EP 156: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome With Crystal Grant

EP 156: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome With Crystal Grant

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you are never good enough or good at something? Did you ever feel like you are not doing as much as others thought you to be? If you feel like a fraud or do not belong anywhere, you might be suffering from Imposter Syndrome. 

No matter your social status, race, background, skill, level of expertise are, anyone can suffer from this. We must arm ourselves with knowledge and educate others to help those who are struggling with impostor syndrome. 

Overcome Imposter Syndrome

But what is imposter syndrome anyway? How do you know if you are suffering from one? In this new episode, we would like to introduce our guest, Crystal Grant. She is a CRNA, CEO of Superscript Wellness, and author of several books. 

Crystal has also worked in the healthcare system for over 20 years and now coaches nurses and CRNAs about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it. 

She currently has a new book coming out called A CRNA’S Guide to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Besides working with nurses and CRNAs, she also has her line of Vitamin gummies. 

So, sit back, relax and enjoy another great episode with your favorite Cup of Nurses! 

QUESTIONS FOR OUR GUEST:

  1. Can you give some background about yourself and how you got to the position you are in today?
  2. How was life growing up? What were some of your goals in life? How have they varied over the years?
    – When we finished nursing school we were making a decent amount of money, we came out with minimal loans and we were making more money than a lot of our friends. When we looked back at where we were at the age of 21/22 compared to a lot of other people it felt like night and day. It still feels that way to this day.
  3. What is Imposter Syndrome? Do you think it comes with success?
    – Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
  4. With many psychological issues like depression and anxiety, is there a genetic predisposition to imposter syndrome? Or is there something that happens in childhood that makes people more susceptible to imposter syndrome?
  5. With the age of neuroplasticity, we can almost reprogram our brain to react differently. How can we use the concept of neuroplasticity to help us with imposter syndrome or other negative thinking?
    – Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. 
  6. We are holistic beings which means how we feel physically affects us mentally and how we treat ourselves mentally reflects on us physically.
    – How important is physical health? The importance of nutrition, exercise, and supplementation. 
  7. What are some of the ingredients in the gummies you’ve created and what are the benefits of micronutrients? 

To watch the full episode about How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, click here and learn more 👇

 

You can also find Crystal on Instagram at @thecrystalgrant. Her book titled Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is currently available at thecrystalgrant.com. And to those interested to buy her vitamin gummies, check out superscriptwellness.com and walmart.com for more. 

TIMESTAMP:

00:00 Intro
00:47 Plugs
02:03 Episode Introduction
02:35 About Crystal
04:47 Can imposter syndrome be beneficial to someone who has it?
06:38 What happens to a person who has imposter syndrome?
09:32 Imposter Syndrome: The Perfectionist
11:28 How and when did Crystal know that she had imposter syndrome?
15:02 The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome
17:19 How does a person get imposter syndrome?
21:26 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome?
24:04 Neuroplasticity: Rewiring the brain
26:44 The best investment is in yourself.
32:53 Mindfulness and meditation can help fight Imposter Syndrome.
35:27 The lack of self-belief
37:29 How did Crystal become an entrepreneur?
39:32 How to get into the supplement business?
42:58 Built for nursing, built for success.
47:32 Where to find Crystal?

 

 

EP 155: Why Self-Care is Important For Women With Isabel Bogdan

EP 155: Why Self-Care is Important For Women With Isabel Bogdan

EP 155: Why Self-Care is Important For Women With Isabel Bogdan

How important is your health? Self-care is important but what steps are you taking to meet your needs? Do you do something about it? Or do you wait till you are diagnosed with a disease to get moving? In the era we live in, it is easier to pop pills when you are not feeling well than reevaluate your entire body and mind to get to the root cause of the problem. 

It is a known fact that many people today are more dependent on medication than doing something to change their condition. Why is it easier to take pills than make the change you need? When did people stop eating well and doing exercises that can benefit them as a whole?

We are joined by our guest, Dr. Isabel Bogdan, founder and owner of belev.co. She is also a health nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing practice. Dr. Bogdan has the vision to intertwine traditional medicine with a holistic approach for transformational change.

Join us today as we discuss the importance of holistic care and how it can change our way of looking at our health in this fantastic episode of Cup of Nurses. 

QUESTIONS FOR OUR GUEST

The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We go off-topic all the time so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas please let us know. Looking forward to our conversation!

  1. Can you give us a background about yourself and your nursing experience?
  2. What does it feel like to be in the daily life of Isabelle? 
  3. What have you seen as being the biggest factor associated with poor health, particularly women’s health?
  4. On an emotional level, what do women struggle with the most?
  5. How do you heal people in life?
  6. What are women struggling with most in their lives?
  7. Endometriosis?
  8. How do you control your hormonal health?
  9. How do you change people’s beliefs for them to think they’re superheroes of their journey. 
  10. What is your current obsession? – How are you making an impact in disease prevention? 

