10 Powerful Ways To Conquer Bone-Damaging Stress
Has a doctor ever scared you? Have you ever felt intimidated by a medical professional who was insisting you follow a course of treatment that’s mainly focused on prescription drugs? Has a diagnosis ever been delivered in a way that left you feeling frightened, shaken or disoriented?
Unfortunately, it’s a tactic used by some well-meaning doctors to get their way, without giving you the option of taking control your health.
In sharp contrast, the Save Institute is dedicated to providing the information and resources that the Medical Establishment doesn’t share. And we know full well that it’s also important to address the emotional impact of a diagnosis that confirms a ‘disease’, such as osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Today we’ll look at 10 effective ways to recover the calm, the positivity, and the self-assuredness than can be stunted by the shock of an osteoporosis (or other) diagnosis.
It’s Not Just In Your Head
How you feel really matters. Emotions, as much as they seem intangible, are rooted in the physical, neurological, and hormonal systems of your body. And the way that you feel isn’t even the final result; the changes to those systems that create the experience of your emotions have a physical impact on your body as well.
When you experience stress, regardless of its source, your adrenal glands start to produce cortisol. In a normal situation, in which something stressful arises and your body releases cortisol, the hormone helps your body to overcome the situation and then cortisol levels go back down. That’s a good thing.
But if this happens too much, if the stress is ongoing, your cortisol levels remain elevated, leaving other systems shortchanged for the energy, resources and attention they need. Cortisol is known to steal potassium from bone cells and reduce intestinal absorption of calcium.1
Plus, cortisol is acidifying, meaning it directly contributes to the acid/alkaline imbalance that leads to bone loss.
The Downward Spiral
When you’re chronically stressed and you’ve crossed the line that divides cortisol being useful to your body and entered the stage in which cortisol is harmful, in addition to the detriments described above, the hormone weakens your immune system.
You see, stress hormones interfere with the communication between the cells of your endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. This is a result of their impact on the thymus, the gland where lymphocytes are produced. You might know lymphocytes by their common name: white blood cells. On top of disrupting the production of white blood cells, stress hormones also inhibit the production of the substances that stimulate their activity: cytokine and interleukin.
So while cortisol and other stress hormones are not the direct cause, they weaken your body’s defense system which can allow pathogens to take hold.
Reducing Stress To Break The Cycle
Fortunately, you have the power to consciously prevent excess stress by engaging (or not engaging!) in certain actions. I’ve compiled ten powerful ways for reducing stress, improving mood, and shaking off the negative feelings that can get their start in the sterile and too often threatening environment of a doctor’s office.
1. Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings
This is an important first step to combatting a state of mind that most tend to skip over. Just ignoring a feeling, pretending you don’t feel the way you do, is a classic form of “bottling up” your emotions. And like that metaphor suggests, it doesn’t help your feelings change or dissipate. It just pressurizes them for a later explosion.
It’s normal to feel stressed, negative, depressed and frustrated every once in a while. That’s a part of being human, and we all know that life has its ups and downs.
But it’s important to not obsess over your negative feelings. If you keep thinking about them, you’ll create a negative feedback loop that will consume your energy uselessly. So once you’ve acknowledged how you’re feeling and given yourself permission to feel the way you feel, take a moment to direct your attention somewhere else.
One way to do this is taking a few minutes to sit still and focus on deep breathing. Just observe the way you breathe, and focus on the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body. Make sure you’re breathing down into your abdominal cavity, and not up into your chest. You can read more about bone healthy breathing here.
Another possibility is to dedicate a few minutes to observing what’s going on outside of yourself. Look out the window and just mentally make note of everything you see: the colors of the dresses of the people passing by, the direction the wind is blowing, the temperature of the air, and the warmth of the sun.
Now you’ve given yourself the space to be where you are, without fixating on the problem. You’re ready to start trying some of the next actions.
2. Bring What’s Inside, Outside
While you’ve acknowledged your feelings and escaped your own head, those feelings and the sources are still swirling around inside. Find a release for them.
This can be as easy as talking to someone: a spouse, a friend, a therapist, a neighbor. And if you just need to put your feelings to words and be heard by an open ear, let your listener know that’s what you’re looking for.
Some people prefer writing to speaking, especially if social interactions make them feel stressed. A journal, a scrap notepad, or a computer screen can serve the purpose equally well. Writing about your feelings can be a powerful ritual to identify exactly what is bothering you, and then being able to close the book, crumple the paper, or file it away.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes, And Value The Learning
There will always be bumps along the way. Don’t let setbacks knock you off course, and don’t feel like you’re a failure because you didn’t accomplish a goal perfectly the first time.
Every time something goes wrong, you learn from it. That learning is valuable, so don’t dismiss a mistake or a misstep as useless. Embrace what you now know, and use it to march forward! If you’re too scared of making a mistake, you’ll never take action at all, and the stress of worrying about potential mistakes is probably making the situation worse.
