Symptoms of Stress You Need to Know




Stress is normally thought of as just being in your head, but it can also cause very real physical symptoms. Many times we experience these physical symptoms and don’t realize that they are directly correlated with elevated stress levels.

Read below to learn symptoms of stress you may not be aware of:




Digestive upset

Digestive issues, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and/or nausea are highly correlated with elevated stress levels. The gut-mind connection is very strong and interconnected, which is why digestive issues are often suggestive of an overly stressed state.

Tension headache

A tension headache tends to be described as feeling like a tight band is across the head on both sides and/or behind the eyes. This type of headache comes on when you are in an overly stressed state. 

Eyes twitching

If you notice one or both eyes twitching, this may be indicative of stress.

Skin rash

Did you know that you can even get a rash from being overly stressed?! Your skin is the largest organ of your body and the nature of your skin is often a good indicator of what is going on inside. A rash triggered from stress may feel itchy and red.

Good to know: Shingles (aka herpes zoster) is a very painful rash that can be triggered from a highly stressed state.

Tight muscles

Pain in the neck? Tight muscles are often a direct results of too much stress. Typical places we hold stress in our bodies include the neck, back, and hips. 



Insomnia

Stress can literally keep you up at night – it can make it hard to fall asleep and/or to fall back asleep. Lack of sleep can then lead to an even more stressed state – talk about a vicious cycle! 

Main Takeaways

There are many physical symptoms of stress, if you experience one or more of the above it’s a good idea to take a look at how you are feeling and if elevated stress is in your life.

References and further reading

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/tension-type-headache/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167#:~:text=Many%20issues%20that%20impact%20your,can%20lead%20to%20chronic%20insomnia.

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/stress-and-insomnia







What is acupressure and why should you do it?







What is acupressure?

Acupressure is the application of firm pressure to specific points of the body to relieve tight muscles, increase circulation, and boost endorphins.  It stems from traditional Chinese medicine and is based on the belief that the body is interconnected  by different channels of energy, called Qi, and if one or more of these channels get blocked, illness and pain develops. Acupressure is the practice of breaking up these energy blockages, thereby allowing for energy to flow freely again. Some of the most common ailments treated with acupressure include pain, stress, insomnia, fatigue, and digestive conditions.

How to perform acupressure

The great thing about acupressure is that you can do it yourself! Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Using the pads of one or more fingers, apply firm pressure in a rotating motion to the specific acupressure points (see below) for 4-5 seconds.

Common acupressure points

Feng chi (aka: GB20 or Gallbladder 20)

Location: On the side of the head below the ear bone, where the head meets the neck

May help with: Headache, low energy

Tai Chong (aka: LV3 or Liver 3)

Location: On top of the foot, between the big toe and second toe, about two fingerbreadths down

May help with: Stress, low back pain

Nei Guan (aka: P6 or Pericardium 6)

Location: Inner forearm, about 3-4 fingerbreadths down from the wrist, centrally located between two tendons

May help with: Upset stomach, headache

Zhong Zhu (aka: TE3 or Triple Energizer 3)

Location: Top side of the hand, space between the 4th and 5th knuckles

May help with: Headache, upper back pain, neck pain

He Gu (aka: LI4 or Large Intestine 6)

Location: Between the base of the index finger and the thumb

May help with: Facial pain, neck pain, stress, headache

End notes

One of the great things about acupressure is that you can do it from anywhere – including from the comfort of your own home! If you suffer from one or more of the ailments above, give acupressure a try!




References and further reading

https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-and-common-acupressure-points/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574337/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5388088/



Top 10 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness




Mindfulness means living in the present moment, taking in your surroundings, and not thinking about tomorrow or what happened yesterday. Being mindful will absolutely maximize the quality of your life, and we personally strive to be more mindful everyday.

Here are our top 10 reasons to practice mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress, including our body’s innate “fight or flight” response.





2. Mindfulness reduces addictive and compulsive tendencies.





3. Practicing mindfulness during a workout greatly improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the exercise.





4. Practicing mindfulness at work increases productivity and efficiency, meaning you can get more done in a shorter amount of time!





5. Mindfulness increases confidence at work and in your social life.





6. Mindfulness leads to clearer thinking to make better decisions.





7. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve relationships with your significant other, friends, family, and at work.





8. Mindfulness improves your memory by increasing attention and focus.





9. Mindfulness prevents overeating and snacking and helps to get you to your ideal weight.





10. Practicing mindfulness increases overall energy and decreases fatigue.





 

7 Benefits of Meditation Backed By Science




There are so many amazing benefits of meditation. Not only does it make you feel good in the moment while meditating, but it also actually changes the way your brain operates, and scientific research has proven it.

You’ve probably heard about all of the elite athletes, business leaders, and other successful people talking about the power of meditation. Here are 7 benefits, backed by science, to help you better understand how a daily meditation practice can improve your life.

 

1. Lowers Stress

“Meditation has been proven to decrease mood disturbances and stress symptoms in both male and female patients…” Read the entire study here

2. Reduces pain

“After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest.” Read the entire study here

 




3. Increases brain grey matter (which helps process information)

“Meditation practice has been shown not only to benefit higher-order cognitive functions but also to alter brain activity. ” Read the entire study here

 

4. Improves happiness

“A short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways.” Read the entire study here



 

5. Improves body awareness

“Results indicated a linear relationship in coherence, with meditators having highest levels… We conclude that the coherence between subjective and cardiac aspects of emotion is greater in those who have specialized training that promotes greater body awareness.” Read entire study here

 




6. Enhanced focus and attention

“Brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.” Read the entire study here

 

7. Improves handling of difficult emotions

“Meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact aggregated declines in cortical structure.” Read entire study here

Break Your Bad Mood With These Quick Tips

Nobody likes to be in a bad mood, but sometimes we inevitably slip into one and it negatively impacts our entire outlook for the day. The good news is that there are simple ways that we can get ourselves out of the bad mood funk and into a more positive mindset!