Why is self-care important? Learn more and watch the full episode here 👇

You can connect with Isabel through her Instagram @dr.isabelbogdan   or learn more about her business by visiting her website belev.co. or send her a tweet through her Twitter @isabel_bogdan

TIMESTAMP

00:00 Intro
00:49 Plugs
2:52 Episode Introduction
4:58 The Reason: Why is Conventional Medicine Failing?
8:52 All about Yoga
16:19 How is yoga done and how does it benefit the body?
20:45 Yoga’s spiritual side?
23:18 What are women struggling with most in their lives?
28:52 Isabel’s Take on What Is “Consciousness”
32:29 What is the impact of hormonal health?
38:40 What supplements can you take to stay optimal?
41:06 Dietary Consultation with Isabel
47:15 Everything is good in moderation.
51:37 All about gut health.
57:00 A study shows that cranberry juice prevents UTIs.
57:49 How to empower people to be the superheroes of their lives.
1:08:41 Where to find Isabel?

 

3 Reasons Why Reading is Important

3 Reasons Why Reading is Important

EP 88: 3 Reasons Why Reading is Important

Reading is a crucial skill that all of us must learn. A person who reads exercises their comprehension abilities and analytical abilities. Imagination and memory recall is stimulated through reading. It also helps in stabilizing your emotions too. 

In this episode, we will discuss the three reasons why reading is essential and why we should make it a habit. Towards the end of the discussion, we will dive into a book that we have read in the past year that we enjoyed reading. Be prepared because we are going to dive into life and philosophy on this one.  

History of Reading

The National Library Lover’s Month is in February. It’s dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying, and otherwise loving books. Join us as we tackle another excellent episode of Cup of Nurses!

Where Did It All Start?

Around 4,000 to 6,000 BCE, Mesopotamia started the first known human civilization. This changed the course of history discovered in these city-states, the earliest known form of writing, cuneiform, and script.

It started with some squiggles on clay to represent a goat and an ox, this form was good to depict the list of goods. But, what exactly do human beings get from reading books? It is just a matter of reading for pleasure, or are there benefits behind the enjoyment of reading? 

The 3 Benefits of Reading 

Reading transports us to worlds we would never go to, and never see. It introduces us to people we would never meet and instills emotions we might never otherwise feel without reading. Are there other benefits? Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health as well.

1. Reading reduces stress

Put simply, by opening a book, you allow yourself to be invited into an artistic world that distracts you from your daily stressors. On a physical level, reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles [1].

In a 2009 study from the consultancy Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, tests found that reading reduced stress levels by 68 percent. Thus making it a more effective means of relaxation than taking a walk (by 42%), drinking a cup of tea (54%), or listening to music (61%). 

In another study in 2009 as well, a group of researchers measured the effects of yoga, humor, and reading on stress levels of health science program students in the United States.

The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor did. Lastly, 30 minutes devoted to reading is something that can easily be incorporated into your daily schedule [2]. 

2. Reading strengthens your brain 

A small study in 2013 found that reading a novel increased communication between parts of the brain that control language processing [3].

These changes could be segregated into networks associated with short-term changes originating near the left angular gyrus (Langauge, reading & writing) and long-term changes dispersed bilaterally in the somatosensory cortex (receives and process sensory information across the body). 

Reading creates new neural pathways in the brain, this process is known as neurogenesis. Neurogenesis creates neurons that send messages and transmit information to different parts of the brain. How is this possible?

Reading books require thoughts, consideration, and effort to metabolize what’s being described in the book, which leads to the creation of new neurons. The question remains for further research to study how lasting are these effects. 

3. Reading percent age-related cognitive decline

Having an active life, mentally, is generally one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s. Cognition includes the ability to learn, remember, and make judgments.

A study published in 2020, a 14-year longitudinal study with a representative sample of 1,962 Taiwanese community-dwelling older persons aged 64 and above, followed up in four waves of surveys over 14 years [4].

Results showed that those who read one or more times a week were less likely to have cognitive decline at 6-year and 14-year intervals. After 14-years, older people who read more often had a reduced risk of cognitive decline compared to those who read less often. 

Reading is even associated with a lower risk of dementia. In a very large 2018 study in China,  15,582 community-living Chinese individuals age 65 years or older who were free of dementia were followed up for a median period of 5 years [5].

Daily participation in intellectual activities was associated with a significantly lower risk of dementia several years later independent of other health behaviors, physical health limitations, and sociodemographic factors.

