A certain amount of stress is inevitable, but some are more affected by it than others because each individual handles stress differently. Believe it or not, it depends on the type of personality.

Today’s post contains an insightful Stress Test, and not the kind you undergo in a doctor’s office! It’s a series of questions to help you discover whether or not you have a high-stress personality.

While we only have so much control over our external environment, we can control our internal environment, so we’ll also discuss what you can do to take control and minimize the impact of stress in your life and your bones.

Are you ready to evaluate your stress personality? Here we go…

The Stress Quiz

Answer the following questions with Often, Sometimes, or Never. For each “Often” answer, give yourself 10 points. “Seldom” gets 5 points, and “Never” gets zero. Then tally up your response to see where you fall on the “stress spectrum.”

  1. You feel the extreme urge to “win” something, as if each day is a race and you have to come out on top…even if you’re only competing with yourself.
  2. Do you feel guilty if you choose to relax and are not actively accomplishing something?
  3. You like to stick to your lists and plans, and get very discombobulated and frustrated when your day does not go according to plan.
  4. You multitask because you have so much that needs to get done but not enough time to do it.
  5. Do you feel an intense desire to get ahead, to advance, or to achieve?
  6. You don’t want to wait for anything. Even if the situation is not urgent, you feel a sense of urgency and are impatient with waiting. Delays of any sort are very frustrating to you.
  7. You find yourself forgetting appointments, commitments, and events, and when you do remember, you arrive late.
  8. You feel driven to get work done all the time, to the point that you miss out on time with family and friends.
  9. You are very competitive and tend to compare yourself to others.
  10. You find yourself feeling anxious when you have down time, or spend time trying to have fun…you just aren’t able to enjoy it.

Check Your Stress Test Score

If you scored between 100 and 75, you most likely have a high-stress personality. For you, the damaging effects of stress, such as bone loss, exhaustion, and sugar cravings are more severe than for those with a lower stress score.

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, it pays to learn some stress-busting techniques, discussed below.

So What Can You Do To Lessen The Stress?

Just because you have a high-stress personality does not mean you can’t decrease the effects of stress on your life. Think about it – it’s actually good news that the problem resides in your perceptions, because the solution is there as well!

Here are some practical steps you can take to change your perception of stress and experience relief.

  • Take time to be thankful. It can be amazingly helpful to take a few minutes a day – preferably in the evening before you go to bed – and note at least three good things that happened that day. This exercise trains your mind to deliberately seek out the positive, and you’ll find yourself discovering happiness in things you never even noticed before.
  • Learn something new as often as you can. It may not be every day, but several times a week, make a point of learning a new word, reading a new book, researching a topic of interest, etc. Your hippocampus, the area of the brain that holds and creates memories, may actually atrophy under chronic stress. So keeping this area stimulated with pleasant, memorable activities and thoughts can help ease the effects of stress on your brain.
  • Drink relaxing herbal teas, such as chamomile. In addition to promoting relaxation and healthful sleep, chamomile has the added benefit of being good for your bones.
  • Go to bed earlier. Sufficient rest is crucial in reducing the ravages of stress. It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep if you’re too stressed to relax, so drink your cup of chamomile or your favorite caffeine-free tea about an hour before bedtime. And try make that hour earlier.
  • Take a realistic perspective about life. For example, how important is it, really, that you work so many hours? What are you gaining, and what will you have to show for it? Sometimes it really helps to just stop and evaluate, and realize that a lot of the pressure you feel is self-generated.
  • Exercise regularly to reduce stress and build your bones. Reducing stress in general drops cortisol levels and promotes healthy bone rejuvenation, and adding exercise into the mix just adds even more healthful stress-busting and bone-building.

The Science Behind Exercise And Stress

For some time, scientists have observed that exercise reduces stress; but how this happens in the body is uncertain.

One theory is that exercise produces endorphins. However, some researchers suggest that norepinephrine, a different neuromodulator, is the brain chemical behind this phenomenon.

Norepinephrine regulates the better-known neurotransmitters, including those that are directly involved in the brain’s and body’s stress response. Norepinephrine’s strength seems to lie in its ability to help the body respond to and cope with stress.

Studies have shown that:

“…stressors activate brain norepinephrine systems in animals and acutely deplete brain levels of norepinephrine. …When stress is chronic, synthesis of norepinephrine is increased so that brain concentrations are preserved… Effects of exercise resemble those of other forms of stress.”1

So in a very real way, exercise trains the body to deal with stress. The physical stress of gravity and muscle on bone stimulates growth and strength, essentially “teaching” the body how to react under the load.

Also, regular exercise opens up communication between all body systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, renal, etc. This “paves the way” for communication under stress, thus helping your body effectively deal with stimuli that might otherwise stress you out.

Like the “good stress” of weight-bearing exercise that stimulates bone density, so the positive stress of exercise strengthens your response and buffers the effects of external stressors.

Regular Exercise Does Not Have To “Stress You Out”

You might think that you have to join a gym or hire a personal trainer to get the kind of exercise you need to balance and ease your stress response. And ironically, that may sound too stressful to undertake!

