emotional distress may cause the physical symptoms to be worse. For example, women who are more anxious may experience an increased number of hot flashes and/or more severe or intense hot flashes.

Sexual Desire

Women juggle personal, family, professional, financial and a broad range of other demands across their life span. Stress, distraction, fatigue, etc., may reduce sexual desire — especially when women are simultaneously caring for young children or other ill family members, coping with chronic medical problems, feeling depressed, experiencing relationship difficulties or abuse, dealing with work problems, etc.

Fat storage

You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain. Part of that link is due to poor eating during stress, but the stress hormone cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more deep abdominal fat—yes, belly fat.

Possible Solution:  Luckily, exercise can help control stress and help keep belly fat under control.

 

Insomnia:

Stress can cause hyperarousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy.

While major stressful events can cause insomnia that passes once the stress is over, long-term exposure to chronic stress can also disrupt sleep and contribute to sleep disorders.

Possible Solution: Focus on sleep hygiene (making your surroundings conducive to a good night’s rest) and try yoga or another stress-busting activity during the day.

 

Memory:

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories. During acute stress, the hormone also interferes with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. That can make it hard to think straight or retrieve memories.

Possible Solution: While it’s tough to limit stress in our hectic lives, some experts recommend trying meditation, among other solutions.

 

Blood sugar:

Stress is known to raise blood sugar, and if you already have type 2 diabetes you may find that your blood sugar is higher when you are under stress. Changing what you eat, exercising more, or adjusting medication can help to keep it under control. One study of obese black women without diabetes found that those who produced more stress-related epinephrine when asked to recall stressful life events had higher fasting glucose and bigger blood sugar spikes than those with lower epinephrine, suggesting it might raise your risk for getting diabetes too.

 

***Shared With Permission***  About the Doctor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical neuropsychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com 

Treating Depression And Obesity Together

Treating Depression and Obesity Together - Ann Again and again Reviews

Treating depression and obesity together is at the heart of a new health program with global ramifications.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide, Australia will trial a world-first group intervention that draws upon several established approaches to boost patient health and wellbeing in the coming months.

The program, developed in the past six months, is being trialed in South Australia and will be rolled out internationally if successful.

The link between depression and obesity has been established for some time but treating them together has not been attempted before.

According to the Journal of Health Psychology and the European Association for the Study of Obesity, people who are overweight are two to four times more likely to develop depression and people who were depressed were twice as likely to become overweight or obese compared to their healthy counterparts.

The World Health Organization estimates 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide and obesity has more than doubled since 1980.

Treating Depression and Obesity Together - Ann Again and again Reviews
The SAHMRI building in Adelaide

Taryn Lores, a health psychologist within the Mind and Brain theme at SAHMRI, said there were many mechanisms that needed to be addressed if people were expected to recover from depression and be at ease with their bodies in the long term.

“Depression and being overweight or being above the healthy weight level, are things that are most commonly experienced together,” she said.  “People who are depressed are prone to things like overeating, bad eating habits and less frequent physical activity. Likewise, you have people who are mentally healthy but if overweight are prone to developing mental health issues linked to depression.

“This program is meant to help people set realistic goals and set changes that will become habitual and lifelong and we see this program, this dual focus, being more effective because treating them separately could be getting in the way of actually treating them at all in the long run.”

SAHMRI’s treatment program involves a two-hour group session each week for 10 weeks. Topics covered will include various Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques and mindfulness strategies.  Patients will also be required to attend additional appointments at SAHMRI for further assessments and follow-ups after the 10-week period.  Researchers are targeting a trial group of about 15 volunteers to take part in the project.

SAHMRI Mind and Brain Theme Leader and Professor of Psychiatry at Flinders University Julio Licinio said that with major depression, people might also experience either a loss of or a large increase in appetite. “Weight gain can bring about a sense of worthlessness and loss of control, leading to a cycle of dieting and a sense of failure,” Professor Licinio said.

“We have created a program of psychological interventions that tackle both the feelings that surround food and weight loss, whilst exploring the impact of depression in this process. The program includes a series of educative strategies that respond to this complex combination of issues, with the intention of increasing the success and understanding of sustained weight loss over time.”

SAHMRI opened in late 2013 and is in the new Adelaide BioMed City precinct, a $3 billion tripartite health hub comprising a number of educational institutions, research centers and a soon-to-be-completed major hospital.

SAHMRI is home to about 600 researchers working across seven themes: Heart Health; Infection & Immunity; Aboriginal Health; Mind & Brain; Cancer; Healthy Mothers, Babies & Children; and, Nutrition & Metabolism.

