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7 Health Conditions Caused By Stress

7 Health Conditions Caused By Stress

Stress is a natural part of life. Everyone experiences it at one time or another. In fact, a recent poll conducted by Harvard University-Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-NPR found that 49% of adults reported having a major stressful event or experience in the past year. In addition, more than 4 in 10 (43%) adults report stressful events and negative experiences related to health.

Many people who experience stress try to cope with it through eating, drinking, smoking, and even taking drugs. People who are stressed typically get less sleep and exercise less. These are all activities that can negatively impact health. However, recent studies have been discovering that there is a lot more to the way that stress impacts our health.

Our bodies react to stress by pumping adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream. This focuses the mind and body creating an immediate reaction. This response has helped humans survive throughout generations. Unfortunately, this rush of adrenaline due to stress can also create health risks. In addition, the more significant risk is because of the cortisol increase.

Cortisol has many good functions, like reducing inflammation, but is not meant to be constantly released. The constant release of cortisone causes cells to be desensitized to the hormone. This can allow inflammation to go crazy. Chronic inflammation over the long-term can damage blood vessels and brain cells. It can also lead to insulin resistance (a precursor of diabetes) and promote extremely painful joint diseases.

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Here are 7 health conditions caused by stress:

1. The Common Cold

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    In a shocking 2012 study 276 healthy adults were interviewed about stressful events in their lives and then exposed to the cold virus. The people who were experiencing chronic stress were cortisol resistant and more likely to get sick. The study showed that when under continuous stress, cells in the immune system are unable to respond properly to the cold virus. They produce levels of inflammation that lead to disease.

    2. Increased Weight Gain

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    Overweight

      The stress hormones stimulate a craving for foods full of sugar, starch, and fat. This is the reason you are more likely to want a candy bar after a stressful day. However, new research shows the link between stress and weight gain is a lot more complex than just bad food choices. For example, in one study women who had one or more stressful events during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories in the seven hours following a fast-food meal than women who ate a similar meal but were stress-free. 104 calories may not seem like a lot, but it can actually add up to 11 extra pounds per year.

      In addition to creating changes in metabolism, stress also produces a rise in insulin levels and a decrease in fat oxidation. This process promotes fat storage. Other studies have shown a correlation between excess cortisol and increased abdominal fat.

      3. Sleep Issues

      Sleeping Issues

        As we get older we experience natural decreases in the amount of deep sleep we get and an increase in nighttime wakefulness. Stress can aggravate these sleep deficits and make it harder to go back to sleep after you awaken in the night. Sleep deprivation can impair memory and hurt emotional control. A lack of sleep also makes it harder to handle daily stress. Cortisol levels keep people awake at night and then our brains respond by making us think about or problems. Lack of sleep also leads to dental problems & then you can’t escape from painful dental implants.

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        4. Heart Disease

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          The link between long-term stress and heart attacks has been well known for years. A recent study made the reasons behind this clearer. In the study, Matthias Nahrendorf, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, discovered that blood samples from people with high levels of stress had a surplus of white blood cells. Cortisol changes the texture of white blood cells making them attach themselves to blood vessel walls. This creates plaque, a key marker of heart disease. The Harvard Medical School study found that a surplus of white blood cells caused hardening in the arteries of stressed but otherwise healthy mice. Taking a DNA test can also tell you if stress puts you at greater risk for heart disease.

          5. Depression

          Depressed woman

            Stress plays a role in depression and brain health. Depression can be triggered by stressful episodes and then take on a life of its own. Stress makes many brain neurotransmitter systems, like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, become out of balance. This causes issues with mood, sleep appetite, and libido. Many severely depressed people have elevated cortisol levels. This can permanently damage brain cells.

