What in the world has stress to do with diabetes? And why more prevalent in women?
Okay, there is some new research in this area and there are some important general facts and considerations.
General stress factors for women
Let’s first take a look at the general facts around stress and diabetes. In the most general way the medical community has told us that stress is the cause or an aggravating factor in about 80% of disease.
That alone tells us that stress increases the risk of illness. More specifically, the stress hormones cause the liver to immediately push more glucose into the bloodstream.
Why does that happen? Because in a situation of danger our automatic survival response is to fight or run for our life. Therefore our survival brain wants to make sure there is enough fuel for the muscles to help us survive. In today’s world even a mild level of stress in the office without the need to run or fight will unfortunately increase the amount of sugar the liver puts into our bloodstream. Over time that will cause an environment to support the development of diabetes type II.
Women appeared to be a bit more susceptible to these low levels of constant stress. They also tend to help themselves to some little treats to have some sweetness in their stressful lives. Biologically, women have already more body fat than men and their love for sweets combined with stress make it worse. Obesity is also a factor in diabetes type II.
Another important factor in the amount of stress we feel in a work situation depends on the amount of control we have on the job. Women on average have less control and lower pay at work. That also makes them feel more stress than men in similar positions despite the progress which has been made thus far.
New research supports these general factors
Canadian researchers followed over 7000 workers for 12 years to analyze their working hours and health. They found that the amount of working hours did not have any effect on men. But women who worked over 45 hours per week had a 51% higher chance to get diabetes when compared to women who worked only 35 to 40 hours per week (Mahee Gilbert-Ouimet, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto). This clearly shows how women are at greater risk when it comes to stress and health.
Increased risk of diabetes is another important reason to learn and use the only “real-time” stress management method available today. You can use SciStress techniques anytime and anywhere at work or at home for an immediate effect of reducing stress and improving your performance.
If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to send them to us:
Enjoy a low stress life with SciStress!
Fred and Judy
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng, Stress Reduction Coach, Business Process Improvement & Productivity Specialist
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
WHY Scientific Stress Management
Stress drains energy
We feel stressed and our body instantly begins to work overtime. It gets ready for “fight or flight”. This preparation consumes enormous amounts of energy. The nervous system switches from parasympathetic mode, or relaxation, where we perform most effectively, to sympathetic mode or stress mode. The result is a whole combination of physical and mental changes to prepare for “a survival emergency”. This automatic response drains our energy and focuses away from our current tasks, from what we want to accomplish now.
Stress blocks performance
When our nervous system switches on the stress response and moves to sympathetic mode our performance immediately suffers. Our thinking becomes foggy as up to 70% of the blood flow is reduced to our thinking brain, the prefrontal lobes of the neocortex. The feeling of pressure and anxiety translates in a predisposition to react aggressively or defensively. Our muscles become tense and twitchy causing back aches, headaches and migraines. We tend to tunnel vision. We feel restless and irritable.
Stress sabotages health and well-being
The stress reaction causes a whole cocktail of physical changes. They are only useful when we are in a true life or death situation. Frequent stress reactions in normal life will cause increasingly detrimental effects to our health. Stress instantly increases blood pressure and heart rate. Ongoing levels of high stress will therefore predispose us for chronically high blood pressure and heart disease. It causes our liver to pump more glucose into the bloodstream which over time opens the door to diabetes.
Stress will slow down digestion causing indigestion and bloating. The stress hormone cortisol makes us grave sugar and fat. This inevitably leads to bad food choices and over-eating. Resulting obesity reduces lifespan and invites a whole new set of diseases. Long-term exposure to stress will even change the structures of our chromosomes. It will shorten telomeres and thereby accelerate aging.
HOW Can New Scientific Stress Management Help?
Modern stress management is faster and more effective than any conventional methods. It is based on the neuroscience. Better yet, these tools are easy to learn and easy to use. They can be applied anywhere and at any time. You can use them at work and at home, in the car or on the plane, during a stressful phone call or luncheon meeting. You will feel the effects clearly in a short time. These stress management tools can be applied to any problem physical or mental. Results last longer, often are permanent and can even prevent future stress. And it’s easy to train groups of people, large or small.
