STRESS & Blue Zones Cubes
Updated: Nov 20
From COVID to rising real estate and rent markets, groceries, gas, the war in Palestine & Israel, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, and as many are saying, a dangerous period in our lives, it seems everyone has reason to be a little stressed out. And consider money-related, work-related, family-related, and health-related stress. BINGO! We are about to bust wide open.
Before I launch into the STRESS aspect of this Blog, here's a brief background on Blue Zones, which I will address in more detail in this Blog and the next one.
Blue Zones are regions worldwide known for having unusually high concentrations of centenarians and many people living longer, healthier lives. These areas have attracted attention from researchers and health enthusiasts for their unique lifestyle and environmental factors contributing to longevity. Some well-known Blue Zones include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. Common characteristics of Blue Zones include a plant-based diet, regular physical activity, strong social connections, and a sense of purpose in life. These factors are believed to promote longevity and overall well-being.
Here's a little info from my friend Al regarding STRESS.
Stress is a natural physiological response when your body perceives a threat or a challenge. It triggers a "fight or flight" response, which prepares your body to deal with the perceived danger. Various factors, including physical, emotional, or environmental triggers, can cause stress. While some stress levels are normal and beneficial in certain situations, chronic or excessive stress can negatively affect your physical and mental health.
Types of Stress:
Acute Stress: This is a short-term form of stress in response to immediate challenges or threats, like a work deadline or a sudden argument.
Chronic Stress: Long-term, persistent stress that can result from ongoing issues like financial problems, relationship difficulties, or work-related stress.
Eustress: This is a positive form of stress that can be motivating and is associated with positive life events, such as getting married or starting a new job.
Physical and Emotional Responses: Stress triggers various physical and emotional responses, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, heightened alertness, and the release of stress hormones like cortisol. These responses are designed to help you respond to a threat, but when stress is chronic, it can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Impact on Health: Chronic stress has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and weakened immune function. It can also exacerbate existing health conditions.
Mental Health: Stress can take a toll on your mental health, leading to symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and even depression. Prolonged stress can contribute to the development of mental health disorders.
Is Stress the Number One Killer Worldwide? Stress itself is not considered the number one killer worldwide. However, chronic stress can contribute to various health conditions that may ultimately lead to mortality. For example, the link between chronic stress and heart disease is well-established, and heart disease is a leading cause of death globally. Additionally, stress can lead to unhealthy coping behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, and substance abuse, which can further increase the risk of health problems.
The leading causes of death worldwide typically include cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, cancer, and other non-communicable diseases. While stress can contribute to these conditions, it's not the sole cause.
Managing and reducing chronic stress is vital to protecting your health and well-being. Strategies for stress management include exercise, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, seeking support from friends and professionals, and making lifestyle changes to reduce stressors.
Thank you, Al.
In summary, stress is a natural response to challenges and threats, but chronic stress can have a significant impact on physical and mental health. While it's not the number one killer worldwide, it can contribute to various health conditions and mortality when left unmanaged.
Introducing Blue Zone Cubes
Blue Zones provided the following free printable to create cubes to help you DOWNSHIFT with family, friends, or coworkers. Put these cubes on your dinner table, desk, kitchen counter, or anywhere else where it'll remind you to downshift often and reduce stress. More importantly, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Social workers, as well as nurses, can use the Blue Zone cubes.
Download the Blue Zones MOVE Cubes to leave on your desk or for a fun (& free) family movement activity: bluezones.com/blue-zones-move-activity-cubes.
Here's a review of the above six methods for Down Shift.
1. Send a loved one a thoughtful text or email.
2. Turn on music and dance for two minutes.
3. Breathe Deeply for two minutes.
4. Turn on a favorite song.
5. Sniff a calming scent like Lavender.
6. Make a cup of tea and enjoy it slowly.
Try it; your body will love you for it.
Thank you for reading my latest Blog.
For more information about 'Fit & Well' for your company, gym, sports club, or investment opportunities in Asia, please contact me at Joe@JoeFitAsia.com.
Until next time, with more on Blue Zones.
Mahalo & Aloha