Unravel the Moods from Stress



In her book on yoga and depression, Amy Weintraub makes this statement, and I agree with her:

Managing your breath equals managing your mood. 

We are now inundated with the importance of breathing.  The yoga community and now the medical community are all supporting breath as a key to optimal health.  What is the big deal?

The January 24, 2012 Wall Street Journal article looked at the positive influences that non-harmful stress can have.  It is that feeling of being pumped up a bit, excited in a positive way that can increase blood flow to the brain and limbs.  However, we are unable to turn it off.  Stress envelops us producing harmful consequences to our health. 

Martin Rossman, a clinical instructor at the University of California Medical School explains:  People under harmful stress lose the ability to re-engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which drives the body's day-to-day natural functions, including digestion and sleep. While individuals vary in how long they can tolerate chronic stress, research shows it sharply increases the risk of insomnia, chronic disease and early death.

What this is telling us is that the moods swings propelled by stress can be controlled and we are the ones that have that power.  The sad thing is that many of us would prefer to simply take some medication to take care of the problem.  Yes, we need help with symptoms produced by stress but even the best medicine will not help if we are not proactive. 

There are many simple techniques that are effective and they do not cost a dime or take much time.  This is why I began Custom Calm-to make it attainable and easy to learn how to live with the ups and downs of stress, because stress is a fact of life. 

Why not give it a try?

Let me know in the comments below how you deal with stress?  What kind of impact do your moods have on your life?

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Psychological Benefits: Cancer Patients and Their Caregivers

Study:  Psychological benefits for Cancer Patients and their partners of Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).   Authors: Birnie, K.,Garland, S.N. & Carlson, L.E. (2010)

Cancer patients experience many negative psychological symptoms including stress, anxiety and depression.   The patients loved ones also experience these challenges.

Objective:  To measure the impact of and 8-week MBSR program for 21 couples.

Results:  Significant reductions for both patients and partners in mood disturbance and the Calgary Symptoms of Stress Inventory sub-scales of muscle tension, neurological and upper respiratory symptoms were observed after program participation.

Conclusions: Significant increases in mindfulness were reported in both groups.  

Overall, the MBSR program was helpful for improving psychological functioning and mindfulness for both members of the couples.

Custom Calm founder, Ellen Sichel has trained with the originators of Mindful Based Stress Reduction and incorporates many of the techniques used into Custom Calm programs.  The practices are non-invasive and easy to learn, offering lifelong support for both patients and their loved ones. 

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Research to Help Depression and Anxiety

A research article from 2007 focused on The World Health Organization’s reports that depression and anxiety disorders are associated with low GABA levels, which are the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Studies done by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga elevated GABA levels.  They measured subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga and found a 27% increase in GABA levels.  

“The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage”  Perry Renshaw MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

The implementation of practices that lower symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety bring tremendous hope to the individual suffering. They are empowered to participate in their health and that is the focus on Custom Calm practices.

Participation in yoga compliments and supports medical treatment, and the medical community continues to provide evidence that yoga has a significant impact on brain function.

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Studies find Link between Stress and Illness

Can stress make you sick?

The Stay Healthy section in Parade magazine, October 2009,  Dr. Ranit Mishori connects stress with:

  • Heart,
  • Weight
  • Skin
  • Headaches
  • Wound Healing
  • Risk of depression
  • Common Cold
  • Influenza
  • Increased Symptoms of Chronic Illness

One reason stress is so harmful:  When stressed, our body reacts with the Fight or Flight response, increasing adrenaline, which is needed when you are in danger, but living with increased adrenaline for daily stress will result in increased blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar.

Dr. Elissa Epel notes that ongoing stress will change the protein output of our DNA, affecting our very core.

When you have ongoing stress- the kind you face when you are experiencing marital problems, caring for a sick relative, financial, or work- influences your ability to function, weakening a person’s immune system, increasing susceptibility to illness and certain cancers associated with viruses.

The good news is there are various ways to cope with stress, outside of medications- exercise; calming techniques like meditation are ways to manage stress.

 The article concludes with:  Taking these routes to “chilling out” is well worth the effort.

Custom Calm practices get to the core of stress relief, rather than addressing the symptoms to manage stress.  These practices do more than “chill out”, but rather teaching how to incorporate sustainable tools in your daily living, improving well-being.


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