You are fast becoming skeptical. That’s very natural. How can so much be accomplished so quickly? How could the tools be helpful for so many kinds of problems? And how could such powerful tools be learned so easily?
Important questions. They deserve clear and unequivocal answers.
Switching quickly to parasympathetic, relaxed mode, changes all the body’s and the brain’s functions. Instead of the toxic cocktail of stress reactions the nervous system switches to a symphony of positive changes. These changes counteract the negative effects of stress on performance, health and well-being.
WHAT Are the Tools to Make this Happen?
What is SciStress scientific stress management?
SciStress provides natural tools to quickly induce changes in neural functioning. They are based on rhythmic tapping on sensitive acupressure points on the body. This tapping generates electrical impulses which the nervous system immediately transmits to the stress centers of the brain. These rhythmic signals are not compatible with the typical survival signals which generate stress. Therefore, the stress centers switch off the survival alarm. The nervous system returns naturally to the parasympathetic relaxation mode of functioning.
What happens to the thinking brain and the rest of the body?
Immediately more blood and oxygen returns to our prefrontal lobes. Our thinking is clear again. Our memory becomes unfrozen. Tunnel vision recedes. Our focus broadens. Aggressive or defensive overreactions dissipate as adrenaline levels drop. Muscles relax and any tension induced headaches or backaches ease away. Blood pressure, blood sugar and pulse rate levels return to normal.
Do you have to tell everyone about your problems? Is this some kind of therapy?
Absolutely not. These powerful tools are used by each individual by themselves and for themselves. Even when you work with the tools in a group or with a coach your privacy can be fully maintained. Don’t you have to tell your coach or other people in a group what your stress inducing problems are? Again, absolutely not. Even when you work with a coach on very intensive stress issues you do not have to disclose what they are! The tools are perfect for effective self management.
Obviously, in a coaching or training situation you can talk about what issues cause your stress. An experienced coach may then be able to help relate your experience to that of others and how they solved it. In a team situation you may help other team members by discussing your stress issues. However, this is always your personal choice. You do not have to disclose your issues in order to apply the techniques successfully. You alone make this choice.
Outcomes: Results of Scientific Research
A significant body of research is available. This is true in spite of a lack of funding for these new techniques by either institutions or government. This research shows consistent and fast improvements in anxieties. Anxieties inhibit performance. Here are some related outcomes:
Further areas of effectiveness identified by research:
Outcomes: Case Studies and Practical Experience
Over 8000 case studies have been recorded demonstrating the effectiveness of the tapping techniques in virtually any problem area, any distress and even many diseases. A few example are:
Again, how can this be possible? Because the rhythmic tapping signals are transmitted directly to the stress causing survival functions of the subconscious part of the brain. That part of the brain initiates the “fight or flight” survival response. If that fight or flight response is mild, feelings of stress and discomfort are also mild, sometimes barely noticeable. Yet even these light reactions surreptitiously affect performance and well-being. If this survival response is powerful, then the feelings of distress, pain and discomfort are also powerful, at times overwhelming. In those instances we cannot function successfully or in the extreme cannot function at all.
What is the the most central and powerful element of brain and nervous system? It’s the survival function! It affects everything in body and mind. We wouldn’t have survived as a species without it. Therefore, the ability to calm this response will also affect everything in body and mind!
The Vision for a Healthy, Thriving Organization
How can such easy to use natural tools help an organization, small or large, be healthy and thriving? Because when the cells of the body are healthy the whole body becomes healthy. Because when the employees of an organization are healthy and function at their best the whole organization is healthier and functions optimally.
Imagine the health of your employees steadily improving as they manage their stress levels with ease. They can reduce any stress during their day-to-day work without taking more than a few minutes. Imagine overwhelm, burnout, and resistance to change gently receding week after week. Imagine absenteeism and healthcare costs steadily decreasing month after month.