(Shared with permission.  Taryn Lores Health Psychologist South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. To contact:  Taryn.lores@sahmri.commb.sahmri.com)

7 Ways to Deal With Work-Related Anxiety

7 Ways to Deal With Work Related Anxiety - Ann Again and again Reviews

Whether you work from home or go to an office daily, you are always working for someone else. Your services, talents, skills and knowledge are being exchanged for money and that means meeting expectations. It also means dealing with daily triggers that create frustration. According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC-based licensed clinical neuropsychologist, these triggers build up stress which may negatively impact our personal relationships. Check out these physical health 7 ways to deal with work-related anxiety.

Fear Based Bosses

Bosses who focus on possibilities and solutions inspire creativity and collaboration. Fear-based bosses aren’t leaders they are energy drainers. They have quick tempers, focus on problems, complain and threaten. According to Dr. Hafeez people make the mistake of remaining in a job for the wrong reasons. “Being spoken to harshly every day is no way to live. It’s abusive and causes anxiety. My advice, file a complaint with human resources and resign. Your well-being matters first and most.”

Co-Worker Cliques

Some work cultures include gossip, passive aggressiveness, undercutting, sabotage, and verbal jabs that would rival any high school clique. “If your work is solid, align with others who are focused and keep your eye on the prize. You have a job to do and your focus will be thrown off by unnecessary cattiness. When you hear a group of co-workers gossiping, politely excuse yourself,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

Technology Glitches

We’ve all had instances where we want to throw our computers out the window, stomp on our cell phones and kick a vending machine after it gobbles up our last 2 singles. “Technology is what led to a higher standard for speed and efficiency. When we can’t get what we want in .005 seconds we get agitated. It’s conditioning,” she explains. “Centering is a great technique that helps delay reaction time to stressors. Before pounding on the copy machine, step back count to 5, breathe and pivot to fixing whatever may be wrong or finding someone who can assist.”

Presenting

You can be the most articulate, outgoing person and still have anxiety when it comes to presenting to a group. It is common for people to experience insomnia, nausea and tension headaches leading up to an important presentation. Preparation is key. “Allow ample time to gather key points and mentally rehearse your presentation while doing another unrelated activity such as cooking, cleaning, walking or running, to release stress and remain present suggests Dr. Hafeez.”

Your Commute

“Once you exceed 30 minutes one-way, your happiness level drops and your stress level rises,” says Dr. Hafeez. A coping mechanism she suggests is to use the commute as a time to learn. If driving, tune off the negative news talk radio and opt for interesting podcasts or audio books. If stuck on a bus or train, reading a book, watching a show on the iPad, or getting a head start on email are also ways to make the time fly.

Business Travel

Rushing for airplanes and dealing with weather delays and overbooked flights, not to mention navigating an unfamiliar place, will stress anyone out. “Preparation and a solid backup plan is a great way to ease pre-business travel stress. While face-to-face meetings may be optimal, skipping a flight and opting for a video conference may be a less stressful option.”

Quotas and Commissions

While most workers love the self-determined earning potential of a commission-paid job, they still find it stressful when they look at the numbers and fear coming up short. “Anxiety is caused by excessive worry about future events you believe you cannot control, explains Dr. Hafeez.” It may sound harsh but setting higher targets can be helpful. When you raise the bar at making 50 sales calls instead of coasting by with the usual 20, you’ll most likely complete 30 and will feel accomplished. “Acknowledge daily wins and break down the effort into smaller chunks of time so you focus on what’s in front of you,” she advises.

 

About the Doctor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical neuropsychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com 

***********Shared with Permission***************

Want To Be In A Good Mood? Eat These Foods

 

Want to be in a good mood? Eat These Foods - Ann Again and again Reviews

 

A number of lifestyle factors can contribute to depression, but one that’s often overlooked is what you put in your mouth. “Diet plays a huge role in depression,” says with Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine.

Do you crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods when you’re feeling blue? You’re not alone. But, says Dr. Calapai “If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus.

Vitamin D (sun exposure; fortified breakfast cereals, breads, juices, milk):

Vitamin D is required for brain development and function. Deficiency of this “sunshine vitamin” is sometimes associated with depression and other mood disorders.

“Smart” Carbs Can Have a Calming Effect

Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Experts aren’t sure, but carb cravings sometimes may be related to low serotonin activity.  Choose your carbs wisely. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains) rather than simple carbs (such as cakes and cookies). Fruits, vegetables, and legumes also have healthy carbs and fiber.

 

Want to be in a good mood? Eat these foods - Ann Again and again Reviews

Tryptophan (protein sources including turkey, beef, eggs, some dairy products, dark, leafy greens):

An amino acid, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. It’s not well understood, but low tryptophan seems to trigger depressive symptoms in some people who have taken antidepressants.

