With Los Angeles moving into the yellow tier, more than a few folks are expressing relief at the return of something closer to normal life, even as some remain concerned.
Nationally, there’s cause for optimism, as well. The CDC now projects that, come July, we should see a sharp decline in COVID hospitalizations and deaths “if the nationwide vaccination program remains strong and community mitigation efforts are followed.”
Still, stress levels remain high, especially for women. One recent survey found that nearly half of all American women are experiencing more stress now than they were a year ago. Six in 10 say the pandemic has negatively affected their stress levels.
This is concerning on a number of levels. After all, the relationship between chronic stress and a wide range of health problems is well established. For stress isn’t just a mental phenomenon. It’s a physical experience, too – the body marshalling all its resources to defend itself against a perceived threat. Body and mind feel it together, experience it together.
But while we might dream about the joys of a stress-free life, the truth is that we all need some stress to keep going. Hans Selye, the doctor who first identified the stress response, put the matter bluntly and beautifully:
The only way to characterize stress is to call it a nonspecific response of the body to any demand. No one can avoid stress. To eliminate stress completely would mean to destroy life itself. If you make no more demands upon your body, you are dead.
A recent study in the journal Emotion offers additional perspective on the positive aspect of stress.
Its authors analyzed data from over 2700 adults who, before the study, took a short test to measure their cognitive health. They were then interviewed nightly for 8 days, answering questions about their mood, chronic health conditions, physical symptoms, and daily activities. Participants also reported the number of stressors and positive experiences they’d had in the previous 24 hours.
About 10% of participants reported no stressors at all. These people proved less likely to have chronic health problems and more likely to report better moods. All well and good, right?
Then came the surprise:
Those who reported no stressors also performed lower on the cognition test, with the difference equaling more than eight years of aging. Additionally, they were also less likely to report giving or receiving emotional support, as well as less likely to experience positive things happening throughout the day. [emphasis added]
Why should this be? Having stressors, the researchers suggest, may well be a proxy for living an active and engaged life.
“Stressors are events that create challenges in our lives,” [study co-author David M.] Almeida said. “And I think experiencing stressors is part of life. There could be potential benefits to that. I think what’s important is how people respond to stressors. Responding to a stressor by being upset and worried is more unhealthy than the number of stressors you encounter.”
In addition to stress-taming strategies such as these, some supplements can be helpful, including vitamins B and D, and botanicals such as lavender and lemon balm. Homeopathic remedies such as NEU-regen and PSY-stabil can also be useful.
Even better are the drip therapies we offer, a number of which are especially good for restoring energy and vitality after mental depletion – and the physical depletion that usually accompanies it. Dr. Joe can also design custom IVs to target your specific needs and health goals.
And right now, new patients can save considerably when you schedule an IV package along with your first appointment, for we’ll apply the cost of that first visit toward your package. That way, your first visit becomes completely free!*
To get started, just give us a call: 310-268-8466.
* Note: This offer applies only to patients not previously seen by Dr. Joe and may exclude certain medical conditions and review of medical records.
Top image by Jose Navarro, via Flickr