Get specific about it. Specify what you’ve learned by a situation gone awry and put it in words to yourself, to someone else, or on paper. Then make a note of how you can avoid that pitfall next time. You’ll get back on track more prepared than you were last time, and without the stress of fearing you’ve gained nothing along the way.
4. Redirect Your Line Of Sight
Sometimes, when certain life events are getting you down, it winds up feeling like a train wreck that you just can’t stop watching. The traffic of your life can snarl to a stop as you keep rubbernecking at the one thing that isn’t going well. So get back on the highway and stop gawking at a source of stress.
Intentionally take a moment to examine some parts of your life that are going well. These can be tiny, large, tangible or intangible. It could be the houseplant that’s flourishing, the volunteer position where you’re deeply valued, your consistent exercising for your bones, or your great taste in shoes! Even the fact that you’re consciously taking a moment to use this strategy is one new habit that you’re accomplishing. Focusing on those parts of your life will distract you from the source of stress and get you moving forward again.
5. Consider The How, Not The Why
Thinking is easy. And when we’re stressed we get caught in that nasty feedback loop of thinking about why we’re stressed, then feeling stressed about feeling stressed, and so on.
Instead of dwelling on why you feel stressed (which may not be a factor under your control), think about how you can change the way you feel. Outline for yourself the small steps you’ll take to improve your mood and leave the stress behind.
By doing this, you can escape the paralyzing feedback loop of self-analysis and get refocused on actionable steps that will lead you to a better place.
6. Appreciate The Simple Things
When you’re feeling tempted to give in to feelings of sadness or stress, fight back by articulating some things you can be thankful for. These can be incredibly simple. In fact, sometimes appreciating things we too often take for granted is the most impactful redirection of energy.
You might take a moment to inwardly (or outwardly!) express your gratitude that you have drinkable water, that you have food to eat, that you have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in, that you live in a place not under continuous threat of war or famine or disease.
7. When Bad Things Happen, Know That They’ll Most Likely Improve
Sometimes it feels like everything is at rock bottom. Different problems converge and make each other worse. Stress becomes overwhelming and it doesn’t feel like things will ever get better.
Check in with what you already know: if you’re at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. Sometimes things have to get rough before we can muster the will to tackle the challenge of changing them. Remember that circumstances can and will change, like they always do, and that your desire to make things better will steer that change in the right direction.
8. Get Active
Sometimes the key to escaping worry is to get active. Keeping busy and active is important, and sometimes the ‘doing’ itself is more important that what you’re doing. Create some habits that help you move forward every day.
Set yourself a few simple goals and write them down. Once you’ve accomplished them, check them off your list. Subdivide larger tasks into smaller steps that you can complete one by one. This may help you to get started and avoid feeling paralyzed by how much you have to do.
9. Get Specific About What’s Real
It’s easy to get lost in a nightmarish web of hypothetical situations. Vague fears, and what-ifs can overwhelm you and leave you stressed and inactive. Falling down the well of imagined disaster scenarios can create more problems than whatever triggered the fears to begin with.
Ask yourself honestly: what is the worst realistic outcome?
Once you’ve nailed down the actual worst possibility you’ll probably find it’s not as bad as the monsters your brain conjured when you let it run wild. Now you can assess how to avoid that outcome, and what you’ll do if it does happen. Having a worst-case plan can help you stave off the anxiety that makes it more likely to happen.
10. Get Physical
Often the best way to calm the mind is to engage the body. Leave your worries behind by occupying yourself with an activity that has positive benefits: exercise.
For example, you could go for a walk or a jog; maybe it’s throwing a frisbee with a friend or partner in the park; or maybe it’s joining a yoga or dance class. Exercise improves mood by releasing endorphins and directly reducing cortisol levels. Plus the benefits to your cardiovascular, muscular, and immune systems all work together to keep you feeling good.
When you’re fighting the stress that deteriorates bone, exercise is a particularly impactful response, because of the benefits of exercise to bone health. When you engage in weight-bearing and other targeted exercises, the muscular force that is applied to your bones actually stimulates new bone growth.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System was created to provide the maximum stimulation for bone growth. If concerns about osteoporosis or osteopenia are part of what causes stress in your life, then Densercise™ can help assuage your negative feelings in multiple ways. Not only does it offer the stress reducing benefits that all physical exercise offers, but it’s directly and efficiently addressing the source of your concern.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
I hope that these suggestions prove useful, and that you remember that you’re not alone on this journey! We’re all experiencing the ups and downs that are a normal part of life. And if you’re reading this, you’re already well on your way!
Till next time,
1 Adinoff, Allen D., M.D. and Hollister, Roger J., M.D. “Steroid-Induced Fractures and Bone Loss in Patients with Asthma.” New England Journal of Medicine. August 4, 1983. 309:265-268. Web. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198308043090502