Increase your intake of B vitamins

People with either low blood levels of the B-vitamin folic acid, or high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (a sign that you are not getting enough B6, B12 or folic acid), are both more likely to be depressed and less likely to get a positive result from anti-depressant drugs. In a study comparing the effects of giving an SSRI with either a placebo or with folic acid, 61% of patients improved on the placebo combination but 93% improved with the addition of folic acid.

Boost your serotonin with amino acids

Serotonin is made in the body and brain from an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is then converted into another amino acid called 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan (5-HTP), which in turn is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Tryptophan can be found in the diet; it’s in many protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, beans and eggs. 5-HTP is found in high levels in the African Griffonia bean, but this bean is not a common feature of most people’s diet. Just not getting enough tryptophan is likely to make you depressed; people fed food deficient in tryptophan became rapidly depressed within hours.

Up your intake of chromium

This mineral is vital for keeping your blood sugar level stable because insulin, which clears glucose from the blood, can’t work properly without it. In fact, it turns out that just supplying proper levels of chromium to people with atypical depression can make a big difference.

Select Selenium-Rich Foods

Studies have reported a link between low selenium and poor moods. The recommended amount of selenium is 55 micrograms a day for adults.  The evidence isn’t clear that taking supplements can help. And it’s possible to get too much selenium. So it’s probably best to focus on foods:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Lean meat (lean pork and beef, skinless chicken and turkey)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds (particularly brazil nuts – but no more than one or two a day because of their high selenium content)
  • Seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, crab, saltwater fish, and freshwater fish)
  • Whole grains (whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Caffeine and Sugary Foods

Caffeine may be difficult for many people to completely eliminate from their diet. However, it is good to only have caffeinated drinks in moderation, particularly when you are experiencing depression-like symptoms. Caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns and make you feel anxious, both of which won’t help your depression. People who drink more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, the equivalent of four cups of brewed coffee, should consider cutting back.

**********************************************************************************************************************

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.

His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s.

Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice. He has a show on Saturday morning 8-9am and Sunday evening from 6-7pm. He has consulted with numerous high-profile individuals including Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Fox series Gotham’s, Donal Logue and worked as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team as well as various modeling agencies.

Dr. Calapai received his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and he consults in Manhattan with practices on Long Island, in East Meadow and Plainview. He has appeared on News12 and in the pages of 25A Magazine and Social Life Magazine.

He is the author of E-books Heavy Metals and Chronic Disease, Reverse Diabetes Forever! Seven Steps to Healthy Blood Sugar, Top Ten Supplements You Can’t Live Without, and Glorious Glutathione. Learn more about Dr. Calapai on his website: www.drcal.net

****Shared with permission****

7 Ways To Be More Optimistic

Spring

We set the clocks ahead for daylight savings and many of us woke up to a darker sky, feeling sluggish thanks to a one-hour loss of sleep. If you hit the snooze, pulled the covers up over your head still feeling bummed out about your waistline, bank account, career or love life, you’re not alone. Despite more daylight our worries are still there. So how do we spring into Spring, a season that’s all about new beginnings and rebirth? For practical ways to cultivate optimism in our lives let’s listen to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC-based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services who shares these tips and tools.

 

1. Focus on the good.

“A daily exercise I often have my patients do is keep an appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life then more great things come. Think generally and use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you’ll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

 

2. Make plans.

Making plans to see relatives, to see a new exhibit a movie or to travel gets our mind moving forward towards something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic and forward-moving,” says Dr. Hafeez.

 

3. Control what you can, delegate the rest! 

We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we cannot control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

 

4. Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed. 

“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for news headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to the news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11 pm news before bed. No wonder they’re less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.

happysleeper

5. Don’t snooze. Instead just breathe.

When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.

 

6. Distract yourself with something that requires focus.

The key here is to pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

 

7. Make feeling good top priority.

When you commit to feeling good you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling positive thought you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.

 

*Shared with permission.  Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com

Easy and Efficient Ways To Get Fit

You can make excuses all you like but honestly, there’s no denying it, when you exercise – get the blood flowing and your heart pumping – your mood lifts and your day feels better. I put off exercise for about 3 months, and my mood really took a hit. I’ve stayed committed for 5 months now, and I hope to never return to how I felt, emotionally and physically, when I didn’t get some exercise in my day.  I call exercise my “natural mood elevator”.  I’m sure the following easy and efficient ways to get fit will help you.

A big excuse to not exercise is that there just isn’t enough time in your day. I completely understand. It isn’t just the time given to the actual exercise, it’s the shower after and then putting yourself together to head back to work, where ever that may be. But the thing is you can do a few moves now and a few moves later on and they will all come together to make you stronger and feel better at the end of the day. Check out these quick and easy ways to add fitness in your day:

Easy and Time Efficient Ways To Get Fit - Ann Again and again Reviews