Imagine the performance of your team steadily increasing. As your team members and employees continuously reduce the inhibitors to their performance with ease, what will that mean for your organization? Can you see enthusiasm rising? Can you see results improving while your employees stress level drops. Can you see the instances of “dis-stress” gently transforming to positive “eu-stress”? Can you envision the freed up energy and creativity?
Imagine your management team further improving their focus, their communication amongst themselves and their employees, and their performance without increasing pressure and stress. Imagine how this can make their lives at home with families and friends better. Imagine the possibilities to bring this to your schools, your civic organizations and into your communities.
How can we make this vision a reality together?
There is research and the vast body of experience with individuals. There is an even greater opportunity bringing these powerful tools into organizations. What is missing now is the research to prove and quantify the results in organizations.
If you want to be part of leading this effort, if you want to help prove the results in your organization we urge you to contact SciStress. Together we can lay out simple low cost and low risk pilot studies. We can demonstrate and quantify the benefits for your organization and your team. Your risks are minimal:
Your SciStress Team stands ready to move forward together!
Fred George Sauer, MS, MS Eng, Stress Management Coach, Business Process Improvement & Productivity Specialist, Author
Judith Lynch-Sauer, PhD, RN, Clinical Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
Are you kidding me?
No I’m certainly not kidding! Most organizations handle stress at the door. You are puzzled?
Do you have a job? Then you made it through the door, HIRED!
Corporations and other organizations want to be sure the people they hire can perform and contribute. They checked your record of past work, your education, and your attitude and behavior during the interview process.
Companies don’t really think about that process as keeping stress out. They just look at performance and potential. There are 2 reasons they don’t even think about stress.
Why should you care?
Because it is not enough that you made it through the “Door”. There is always stress at work, at home and everywhere. That’s a normal part of life. In terms of neuroscience the survival programming deep in the subconscious part of your brain will always be challenged. How well you deal with it affects not only your work and career progress. How well you deal with it affects your personal life, health, happiness and your loved ones around you.
That’s why it pays to be alert to how you manage your stress.
Personal stress management - WHY?
First, stress instantly affects your performance. There is less blood and oxygen in the thinking part of your brain. Plus your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline tend to make you either overly aggressive or defensive. The latter happens when you perceive yourself in a situation as powerless. This can happen at work and at home.
Secondly, over time stress sabotages your health. Cortisol keeps you awake and restless at night. Poor sleep causes you more stress the next day. Stress causes your liver to put more glucose into your blood. Sitting at your desk will cause it to be turned into fat. Stress increases your cravings for sweets and fat, you know what that means. Stress will reduce the blood flow to your digestive system thus debilitating your metabolism. It increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Over time these factors will increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and being overweight.
What can you do?
There is a lot you can do to avoid the negative effects of stress. It will take a whole book to do this because all of the ways you can reduce stress. So for today let’s just provide a brief summary.
Keep a positive attitude
Stress has a lot to do with how you perceive the situation. For example, somebody gets fired. Someone with a very positive attitude will say, “hey this is a great opportunity to look for a better job.” Another one who is in the habit of always looking at the negative side will feel terrible and depressed. A little oversimplified, but attitude has a lot to do with it. Stress has a lot to do with whether we perceive a situation as threatening our survival or not.
Move, walk and exercise
Moving your body and exercise has a huge positive impact on managing your stress. There is a simple reason for that. Stress is a result of our most basic survival impulse, fight or flight. The stress response mobilizes everything in your body to move quickly, either to run away or to fight for your survival. When you move and exercise your body can normalize again without leaving negative side effects.
Eat healthy food
The main functions of your body, metabolism, digestion and brain functions haven’t changed much in the last 50,000 years. That’s why the stress and survival functions still follow the ancient rules of millennia ago. That’s also true for the kind of food your body can use to be healthy. Your body thrives on natural foods of the hunters and gatherers. Fresh green vegetables and legumes, some fruits and nuts, perhaps some white grains and seeds, and animal proteins and fat.
Laughter, meditation, mindfulness and yoga
A good belly laugh can reduce stress in your body for up to 4 hours! Meditation, mindfulness and yoga all relax your body and calm your anxious brain. These practices are not always easy to use during high stress. They take discipline, training and persistence. Yet the effect can make your life easier and more fulfilling.