The first key is to recognize that you are in a bad mood, then you are primed and can follow these 8 tips to get yourself out of it!

 

Listen to music


We all have those songs that remind us of a happy time every time we listen to them. Turn it on, soak it in, and let the music put you back into a positive mindset.


 

Get outside

Nature has a way of calming us and letting us step back from ourselves and into the bigger picture of life. Science has shown that being in nature can help lower blood pressure and your heart rate, a great way to offset a bad mood and turn into a good one!


 

Have a good laugh


Laughter will not only cheer you up instantly, but can also decrease any anxiety you may be having (often a driver to put us in a bad mood). Pull up your favorite funny clip on Youtube, think about a funny memory, or phone a friend that always makes you laugh.


 

Meditate


Taking even just a few minutes to sit in silence while focusing on the breath can quickly take you out of your bad mood funk. Deep diaphragmatic breaths have a way of calming us and can help you lower anxiety.



 

Play with a pet


They don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” for nothing. Pets won’t judge you for being in a bad mood, and at the same time can help you instantly feel happier.


 

Express gratitude

Thinking about the things that you are thankful for in life is an amazing way to flip your mood. Even better, write them down as a “gratitude list” then revisit whenever you’re in a bad mood.


 

Get present

Bad moods can often be attributed to worry about the future and stress about the past. By bringing yourself to the present moment (the time that really only matters anyway) you can “hack” your mind into a more positive state.



Move around


The body and mind are intimately connected, so use that to your advantage. When your mind is failing you with a bad mood, move around your body (jumping jacks, jog in place, shadow box, etc) to release those positive endorphins and put you into a good one!

14 Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration You Should Know




Dehydration is extremely common, it’s probably one of the most common conditions I see in practice. Identifying that you are indeed dehydrated can be tricky because the most common symptoms are often very subtle. Understanding the symptoms of dehydration is extremely important to be able to treat the underlying cause of your symptom and make you feel better quickly and easily.

Below are common signs and symptoms of dehydration:




1. You are not sweating during exercise 

A clue that you might be dehydrated is if you notice that you are not sweating in a workout that typically causes you to be drenched in sweat. This is because when you are dehydrated your body will try to hold onto every last bit of fluid in your body and will not want to give any of it up.



2. Your rings are tight 

If you wear a ring(s) this is an easy way for you to notice that you might be dehydrated. If you feel like your rings are getting tighter, this may be a sign of dehydration due to your body holding onto fluid tightly which means this fluid may spill over into extracellular spaces causing puffiness – very noticeable if you can’t get your ring on or off.



3. You have muscle cramps

Dehydration is one of the most common causes for muscle cramps, most notably in the large muscles such as the calves. This is also a common sign of electrolyte imbalances, notably potassium and sodium, so be sure to be also getting electrolytes from vegetables and fruits.



4. You have dry mouth

Having a dry mouth is very uncomfortable, and a common cause for this is dehydration. Drink a couple glasses of water if this is happening and it should relieve some if not all of the dry feeling.



5. You are thirsty

Having the sensation of thirst is one of the most common signs of dehydration. This is especially true during workouts where you are sweating a ton, so make sure to always keep a water bottle on hand!



6. You have no urge to urinate

If you typically have to urinate every two hours or less, and you are now finding you have no urge to urinate and it’s been three hours, this is definitely a sign of dehydration.



7. You feel bloated and puffy

Dehydration can cause you to feel bloated and puffy and can even make your clothes feel tight. Again, this is due to your body holding onto every last drop of water and retaining all the fluid.



8. You feel constipated

To have a bowel movement, this requires your body to pull in water to the colon both mix with the bowel and to help push out the bowel. Without adequate water, this leaves a harder stool that is also harder to pass through the digestive system.



9. You have dark yellow urine

One of the classic signs of dehydration is dark yellow urine. This is because when you are dehydrated your body wants to hold onto every drop of water, and so when you urinate you will release the least amount of fluid possible, leading to concentration of salts and compounds which gives the urine the characteristic yellow color. This is why normal urine is light yellow because the salts and compounds have been diluted by water to make the urine less concentrated.



10. You feel sick to your stomach

When you are dehydrated, you are likely also lacking in essential electrolytes that are required for basic processes in the body. Nausea is a sign that something is not working correctly in your body and is a very common finding with dehydration.



11. You feel dizzy

Dehydration is a common cause for dizziness which may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain due to the lack of fluid in your body being sent to the brain. This may also be due to electrolyte imbalances that are very common with dehydration, notable sodium and potassium.



12. You have a headache

Dehydration is the most common cause of headache that I see in practice. Any stress on the body that causes an imbalance in the body’s normal function, such as with dehydration, can cause a headache.



13. Your lips are chapped

Having chapped, dry lips may be a sign that you need to drink water. Dry lips indicate a lack of moisture in the lips and mucus membranes, which happens when your body is low on water.



14. You gained weight

If you notice you gained 5 pounds in a day or even a week, this is definitely most likely due to fluid retention and/or constipation. Both are due to dehydration and is a sign you need to drink more water. It may seem counterintuitive to drink more water to decrease fluid retention, but when you are dehydrated your body will cling to every last drop of fluid unlike when you are hydrated and your body is shedding fluids as it should be.



Main takeaway…

If you have one or more of the above signs and symptoms consider the cause being dehydration and start drinking water now! The above symptoms are very common causes for dehydration but may also be signs of other serious conditions and so it is always a good idea to consult with your primary care provider. 



References

  1. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2012/dehydration-signs-and-symptoms.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/
  5. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/73/suppl_2/97/1930742