How to Make Reading a Habit

The easiest way to start reading more is to schedule it in your daily life. If you assign it into your planner or schedule, it’ll be harder to miss, having that accountability.

If you are trying to take better care of yourself with activities such as – sleep, nutrition, & exercise, you will want to schedule it into your daily life. 

Other tips:

  1. Keep a book with you when traveling or commuting places
  2. Reading books on topics you want to learn more about or are interested in
  3. Reading a book when you wake up or before bed
  4. Be patient – reading, like any skill/habit, takes time to develop

The Books We Like

We are avid readers and among the books that we’ve read, here are three of the best books that made us more conscious of ourselves and life in general.

1. Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos

It provides life advice through essays on abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion, and personal anecdotes. The book pushes the idea that people are born with an instinct for ethics and meaning and should take the responsibility of searching for meaning beyond their own interests. 

The critical idea of the book is that suffering is built into being. Being in the material and immaterial existence of a thing. With suffering people have a choice through life to either face it and transcend or withdraw which is almost a suicidal gesture.

He stresses that we live in a world of chaos and order and that everyone has a darkness that can turn them into the monster they are capable of being. However, when that darkness has a focus the impulse can be satisfied in the right situation.

Happiness Should Be a Byproduct

Another key point he brings up is happiness. Happiness should not be a goal of life it should be a byproduct or side effect of your life. Happiness should not be an aim because it’s not something that can stay there, it’s unpredictable and changing.

When you are unhappy does that mean you are a failure or failing? Happiness is based on perception and with perception, you don’t always realize what’s there.

The Gorilla Test does a good job of showing you how your perception changes based on what you are doing. Gorilla test conclusion: results indicate that the relationship between what is in one’s visual field and perception is based much more on attention than was previously thought. 

2. 12 Rules for Life Proposed by Jordan B. Peterson

If you like self-help books, this one is a good read. There are plenty of lessons and virtues that you can get from this book. Here’s our take on this book:

  1. “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”
    • All animals including humans are governed by an internal hierarchy that is involuntary and biochemical. JBP talks about lobsters in this sense. When 2 lobsters square up for battle a winner is chosen before a fight occurs and many times it does not even lead to a physical battle.
    • Dominant lobsters have high serotonin to octopamine ratio leading to greater confidence, posture, and strength. That works in the human and nonaquatic world as well. In addition to that, stronger animals get more food, better homes, higher status, better mates, and cooperation from others. 
    • There is a really harsh passage from the bible that goes: (Matthew 25:29) “to those who have everything, more will be given; from those who have nothing, everything will be taken.”
    • The recommendation JBP gives in this section is to always wake up at a similar time each day. You don’t have to go to bed at the same time each night but waking up is crucial.
    • Don’t slouch, fix your posture and give eye contact because when both of those are poor it signals weakness. 
  2. “Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping.”
    • JBP brings up another fundamental t chaos and order, that fundamental is consciousness. Consciousness is how you bridge the gap between chaos and order and that consciousness allows you to function in whichever manner you choose. 
    • What we should truly be doing for ourselves isn’t what we want and it is also something that doesn’t make us happy. No one understands us better than ourselves and no one can help us more than ourselves. 
  3. “Make friends with people who want the best for you.”
    • The environment around us shapes us. He asks the question if you have friends whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to others why would you have that friend? 
    • We become the average of the people we spend the most time with. 
  4. “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
    • No matter how competent and accomplished you are there is always someone out there better.
    • Life is not just a game it’s you playing many games at the same time. If we are always playing the same game and always winning there is no difficulty, there is no growth. 
    • Pay attention, focus on your surroundings notice that something bothers you, concerns you, something that you just want to change. 
      • What is it that is bothering me?
      • Is that something I can fix?
      • Will I actually be willing to fix it?
    • What could I do, that I would do, to make Life a little better?
  5. “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.”
    • Children are constant learners trying to figure out where the boundary lies. They are always trying to figure out what the limit is, that is how they learn what they can and can not do.
    • If you want your children to talk more you need to communicate with them first. 
    • Raising children is having the ability to properly create order in chaos. Giving the child the right amount of adventure while still enforcing good behaviors.
    • Studies show that if a child does not learn the basics of socialization and discipline it will be a lot harder for them to learn later in life. 
      • Limit the rules
      • Use the least amount of force possible to enforce those rules
    • Don’t be a revengeful parent
    • As a parent, you are the proxy for the real world
  6. “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”
    • Many, perhaps even most, of the adults who abuse children were abused themselves as children. However, the majority of people who were abused as children do not abuse their own children.
    • Ask yourself, have you cleaned up your life?
      • Start with not doing what you know is wrong
      • Stop questioning the things you are doing wrong when you know they are wrong. 
  7. “Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).”
    • The successful delay gratification they bargain with the future. The successful sacrifice. 
    • What are your values and do you follow them? Are they in your reality? You may have to sacrifice something you love best for you to become who you might become instead of saying who you are.
    • The one who wants to bring out the best of all possible futures will always make the greatest sacrifices. 
    • No tree can grow to heaven if its roots don’t reach hell 
    • Realize that thinking about life in a meaningful way is a difficult task for many individuals. Think about it this way CO2 emissions are relevant but are they relevant to someone that is hungry? 
    • Always aim up fix what you can but don’t be willfully blind or arrogant of others and your surroundings. 
  8. “Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie.”
    • Nazi Germany was built on small lies. 
    • What should you do when you don’t know what to do? Tell the truth. To accept truth mean to sacrifice. 
    • Don’t lie to yourself. Are your goals really aligned with what you want to be doing or plan on doing? 
  9. “Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.”
    • Memory isn’t only a tool for the past, it is something that guides your future. However, memory is there to stop you from doing the same thing. 
    • For many listening is too dangerous, they have an impulse to evaluate. It takes courage to listen. But if you listen, people will talk.
  10. “Be precise in your speech.”
    • The only way you can get your needs out is through speech. Furthermore, speech directs your actions and lets others know your wants and needs. 
  11. “Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.”
    • We are hard-wired to enjoy risk, but it’s the chaos that helps us develop. 
    • People compete to rise to the top. There is no reward without risk.
  12. “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.”
    • Maybe when you are going for a walk and your head is spinning a cat will show up. And if you pay attention to it then you will get a reminder for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of this being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it.

