Stress is an outcome of a diverse and complex interface physiology and psychology that results in increased cortisol, anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, and adverse bodily functions.
Research indicates a relationship between increased cortisol, increased depression, and increased risk of heart disease. Factors that promote stress and lead to this reaction need to be recognized, confronted, and changed. How does one reduce stress?
This is the million dollar question, but the answer does not need to be complicated. One simple remedy for stress reduction is to increase the amount of fun in your life. While this sounds great and even easy, Americans and others may actually find this difficult. Humans tend to fill up all the minutes in their day with tasks and forget to secure free time and fun time in their life.
Games are a good example of fun and stress reduction. Fitbrains.com provides online brain games for mental exercise and to promote cognitive functioning. These brain games are also fun and personal. Consumers indicate that two primary reasons they play online games (like the ones at Fitbrains.com) are for stress reduction and mental stimulation.
If you are experiencing stress in your life and need to try something new to help generate some fun in your life, I suggest you take a few moments and play a brain game or two at Fitbrains.com.
Have some Fun!
The world economic situation is fertile ground for anxiety, some realistic and other perpetuated from misinformation and personal agendas. According to the National Sleep Foundation, One-third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns. The poll suggests that inadequate sleep is associated with unhealthy lifestyles and negatively impacts health and safety.
The Brain Fitness Blog has reported on this in the past and we believe it is important to take some time to consider the following as methods for coping with these uncertain times:
- 1. Information and knowledge will help to reduce anxiety, even when the information is not positive. Most of us experience anxiety or unease when we are confronted with uncertainty. As such, it is a good idea to spend some time researching the economic issues (stock market, credit, employment, etc) from a variety of viewpoints. You may have noticed that reading and predicting the economy is not a science, but for those in the stock market, there are predictable patterns based on many years of past behavior. This should provide some certainty even though the present represents a turbulent time.
- 2. Meet with your financial planner to review all investments and liabilities. He or she will help you reduce your risk and loss while planning appropriately for the near and long term future.
- 3. Have a family meeting to discuss the issues and to provide a forum to express fears and hopes. Make a family plan that adapts spending and saving to the current market demands.
- 4. Place a focus on your emotional condition and make an extra effort to exercise and eat healthy. This will enable your body to handle the stress better.
- 5. This is a great time to use relaxation procedures such as breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation is also a good daily activity.
- 6. Have faith in our human innovative and adaptive nature and believe that we will survive this period of uncertainty.
- 7. Reach out to others who may be in a particularly difficult situation and offer them your time and friendship.
Fit Brains brain games.
It has been know for some time that aerobic exercise and physical activity helps to increase cognitive function and perhaps delay onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study provides some explanation for how this might occur.
It is known that deterioration of the hippocampus occurs as part of the aging process. The hippocampus (i) is the structure deep in the middle of the temporal lobe that helps to form new memories and spatial memory. Changes in the structure and function occur in the hippocampus with advanced age, chronic stress, and Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, studies indicate an enriched environment that includes physical activity can lead to neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
A recent study by Erickson and colleagues (2009) investigated high versus low levels of aerobic exercise in non-demented older adults on volume of the hippocampus and on spatial memory. Results indicate that higher fitness levels were associated with larger left and right hippocampi and larger hippocampi and higher fitness levels were related to better spatial memory performance.
The authors assert that higher levels of aerobic exercise are related to increased hippocampal volume in older humans, which translates to better memory performance.
Dr. Nussbaum, Chief Scientific Officer of Fitbrains, Inc. presents a brain health lifestyle that includes physical activity paulnussbaum.com .