Dr. Amen: Hi. We’re so glad you’re with us.
What we’re going to talk today is what stress looks like in your life. Now, I often look at her and go, ‘That’s what stress looks like.’ Tana: Okay, for real. So, we often say doctors tell you what to do but nurses show you how to do it.
So that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to tell you what stress looks like and we’re going to give you some very practical strategies to fight it. Dr. Amen: So, stress is actually one of the greatest killers in our society. It’s estimated that 30% of people who go see their primary care physician are actually there for result of stress. Tana: Absolutely. Dr.
Amen: So, could be headaches or tummy aches or in my situation I got tension in the back of my neck or I have trouble sleeping. Tana: Right, but almost every disease including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, almost every disease that we know of is made worse or aggravated by unmanaged stress. Now, let’s be clear. Stress, you can’t avoid stress but do you have the right strategies to manage it and make it so it’s not aggravating you because it decreases your immunity dramatically. Dr.
Amen: Well, an exposure to stress hormones is associated with depression and Cortisol – one of the stress hormones, actually put fat on your belly and has been shown to kill cells in the memory centers of your brain. So I remember a period of time, I went through grief it’s like I had brain fog. I mean, I just couldn’t remember things. One of the most exciting things is that same area, it’s called the hippocampus on the inside of your temporal lobes that affects shrivels and dies you can’t remember anything, but it also has stem cells in that specific area of the brain so that by counteracting stress, you can make it bigger and fatter and think in a more healthy way. Tana: Now, help me out with this because a lot of people think of depression as just being very sad and they think of anxiety as being very upset and uptight but in fact, they’re very closely related. Now, I suffered from depression for a while after I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 23 and I tell you … Dr.
Amen: And they took your thyroid away. Tana: They took my thyroid away. So sometimes it’s related to medical issues and you want to know that. Tip #1: Get your important numbers checked because sometimes it’s connected. You will actually feel physical symptoms connected to, or psychological symptoms connected to your numbers being out of whack. Dr.
Amen: So let’s just talk about that a little bit so that you know what we mean. I mean, we talk about that in our courses but it’s really important to know what your CBC is like, your Complete Blood Count because if your red blood cells are low, people are anemic and they feel stressed, they feel anxious. Tana: And women are very prone to that.
Dr. Amen: And if your thyroid is high or if it’s low, you can feel anxious, stressed or depressed. So, that’s also really critical. Something called C - reactive protein which is a measure of inflammation and when inflammation goes up in your body, brain function goes down and you can feel really stressed and upset.
Tana: Well, and B-vitamins. So simple but so many things deplete them so you have to know that. But the point I wanted to make is that, so with me it was thyroid but it was also psychological after being diagnosed with cancer and having to drop out of school, you know, it was that combination of the physical and the psychological and it sent me into this deep depression along with anxiety and I didn’t really understand what was happening.
So that spinning on thoughts, not being able to sleep at all, all night long, you know having GI upset. So, these are some of the symptoms that you might feel – headaches, fatigue, that wired tired feeling and feeling so upset like it’s so painful. Sometimes you feel like, ‘God, I just can’t get out of my skin.’ It’s just awful.
It’s a terrible, terrible feeling and you want to know and pay attention and recognize when those things are happening. Dr. Amen: Or you might have an ANT attack.
You know from our work we talk about Automatic Negative Thoughts – the thoughts that come into your mind automatically and ruin your day. So it’s just negative thought, negative thought. You’re predicting the worse. You’re focusing on the negative and, you know, I often think of it sometimes like a little mouse on an exercise wheel and the mouse can’t get off. So it begin to spin on these negative thoughts and then virtually everywhere you look, something’s not right, something’s wrong, something is making you afraid. Tana: Now, there’s no question you need to see someone get this assessed. Oftentimes, you need some professional help but what’s really exciting is that, in addition to that professional help that you may need, you can either be making this worse or making this better every single day because everything you put on the end of your fork matters and exercise makes a radical, radical difference in managing stress and depression.
So, for anxiety, there’s like nothing better than exercise and also the food you eat make incredible difference. So if you’re eating a lot of sugar, it’s going to make anxiety and stress much more aggravated. If you have food allergies … Dr. Amen: But better initially. So, what a lot of people don’t know is they end up getting hooked on bread, pasta, potatoes, ice cream because in the short run it raises serotonin and makes you feel good.
The problem is in the long run you become fat and unhappy and you actually become addicted to these foods. So, getting your nutrition right as Tana is talking about is critical. Tana: So let’s give them four practical tips to take away, right now, things that will make them feel immediately better.
So, tip #1 … Dr. Amen: So, #1 is Kill the Ants or the automatic negative thoughts that come into your mind and ruin your day. So what you do is whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous, or out of control, write down what you’re thinking. Start keeping a journal and then ask yourself if the thought is true. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? Tana: Right. Now, I really like to add to this one because it’s so powerful.
I love this. When you focus on gratitude, it literally changes your brain chemistry. We have before and after scans that show when someone, same person focusing on gratitude versus focusing on anger and hate, and the brain looks completely different. So after you write down the thoughts … Dr. Amen: So that’s number 2. So, where you bring your attention determines how you feel. So, if you focus on that negative thing, you’re going to feel negative and stressed.
If you focus on what you’re grateful for or what I really like, focus on who you appreciate and actually tell them, it completely changes the chemistry in your body. Tana: So, in addition to writing down your negative thoughts, write down a few things that you’re really grateful for or people that you’re really grateful for. Dr. Amen: And then let them know that you appreciate them like I appreciate you. So, #3 is exercise.
Tana: So, what I love about exercise is that it’s one of the few things that actually increases both dopamine and serotonin. So that’s exciting because it helps … Dr. Amen: So it helps you focus, gives you motivation and energy and it decreases your worry. I mean,what a great intervention.
Tana: Right. And here’s the thing. I hear so often, ‘I don’t have time to exercise.’ ‘I don’t have an hour every day.’ That’s just an excuse not to do something that you know works. I don’t care if you get up and you go for a 20-minute brisk walk or you just go for a 10-minute sprint. Okay.
It’s anything you do is better than not doing it at all and it’s going to make you feel so much better. Dr. Amen: And what’s number four? Tana: Number four are just some quick nutritional tips.
So we talk about not eating sugar. What we want you to do is focus on smart carbohydrates because they do help to boost serotonin but we don’t want you getting diabetic and obese in the mean time. So things like sweet potatoes are really helpful or some quinoa, you know, maybe some banana with, you know, on a coconut wrap with some almond butter. Those things are going to still help to boost the serotonin, they’re going to calm you down, make you feel really great but they’re not going to make you sick in the process. Dr.
Amen: Well, and one other thing that’s really important with that, if people eat like you teach them to eat, their blood sugar will become stable and they will feel so much better. When your blood sugar drops low, you feel anxious, nervous and panicky. So, diet and mood totally go together. So, kill the ANTs, focus on what you’re grateful for and appreciate the people in your life, exercise and make sure you get your diet right. Tana: So, one more thing. We have a gift for you so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and we have an MP3 download that will help you calm your anxiety.
Dr. Amen: Stay with us.
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