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            6. Ulcers and Stomach Issues

            Stomach pain

              Over the last 50 years, doctors have attributed stomach ulcers to stress. It wasn’t until 1983 that researchers found that ulcers are caused by the bacteria H. pylori. However, 15% of stomach ulcers actually occur in people who do not have the bacteria. Also, only about 10% of people infected with the bacteria get ulcers. One theory is that the effect of chronic stress on the immune system lets the H. pylori bacteria thrive. Another theory is that exposure to stress changes the balance of bacteria in the gut allowing harmful bacteria to have the upper hand. This means that ulcers are ultimately the result of stress. Stress is also a critical factor in irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, heartburn, and Crohn’s disease.

              7. Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain

                Neck, shoulder, and back pain are among the most common and costly health complaints. Stress alone does not create this pain; however, stress can intensify the severity and duration of the pain. Musculoskeletal pain is particularly increased by workplace stress. Researchers aren’t sure why this occurs. However, people with stressful jobs report more back, neck and shoulder pain. The theory is that stress-induced inflammation prevents the full healing power to make the pain decrease.

                In case you are facing any of these above symptoms, you should see a doctor. If you are a busy individual juggling family and work pressures, online doctor services might be a good alternative to seeing a doctor physically. These kinds of services allow you to see a doctor at your own convenience.

                Featured photo credit: pressfoto via freepik.com

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                Vikas Agrawal

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                Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                How to Memorize a Speech the Smart Way

                How to Memorize a Speech the Smart Way

                Did you know that 75% of the population suffers from glossophobia? That scary sounding word is one of the most common phobia’s in the world, fear of public speaking.

                I’ll bet even as you are reading this, you are getting nervous thinking about giving a speech.

                I have got good news for you. In this article, I will share with you a step by step method on how to memorize a speech the smart way. Once you have this method down, your confidence in yourself to deliver a successful speech will increase substantially. Read on to feel well prepared the next time you have to memorize and deliver a speech.

                Common Mistakes of Memorizing a Speech

                Before we get to the actual process of how to memorize a speech the smart way, let’s look at the two most common mistakes many of us tend to make while preparing for a speech.

                Complete Memorization

                In an attempt to ensure they remember every detail, many people aim to completely memorize their speech. They practice it over and over until they have every single word burned into their brain.

                In many ways, this is understandable because most of us are naturally frightened of having to give a speech. When the time comes, we want to be completely and totally prepared and not make any mistakes.

                While this makes a lot of sense, it also comes with its own negative side. The downside to having your speech memorized word for word is that you sound like a robot when delivering the speech. You become so focused on remembering every single part that you lose the ability to inflect your speech to varying degrees, and free form the talk a bit when the situation warrants.

                Lack of Preparation

                The other side of the coin to complete memorization is people who don’t prepare enough. Because they don’t want to come off sounding like a robot, they decide they will mostly “wing it”.

                Sometimes they will write a few main points down on a piece of paper to remind themselves. They figure once they get going, the details will somehow fill themselves in under the big talking points while they are doing the talking.

                The problem is that unless this is a topic you know inside and out and have spoken on it many times, you’ll wind up missing key points. It’s almost a given that as soon as you are done with your speech, you’ll remember many things you should have brought up while talking.

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                There’s a good balance to be had between over and under preparing. Let’s now look at how to memorize a speech the smart way.

                How to Memorize a Speech (Step-by-Step Guide)

                1. Write Out Your Speech

                The first step in the process is to simply write out your speech.

                Many people like to write out the entire speech. Other people are more inclined to write their speech outline style. Whichever way your brain works best is the way you should write your speech.

                Personally, I like to break things down into the primary points I want to make, and then back up each major point with several details. Because my mind works this way, I tend to write out speeches, and articles for that matter, by doing an outline.

                Once I have the outline completed, I will then fill in several bullet points to back up each big topic.

                For instance, if I was going to give a speech on how to get in better shape my outline would look something like this:

                Benefits of being in shape

                • Point #1
                • Point #2
                • Point #3

                Exercise

                • Point #1
                • Point #2
                • Point #3

                Diet

                • Point #1
                • Point #2
                • Point #3

                Rest and hydration

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                • Point #1
                • Point #2
                • Point #3

                ConclusionNo need for points here, just a few sentences wrapping things up.

