Doctor Oz did a show called “Dr Oz’s Ultimate Checklist: Stress” to teach us five ways to beat stress. Between financial concerns over money, work, and other stressful worries that we all have, stress is zapping out energy and wreaking havoc on our bodies. Up to 90% of doctors visits are for stress related ailments including back pain, depression, cardiovascular disease, and possibly even cancer. 80% of us think that stress is part of your everyday life, but it does not have to be!
Dr Oz said that we have three vital organs that are impacted by stress: our brain, stomach and heart. When you are stressed, even though you might not have complete blockages in your arteries, you can get squeezing and spasms in your blood vessels, which can cause chest pain and heart problems. Dr Oz said that women often experience these heart related symptoms more than men.
Dr Oz was joined by Elissa Epel to discuss how stress can change a woman’s DNA. Scary thought, right? Blood pressure and your cortisol hormone can shoot up from stress, but in addition, stress can increase inflammation in your body and can allow free radicals to damage our cells. All of this is not a major problem in the short run, but if you have what Epel calls “Stress Soup” (raised Cortisol, blood pressure and inflammation) for years, it can damage your cells and cause premature aging, shrink your brain cells and expand your belly fat cells.
Here are the 5 ways to beat stress that Dr Oz suggested:
Dr Oz’s Ultimate Checklist for Stress
Stress Buster #1: Avoid Stress Eating
Dr Oz said that stress used to be about famine and would help you survive when food wasn’t available. However, now we have plenty of food and no famines in sight, so the stress side effect of increasing our belly fat to help us survive is actually working against us. Dr Oz said you do not want to eat simple sugars. If you fill up on oatmeal or whole grains, they will stick to your intestinal system so that you will feel full longer and your body will have nutrients available for more time. Dr Oz suggested eating an oily fish, like salmon with its omega 3 fats, twice a week to help reduce stress. Also, pistachios are a great snack because you can’t eat them too quickly since you have to crack the shells and pistachios have good healthy cholesterol.
Elissa Epel said that she recommends evaluating your stress level several times a day, along with evaluating your hunger level. This can very rapidly help you figure out if you are eating because you are truly hungry or if it is because of sadness, boredom, stress or some non-hunger related factor.
Stress Buster #2: Vitamins B & C
Dr Oz said that by taking 50 mg of Vitamin B and 1000 mg of Vitamin C every day, you can reduce your Cortisol levels which make you feel stressed.
Stress Buster #3: Exercise
Dr Oz recommends walking up steps or something that will rev up your heart. If you walk up the stairs 7 minutes every day, you can reduce your chance of dying from heart disease by 2/3. I will be skipping the elevator and opting for stairs from now on!
Stress Buster #4: Alternative Treatments
Dr Oz said that you can trigger brain chemicals to overcome stress. One thing you can do is look for the bump in the palm of your hand around where the thumb pivots. If you massage this part of your hand for 3-5 minutes, you can release and reduce your Cortisol levels, which will stimulate your body and help you to focus. Dr Oz said this is also a pressure point, so you can just apply pressure there as well. Another alternative treatment for stress is aromatherapy, which goes to the nerves in your nose that go directly to the center of your brain. Lavender is proven to reduce anxiety an to help you sleep. Here is the recipe that Dr Oz gave for making a Lavender Anti-Stress Spray.
Dr Oz’s Anti-Stress Spray
– 10 drops lavender oil
– 2 cups water
Just mix the lavender oil and water together and pour it into a spray bottle. Then you have a lavender scented aromatherapy spray.
Stress Buster #5: Find Your Triggers
What causes stress for you? Look at your life and ask what situations stress you out the most and what you can do to change them. Some things you cannot change, but do no focus on those, focus on what you can change. Elissa Epel said there are a couple of response styles that people have that keep stress alive in their bodies. Time Traveling is one stress causing response style, which is where you are constantly stressing over the future or rehashing events from the past… these keep your brain in a stress state. Instead, try to live in the moment and look at what is going on right now, which is something you can control. The second stressful response style is one that decreases your self esteem. Look at what negative thoughts you are telling yourself like “I’m a failure” or “I’m worthless” and notice that these are just thoughts and NOT truths.