Did You Reach Your 10,000 Steps Today?
Ah, the beauty of exercise! What can one say but only good things about this natural, physical full-body enhancement?
Workouts can stimulate just about every part of your body. But the organs that will love you most are your heart and your belly, however, don’t neglect what they can do for your brain and this is where we will focus our discussion today.
For stress reduction, you want to avoid the loss of neurons in the hippocampus. This is the area where learning, memory, and emotion reside.
Having anxiety can inhibit the natural progressive state of the assembly of your neurons, as well as the effective speed of connections between hippocampal cells.
Studies have shown that exercising, specifically aerobic workouts for a minimum of 20 minutes can promote healthy information processing and memory functions within the brain; thereby countering the diminishing loss of neurons when a person is under stress.
One person told us of her continuous anxiety, (due to personal issues she did not want to elaborate on). She would be stressed all day and had to take pills to sleep, but if there was one daily factor that gave her relief (at least for a while), it was exercise.
Feeling good after exercise is healthy and a valuable factor in stress reduction. In this article, we will not go into detail about all the benefits of exercise, but you can read more about it here. In short, it is a great natural way to keep your mind and body in shape. But remember, No pain, no gain. So put your all into it and watch your health steadily improve.
Can Learning Help Reduce Stress?
Let’s go back to the hippocampus. When two dendrites (the receiving end of neurons) get close together, electrical messages are transmitted from one neuron to the other. This is done through the contact points between the dendrites, called the synapse. When you learn something new, you are growing topic-specific dendrites to connect neurons to particular synapses or said in another way, you are growing more neurons that communicate with each other so that the new information is intact.
As you continue to learn new things, you are growing new neurons. This can help counter the negative effects in the brain when under anxiety (as mentioned in the exercise section above), but another positive factor is the ‘feel-good feeling you get after knowing you have learned something new, so, from a cognitive standpoint, the more learning you can achieve, the healthier your mind will be.
Get a Massage!
Massages have been known to promote relaxation and help alleviate anxiety. But they are not cheap. If you cannot find one that fits your budget, try getting a partner who can do it for you. For many people, this can work wonders, even for those who are not in stressful situations. Here is a video on how you can do it right.
Now we are getting into the heavy stuff, but also the most successful when it comes to helping people get relief from stress. Seeking the advice of a medical professional is commonplace for people with anxiety and depression and there is a correlation between the two, but we’ll focus on anxiety for now.
Therapy – A Positive First Step
One of the most common ailments that would cause someone to go to therapy is stress and the related problems that are associated with it. A counselor can help you manage your anxiety better than you are probably doing yourself. Having someone to talk to in privacy may be one of the most rewarding options for you, but for others, more assistance may be required, however, this would be a good start.
Now we come to a path that many, many people pursue, and for good reason!
Prescription drugs can be a significant benefactor in managing your anxiety, as well as the subsequent negative effects it has on your body, but caution is highly recommended!
If you find yourself in constant anxiety, don’t go through it alone.
NOTE: A doctor or certified practitioner is the only one who can prescribe the appropriate medication for you!
There are so many drugs on the market and more are being tested. Some medical scientists are even studying the use of psychedelic drugs to help manage depression, but a physician needs to determine what would be best for you. You may be surprised how much better you could feel with the proper medication and respective dosage.
Case in point: A 45-year-old man lost his father to heart failure. For eleven months, the man blamed himself with the notion that he could have done things better while his father was in ailing condition, not realizing that guilt is a common issue for someone to feel when they lose a loved one; however, most of the time, it is completely unwarranted. “Why didn’t I do it this way” or “I could have done this differently” are common thoughts a guilty person may encounter. For many people who suffer guilt after a loss, the fact is that nothing would have been any different, and as they say “It is all in your head”. But in the mind of the person suffering from it, it was die-hard real.
The ongoing guilt and grief were causing this man to have episodes of depression and when not in depression, he would suffer from serious anxiety attacks. It wasn’t until he sought medical help that a prescription plan was provided to him and after a few weeks, his guilt began to dissipate to the point that one morning when he woke up and he felt entirely free of this feeling.
This happened because he was initially lacking the chemical serotonin in his brain, which caused him to think irrationally and once the proper medication was provided to him, his serotonin level increased to the point that his anxiety and depression were gone.
Referring to a popular metaphor, we can say that the man went from feeling that the glass was half-empty to the glass being half-full. In reality, this meant that he went from thinking negatively about how he could have done things better when aiding his father to think about all the great things he did for his dad.
If you plan to see your family doctor, you can visit him/her first who might be able to recommend some limited amounts of prescription drugs that could help you cope with a bad situation, but for the long term, it would best to seek the help of a therapist and/or a psychiatrist.
Therapists are great ‘listeners’ and can help you cope with your situation. Psychiatrists are medical professionals whose specialty is your mental health as opposed to your physical health. They will be able to diagnose your condition and prescribe the appropriate medications that could help you. Many people choose to see both a therapist and a psychiatrist. Helpguide.org is a great website for obtaining a lot of information on how to get the best therapy for your condition.
To go any deeper would be beyond the scope of this article, but we hope that these suggestions will help improve your state of mind toward the right direction to follow and live a more enjoyable and happier lifestyle.