                As you might imagine, this step typically is the hardest because it’s not only the first step but it also involves the initial creation of the speech.

                2. Rehearse Your Speech

                Now that you’ve written your speech, or outline, it’s time to start saying it out loud. It’s completely fine to simply read what you’ve written line by line at this point. What you are working on doing is getting the outline and getting a feel for the speech.

                If you’ve written the entire speech out, you’ll be editing it while you are rehearsing it. Many times as we say things out loud, we realize that what we wrote needs to be changed and altered. This is how we work towards having a well rounded and smooth speech. Feel free to change things as needed while you are rehearsing your speech.

                If you are like me and you’ve written the outline, this is where some of the supporting bullet points will begin to come out. Normally, I will have written several bullet points under each main topic. But as I say it out loud, I will begin to fill in more and more details. I might scratch certain bullet points and add others. I might think of something new at this stage while I am listening to myself and want to add it.

                The key to remember here is that you laying the foundation for your awesome speech. At this point, it’s a work in progress, you are getting the key pieces in place.

                3. Memorize the Bigger Parts

                As you are rehearsing your speech, you want to focus on memorizing the bigger parts, or the main points.

                Going back to my example of how to get in better shape, I’d want to ensure I have memorized my primary points. These include the benefits of being in shape, exercise, diet, rest and hydration, and the conclusion. These are the main points I want to make and I will then fill in further details. I’ve got to ensure I know these very well first and foremost.

                By practicing your major points, you are building the framework for your speech. After you have this solid outline in place, you’ll continue by adding in the details to round things out.

                4. Fill In the Details

                Now that you have the big chunks memorized, it’s time to work on memorizing the details. These detail points will provide support and context for your major points. You can work on this all at once or break it down to the details that support each major point.

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                For example, the details I might have under the “exercise” big point might include such things as cardio, weights, how many times a week to exercise, how long to actually exercise, and several examples of actual exercises. In this example, I have 5 detail points to memorize to support my major point of “exercise”.

                It’s a good idea to test yourself regularly as you are rehearsing your speech. Ask yourself:

                What are the 5 detail points I want to talk about that support my 3rd main point?

                You need to be able to fire those off quickly. Until you can do this, you won’t be able to associate each of the details with the main point.

                You have to be able to have them grouped together in your mind so that it comes out naturally in your speech. So that when you think of main point #2, you automatically think of the 4 supporting details associated with it.

                Keep working at this stage until you can run through your speech completely several times and remember all of your big points and the supporting details.

                Once you can do that with relative ease, it will be time for the final step, working on your delivery.

                5. Work on Your Delivery

                You’ve got the bulk of the work done now. You’ve written your speech and rehearsed enough times to have not only your main points memorized but also your supporting details. In short, you should have your speech almost done.

                There’s one more step in how to memorize a speech the smart way. The final component is to work on how you deliver your speech.

                For the most part, you can go give your speech now. After all, you have it memorized. If you want to ensure you do it right, you’ll want to hone how you are delivering your speech.

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                You work on your delivery by rehearsing and running through it a number of times and making tweaks along the way. These tweaks or changes may be are’s where you’d want to pause for effect.

                If you’ve found you have used one word 5 times in one paragraph, you might want to swap it out for a similar word a few times to keep it fresh.

                Sometimes while working on this part, I’ve thought of a great story that’s happened to me that I can incorporate to make my point even better.

                When you work on your delivery, you are basically giving your speech a personality as well.

                The Bottom Line

                And there you have it, a step by step approach on how to memorize a speech the smart way.

                The next time you are asked to give a speech don’t let glossophobia rear its familiar head. Instead, remember this easy to use guide to help craft a powerful speech.

                Using the method shown here will help you deliver your next speech with increased confidence.

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                Featured photo credit: Anna Sullivan via unsplash.com

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