What to avoid
There was no refined sugar then. There were no processed foods designed to addict your taste buds and maintain weeks and months of shelf life. Why do they put sugar in everything from bread to even hot dogs and sausages? Because sugar is so addictive you eat more of their products. An extreme example is beef jerky which is supposed to be a healthy protein. It has often 4 to 6 grams of sugar added to it. The same is true for much of so-called “healthy” whole grain bread. Sugar puts enormous stress on your health and well-being. It is causes of low-grade inflammation which results in muscle and body aches. Cutting out sugar is difficult because it’s so addictive. To help you there dozens of books available.
High stress organizations
Organizations just like people have their own stress profile. Sometimes the business is super high paced and demanding. But if the company has good policies, systems and management these demands can be fun, exciting and challenging in a positive way. Then the stress can be managed well. On the other hand there are organizations which have dysfunctional systems and bad policies, even abusive management. That makes it hard or impossible to handle your stress. It may be time to look discreetly for a better company and job.
Getting shown to the door - FIRED
If people don’t function well the organization will send them out. For the organization to function well, they cannot have people who don't deal with stress effectively and therefore don’t do their job well. You can look at the top ten negative effects of stress and see how they will inevitably cause problems at work and in business. Therefore, it’s so important to keep your stress down. This allows you to perform at your best. This makes you most competitive and least expendable. The company will need you even in difficult times when others have to leave.
Getting an edge - GOOD STRESS MANAGEMENT
Now it is clear that good stress management can really give you an edge. Not only does it make your life easier. It makes your work and profession more fun. Ease and fun make your body and your mind healthier and happier. Isn’t that worth getting into a habit of managing your stress well?
Your expert, working hard to keep stress low and managed with ease,
Fred George Sauer
Last week I went to an exciting meeting. The Women Business Owners of Southeastern Michigan (WBO) had invited me to give a five-minute presentation about my work with STRESS and my new book. I was deeply impressed meeting this wonderful group of highly motivated business owners.
You can listen to this five-minute talk here:
I spoke about how my book on stress management came about:
Get your Paperback or Kindle at Amazon
OFFER FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION:
If you want me to speak at your organization or meeting, please fill out the contact form. We can customize any presentation for your special purposes. It can be brief or a complete keynote address.
PS: if you want to find out more about the WBO, I recommend you check out their excellent website: http://wbo-mich.org/
Do you want to soar, as a person, in your career, in your business?
There are really two sides to that. Isn't that funny, on this planet, there's always an upside and downside? Or the two sides of the coin. Okay, you want to soar. What are those two ways to do it?
What makes your balloon fly higher
What personal things lift your career and your business? These are things like your education, your ambition and your drive, your training and skills. You're never quite satisfied and always strive to add to your repertoire. Maybe better business plans or interviewing techniques. Be it having superior connections and networks or leadership skills and financial backing just as a few examples.
What holds your balloon down
The extra weight and ballast slow you down. There could be many things. But the weight which can pull you down so often is STRESS. Why is stress so overlooked? Because stress is often hidden. You have a challenging situation, perhaps something different and unusual. You handle it the best you can. And yet afterward you think I could have done this or that. Why didn't I think and remember to handle it differently?
Here is the most insidious effect of stress: when you feel stress your old subconscious brain immediately pulls blood out of your thinking brain. This was an old survival trick 100,000 years ago. And still, this old part of your brain has not yet adapted. Therefore, even today when you feel too much pressure, stress, your brain will make your thinking foggy and your memory weaker. So if you try to think and your judgment is just a little bit reduced you can see and feel how your performance suffers.
The 2nd factor why stress can be so powerful to sabotage you in your job and business is that we never really learn to manage it. Neither in school nor at our universities are we taught and prepared for stress. The reason is few people understand how stress is generated in your brain and fewer still how to reduce it, how to manage it.
Let's review this...
Fred George Sauer Founder of SciStress
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PO Box 396 Ann Arbor, MI 48105