Even Mild Anxiety Could Shorten Your Life
The importance of coping with stress is not just a quality of life issue. It’s also a quantity of life issue.
We all know chronic stress isn’t good for our health. But an important new study shows how devastating it can be and why you need to be vigilant and know your options. This recently published research in the journal BMJ (British Medical Journal) reveals that even normal levels of stress will increase the likelihood of dying by 20% over a 10-year period.
This long-term study, the results of 68,000 people filling out questionnaires in England’s National Health Surveys, reveals more disturbing results: It concluded that people with only mild stress are about 29% more likely to die of heart disease or stroke than people who reported none. Those with moderate stress levels are 43% more likely to die of any cause. And people with high stress levels were 94% more likely to die during the 10-year study.
Stress Relief Options
So what can you do to deal with your stress and anxiety? The usual recommendations include meditation, medication, biofeedback, more exercise, regular sleep times and reduction of risk factors for heart disease. But there are challenges with these modalities.
First off, other than sleeping regularly, all these techniques require time and effort, both of which are often in scarce supply. Paradoxically, trying to follow these regimens might actually increase your stress. And even if someone does achieve relaxation using these techniques, it’s often difficult to integrate that relaxation into daily life.
But there is another way…and a quick one at that. It might not be a panacea for stress, but it’s certainly a good start. And a simple one. Just smile.
It doesn’t even have to be a genuine smile. Even a forced one is effectively contributes to a lower heart rate and blood pressure, leads to easier breathing, feeling more relaxed and emotional resilience. It’s another example of the intimate mind/body connection. Your body just naturally reacts to the stimulation of your facial muscles. It’s not so different from feeling less depressed and more dignified when we stand up straight.
While the momentary stress relief of a smile is a start a more enduring choice for stress relief is LENS Neurofeedback. All you have to do is sit down and close your eyes for a few seconds at a time. A sensor tracks your brainwaves and sends back an extremely brief (1/100th of a second) and tiny (hundreds of times less than a cell phone) radiofrequency. This signal is a mirror image of your own brainwave pattern plus an offset. This causes is a slight fluctuation in your own brainwaves and the brain gets out of its frozen, stuck patterns and relaxes. After a number of sessions this more relaxed brain becomes this state of mind we naturally come back to, even under trying circumstances. This is the only treatment I know that’s even easier than smiling.