STRESS: Why You Must Have Balance — Part 2
Dear Longevity Insider,
What is your tipping point?
Our stress response is important no matter what is going on in our lives. We all know it is useful when we are in danger or need a boost to get us through a workout. Hormones are released, our heart rate speeds up, our respiratory rate increases and our liver produces more glucose to give us energy. Our bodies are experts at keeping us on high alert when we need it.
However, this alert is designed to be occasional and temporary. What happens when stress becomes chronic and our bodies become overwhelmed by the constant state of vigilance? The accumulation of hormones and chemical messengers increases something called your allostatic load, or the wear and tear of stress on your body and brain. On page 73 of The Longevity Equation, I indicate that “An allostatic state is when your body is trying to deal with the fallout of stressors to try to reach a state of homeostasis. Over time, a heavy allostatic load will cause serious disruptions in the body.”
I continue with, “Keep in mind that though most stressors impose no real immediate danger, your body treats them as if they are serious life-or-death situations and prepares to fight or run away. This means that every time you encounter stress... your body prepares to deal with a dangerous situation. In turn, the stress hormones overpower the body and increase your allostatic load.”
Shifting the scales
There are little things we can do every day to counter the overwhelm and accumulation in our nervous systems. Here are a few suggestions:
- Call a friend: Research shows that social support can help to mediate many factors that contribute to mental health and can help us develop coping strategies.
- Get outside: A 2010 multi-study analysis showed, “Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood; the presence of water generated greater effects.”
- Listen to music: A large-scale review at McGill University found that music reduces stress and even improves the immune system!
- Read our two-part series on mindfulness (here and here) for even more insight!
How can The Institute for Human Optimization assist me?
We believe that each person is truly unique. From DNA to iris, we all possess a blueprint that is genetically inherited and environmentally influenced. By gaining a deeper appreciation for the person on a molecular level and addressing the root causes driving disease, we can help promote optimized health through our unique scientific, N of 1, approach to individualized care.
At The Institute for Human Optimization, my team and I leverage the most cutting-edge advances in genetic testing, nutritional, and functional medicine to help our patients treat the root biological imbalances that cause aging. I believe that a long healthspan – not just a long lifespan – is the most important thing you can cultivate. A long healthspan means you don’t miss out on life as you get older. It means remaining independent and having the vitality to travel and see the world. A long healthspan means that you can be there – in full body and mind – for the people who need you the most and that every day will feel like a gift.
The Institute for Human Optimization provides the most comprehensive, data-driven, personalized approach to wellness. It is:
- Predictive – We use genomics and advanced biomarker testing to risk stratification and empowerment.
- Personalized – We use data-driven health information to curate actionable change for disease mitigation and prevention.
- Preventive – We utilize highly individualized programs tailored to your unique genomic blueprint.
- Participatory – We empower engagement in personal choices, which allows for improved outcomes and enhanced results.
Let’s work together to find that balance!
To your longevity,
Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