Several studies, including one of medical students around exam time, and another of accountants during tax season, have shown significant increases in cholesterol levels during stressful events – when there was little change in diet.
Interesting isn’t it!
Are you caught up in modern day life? Do you have a mix of crazy work deadlines, household responsibilities and family needs — perhaps car problems or some bills that need urgent payment? You need to be very careful: Medical researchers have now discovered a link between periods of severe stress and increased cholesterol levels.
That’s right: your hectic ‘stressful lifestyle’ might be boosting the levels of tiny fat particles in your bloodstream. That’s because during stressful times, chemical messengers are released that prepare your body for the fight-or-flight response. These hormonal changes can raise your total cholesterol.
But that’s not all. Stress can have a powerful, indirect effect on your cholesterol too. If you overeat, smoke, or turn into a couch potato in response to stress, you’re giving in to unhealthy lifestyle habits that can raise levels of LDL’s (bad cholesterol) and grind down levels of HDL’s (good cholesterol). Gaining weight, eating lots of foods high in saturated fats, smoking, and avoiding exercise can all bury healthy cholesterol.
In a recent study, 77% of individuals with high levels of stress were able to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels simply by training themselves to stay calm.
It is possible that a bit of stress can be helpful, BUT that depends on how a person reacts to stress. If stress leads to more eating, smoking, sitting, brooding and a more depressed mood – then stress may well be harmful. If it leads to more activity, walking, gardening, even fidgeting – that may be beneficial for your artery walls but not necessarily beneficial for you!
So, what do you do?
Well you really need to balance your overall cholesterol-lowering plan by learning to manage your hectic lifestyle.
Make it a priority to manage your time and emotions.
* Free up time for the activities that really matter
* Say no to burdensome requests.
Think before filling your stomach
* Are you really hungry?
* Or are you angry, lonely, tired, or frustrated?
Before you give in to emotional eating, try the following
* Wait a few minutes
* Try a piece of fruit first
* Take a short walk
* Call a friend
* Or–if you’re up late at night stressing over your crazy life…go to bed.
Get a massage; go for a swim…whatever relaxes your body.
Make time for your family and friends.
Look for the humor in life, and laugh out loud. Tell a joke, read a funny book
Set aside 10 minutes a day to close your eyes and focus gently on your breathing and on the positive things in your life
That Brings Us To Meditation!
Until recently, the primary purpose of meditation has been religious, although its health benefits have long been recognized. It is now being further explored as a way of reducing stress on both mind and body.
Studies have found that regular meditation can:
* Reduce healthcare use
* Increase longevity and quality of life
* Reduce chronic pain
* Reduce anxiety
* Reduce high blood pressure
* Reduce serum cholesterol level
* Reduce substance abuse
* Increase intelligence-related measures
* Reduce post-traumatic stress syndrome in Vietnam veterans
* Lower blood cortisol levels initially brought on by stress
So you see, apart from just helping to lower cholesterol levels, there are many other life benefits to meditating!
Wishing you the very best in your endeavors
Cholesterol Consultant, Author and President
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ramzi Abboud is a recognized authority on the subject of lowering cholesterol. His website, http://www.lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast.com provides a wealth of information on every thing you’ll ever need to know about lowering cholesterol, including information on over 40 natural supplements that can help to melt away your high cholesterol levels