But actually, with an in-home, stress-busting, bone-strengthening workout program like the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you can start your exercise routine anytime, anywhere. Densercise has a 60-day money-back guarantee, too, so if you’re not satisfied, you can simply get a refund.

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Densercise™ definitely takes the stress out of the process of implementing an exercise routine; but it keeps the positive stress in, so fracture-prone areas are directly targeted for density increase and strength. And of course, the healthful systemic stress that teaches your body to cope is also part of the package!

I’d love to hear some stress-busting techniques you have implemented successfully. Please comment and share with the community!

Till next time,

References:

1 Salmon, Peter. “Effects of Physical Exercise on Anxiety, Depression, and Sensitivity to Stress: a Unifying Theory.” In Clinical Psychology Review. 2001. Vol. 21, pages 33-61. ISSN: 0272-7358. PDF. http://ulib.derby.ac.uk/ecdu/CourseRes/dbs/currissu/Salmon_P.pdf

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. Tina

    I scored 15. I guess that pretty good!

  2. Frances

    I scored 75 in the stress quiz so hopefully will start to implement some of the suggested relaxation techniques.I like chamomile tea with some added honey so that may be a good starting point. I also like the three good things idea. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Frances. And implementing one or two suggestions from the list above is a great way to start. 🙂

  3. LM

    Do you have more details on how taking boniva is related to AFIB?

  4. Rosemary Lambert

    Love the 3 good things idea. It might be fun to keep a 3 good things a day journal. Of course it shouldn’t cause you to feel like you must record it everyday if you are too tired, but it’d be fun to write it down when you felt up to it. You could also add pictures, photos, artwork.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s a wonderful idea, Rosemary – sort of a “good things scrap book.” 🙂

  5. sue

    I have stenosis of Lumbar spine and osteoporosis. They want to use Forteo before doing surgery. I am very afraid of the forteo and also of the surgery for 2 spinal fusions. Who do I turn to?

  6. Nancy Walker

    Is Evista sometimes given for bad bones?
    Or – what is it prescribed for what condition?

    • Bev

      Nancy, my doctor prescribed Evista for my bones after I stopped the low dose estrogen because I started having nausea and rapid weight gain. I went through menopause more than 10 years ago, and I felt like i was pregnant. I had to stop the Evista because it was causing severe hot flashes. I remember reading that severe hot flashes mean that you are also losing more bone, which I certainly do not need. I had my L-5 vertebrae collapse spontaneously when I was 56 years old, which is how I found out that I had osteoporosis, just five years after going through menopause. I am convinced the Osteoporosis Reversal Program is the way to go. My doctor also confirmed that women lose most of their bone mass the first five years after menopause, then the bone loss slows down and stabilizes. Everyone is different, so it is important to listen to your body, and read up on osteoporosis and all the treatments and how they work. Be sure to ask a lot of questions. One of the osteo specialists that I saw wanted to immediately put me on a Reclast infusion. When I asked how it worked to build bones, and if I could have more information, he said, “We don’t really know, and we don’t have much information about it.” I told him, “And you want to administer that to me intervenously?! No thanks!” I then went home and looked it up on WebMD, and read over 1200 reviews from women who had taken Reclast. With the exception of only 8 reviews, all of the women or their family members who had the infusion suffered moderate to severe side effects, ranging from kidney failure to death! I never went back to that specialist, who, essentially would have used me as a guinea pig. There’s a lot of information to sift through, but, for your own good, please do the research.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Well said, Bev!

  7. Anne

    I completed the quiz and scored 10, but as I am retired, with no family responsibilities currently, family grown up and left the country, this was no surprise to me. However, I do list the 3 good things that happen to me each day, and take a lot of exercise, including currently training for a half marathon, and find that running and swimming are good exercise for stress prevention. Thank you very much for your good advice.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m glad this was enlightening for you, Anne. And it sounds like you’re doing a good job of managing your stress.

  8. Alice Hopkins

    I stopped Actonel after 5 years 3 yeas go. Bone density worsened, hip 5%. -3.5 Wrist is -5.4. I was accidently pushed to ground and fractured left hip, which was repaired with 2 screws. After 4 day full wt bearing had avulsion lesser trochanter. which healed after two month no-partial wt bearing. Endochrinologist wants me to start Forteo. do to the bone specific blood work results. I have followed your diets and letters. Reading about Forteo I’m frightened. 1:4 million osteosarcoma FDA admits there were several cases 1:4 million. Should I risk it for one year, what medical alternative alternative do I have?

  9. Muriel

    Thank you for these tips. My problem is worrying (I have family with severe problems) and I suppose that the response to this is similar to a stress inducing personality & work and I know that it must be bad for my bones. I have difficulty in trying to switch off the worrying, when you really care about people it is hard. However, I think that these tips will help a bit, I do try to meditate a bit but could do more. I really dislike the taste of chamomile tea though …

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I hope you’re able to implement some of these strategies, Muriel. If you don’t care for chamomile, lemon balm tea is another calming herb that makes a very palatable tea. 🙂

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