Surviving 2020 & covid

Chronic Stress = Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

So we aren’t going out on a limb with the title here. I think as individuals with anxiety we can logically conclude that anxiety leads to chronic stress and all sorts of negative outcomes. I’ve done many (hundreds I believe) posts on the outcomes of anxiety. I came across an article here that is referencing studies that are working to CONFIRM the title. It’s one thing to make the logical leap associating chronic stress to Alzheimer’s, it’s another to clinically confirm it.

From the article: “What we know is that chronic stress does affect many biological pathways within our body. There is an intimate interplay between exposure to chronic stress and pathways influencing the body’s reaction to such stress,” said David Groth, PhD, a senior author of the study and an associate professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.”

Stress leads to all sorts of negative outcomes.

The article goes on to discuss cortisol levels and the biological impact. Cortisol is a bi product of stress and its management is paramount for anyone with anxiety. We now have research tying cortisol production into Alzheimer’s via chronic stress, which in many cases is a bi product of anxiety. Again I realize none of these concepts are going out on a limb…. We can all logically come to these conclusions.

What happens though is when studies are done and papers are published it helps build a dossier of reference material that can then be used on a broader scale to invoke change at the government policy level. We’ve seen this happen with Marijuana in the U.S. to a large extent. Where studies of the benefits of marijuana where complied to help counter argue the negatives. The result was a society shift in perceptions of marijuana use from the “war on drugs” era.

Will chronic stress go the same route? We can only hope. As more and more research is done into illnesses of age and they correlate back to conditions from one’s youth, the higher likelihood of those conditions being addressed in a meaningful way by society. Simply put, if we know that stress and anxiety increases the chances of Alzheimer’s later in life, wont we do our best to combat it in the present?

Again, one can hope.

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Clutter can lead to Anxiety

Are you a pack rat? Do you have clothes in your house that you haven’t worn in over 5 years? Have you accumulated items in your life that you can’t remember where they came from? Clutter can lead to anxiety. A lot of “stuff” leads to over stimulation and over stimulation creates the conditions by which your brain has to many inputs. You being to have intrusive thoughts, you begin to think about the items, when the items are around…

I found a good article here about this issue:

From the article: “On a practical level, “the disorganization and chaos that clutter creates can make it more difficult to accomplish daily life tasks,” says Catherine Roster, Ph.D., a professor at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, and co-author of a 2016 study on the impact of our messy ways. What’s more, “clutter can increase negative emotions, such as feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or even embarrassed.” It can even induce a spike in cortisol, a stress hormone.”

There it is again our old friend cortisol. Clutter or “stuff” can be anything really. Your clutter might be different than mine, as an example someone you know may have 3-4 cars in their driveway they just “like to fix them” or you may know someone who has a house full of nick knacks. In the extreme you have hoarders who accumulates so much clutter that it literally takes over their living space. Ideally this doesn’t affect you.

Many people do not have this issue, but if you find yourself “collecting” things it might be time to take a hard look at your possessions. This isn’t minimalist post, you are entitled to have whatever you want if you aren’t harming other people. That said, when the season change it’s a great time to look at what you have. I will give you an example I have sports gear in my house. Basketballs, golf clubs, etc.

I have to much and it takes up real-estate in my house that could be used for something else or nothing at all. I don’t suffer from this particular anxiety but ideally, I should go through those items and give away the ones I don’t use any more. Removing items from your living space you no longer use (like old clothes) can reduce your stress from clutter but also increase your giving spirit which is a good thing.

Think about it, how many of the things that you have do you actually use? Do you even know how many possessions you have?

Surviving 2020 & covid

Stress affects memory

Stress at any age is harmful, stress as we age creates conditions via hormonal imbalances. I did a post months ago on Cortisol here it appears that cortisol can work against you in more ways than I had initially brought up. I found a new article here on the impacts of cortisol on memory.

From the article:

“Studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol might be linked with degrading memory and poor thinking skills in middle-aged adults. “Stress absolutely affects memory,” says clinical psychologist and behaviorist Dr. Jennifer Guttman. The Journal Neurology says that people with higher levels of cortisol in their blood had impaired memories, and lower brain volume.”

This is particularly worrisome as middle-aged adults are the ones who begin to experience increased health issues due to age. Additionally, it is normally “middle aged adults” who are in management positions in corporations all over the world. The stress level for managers in todays economy is high enough, coupled with poor diet choices, lack of exercise, taking care of aging parents…. You get the picture.

The article does a good job of discussing cortisol levels impact on memory and infers how cortisol is caused by increased stress. Memory loss is nothing to joke about, if you are a 20-30 something and reading this blog I can assure you that as you enter into your 40’s you will begin to have “senior moments”. Forgot where you parked your car? What was that guy’s first name? I’ve noticed it more and more myself, I’m 49.

So, what do you do? You’ve seen this over and over and I know its annoying. More physical activity. Increasing blood flow increases your hippocampus health. Your hippocampus is the part of your brain that helps you form new memories. The second most beneficial thing you can do, is sleep more.

Sleep is the silent hero of mental health. The more sleep you get, it seems, the better mental health you have. For those of us without severe impairment. If you are functioning with Anxiety (like I am) exercising more and sleeping more are the two most immediate impactful things you can do NOW to help improve your mental health. Aging happens, you can’t escape it, and nothing scares me more then losing my memory and mind.

It should scare you too, work on it!

Anxiety Relief – Cold Water ?

So I was surfing the web a few days ago and found an interesting article about how to help calm yourself when have an anxiety of panic attack. Most of the article was information I had encountered before in my travels… You know “breathe” and how anxiety serves a biological function based on evolution. Meaning our ancestors didn’t have many of the luxuries we had, heightened anxiety served them well to keep them prepared for calamity.

So here we are in 2019 and social expectations along with personal internal pressure has increased anxiety for many of us. As I read the article here I was struck with the recommendation to “run cold water over your wrists”. I hadn’t heard that one before. The wrists contain major arteries so in theory cooling them down is akin to “chilling out” and that does make sense. Cooling them will cool the rest of your body as the blood is pumped.

As some of us suffer from elevated heart rates from anxiety this could prove to be a pretty valuable coping mechanism. The article claimed (without citation) that cold water on the wrists reduce cortisol. You can read another post I made on cortisol here

Cortisol is released into your blood from the adrenal gland and it is one of the anxiety/stress response hormones. Cortisol increases your blood sugar, or rather increases the rate in which you metabolize blood sugar to increase your energy so that your brain can deal with the anxiety source. In my travels I have found that control Cortisol is one of many things that can help relieve anxiety and panic attacks.

The worst part about anxiety and panic is the sense that you are losing control and you don’t have a way to stop the intrusive thoughts. Cortisol creates the conditions for your body that induce this perpetuating feeling as you metabolize more and more glucose your brain is fed and ready to promote its survival mechanism (more anxiety). I haven’t tried this method myself but if I can the next time I have a bought with anxiety or panic I think I might give it a shot.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to support me and my journey to becoming a more well-rounded content creator.