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.”
- 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.
- Do you feel guilty if you choose to relax and are not actively accomplishing something?
- You like to stick to your lists and plans, and get very discombobulated and frustrated when your day does not go according to plan.
- You multitask because you have so much that needs to get done but not enough time to do it.
- Do you feel an intense desire to get ahead, to advance, or to achieve?
- 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.
- You find yourself forgetting appointments, commitments, and events, and when you do remember, you arrive late.
- You feel driven to get work done all the time, to the point that you miss out on time with family and friends.
- You are very competitive and tend to compare yourself to others.
- 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,
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