3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations is a collection of 12 books written by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who’ll introduce you to Stoic philosophy, the concept of logic, and self-discipline, and give you faith that the course the world runs is good. Aurelius called them “writings to myself.”

Book Chapters and Their Summary

Book 1 

Marcus Aurelius thanks those to whom he is indebted. His father showed him to be humble, frugal, and calm; his mother for teaching him to be generous and non-materialistic; and his teachers taught him the value of hard work, self-discipline, equanimity, rationality, humor, and tolerance.

Book 2 

Aurelius reminds us that each day we will meet some terrible people. He says death, is nothing to fear; it can’t hurt us. But what is most important about us is our minds.

We shouldn’t let them be slaves to selfish passions, argued with fate, or be anxious about the present or afraid of the future.

We can’t guarantee fame or fortune, but we can keep our minds calm and free from injury, a state superior to both pleasure and pain. Freedom is the control of our minds. 

Book 3

Aurelius tells us to be mindful of little things like cracks in a loaf of bread, and the texture of figs and olives. He says to think and talk about things you would not be ashamed of if they were found out. There is nothing more valuable than a mind pursuing truth, justice, temperance, fortitude, rationality, and the like.

Book 4

Aurelius tells us that we can always find solitude in our own minds. If our minds are serene, we will find peace and happiness. As for how others view us, we have little control over this.

Book 5

Aurelius says to get up each day and do good work. We need to act naturally and contribute to society without expecting payment or gratitude for doing good deeds. Instead, be satisfied with being like a vine that bears good fruit. Virtue is its own reward. 

Book 6

Aurelius disavows revenge, not to imitate injury. It is our duty to act righteously and not be disturbed by the rest. Think of good things and control your mind. 

Book 7 

Aurelius advocates patience and tolerance. Nature works like wax, continually transforming—so be patient. Evil people try our patience and tolerance, but we can remain happy by controlling our response to them.

Book 8 

Aurelius argues that being disconnected from humanity is like cutting off one of your own limbs. Instead, live connected to nature and other people. No matter what you encounter maintain a moderate and controlled mind.

Books 9, 10, 11

Aurelius argues that we should be moderate, sincere, honest, and calm. If someone reports that you are not virtuous, dispel such notions with your integrity, and use humor to disarm the worst people. Kill them with kindness essentially. 

Book 12 

Aurelius asks why we love ourselves best, but so often value the opinion of others over our own. This is a mistake. Remember too that the destiny of the greatest and worst of human beings is the same—they all turn to ashes.

One of the last things that Aurelius wrote in his tent, in modern-day Austria, “Life is warfare and a stranger’s sojourn (temporary stay), and after fame, oblivion.”

To watch the full Episode 88, click here for more:

TIME STAMPS:

0:00 – Intro
0:46 – Plugs
2:50 – Episode Introduction
7:56 – History of Reading
9:23 – Reading reduces stress
14:20 – Reading strengthens your brain
18:25 – Reading percent age-related cognitive decline
26:50 – How to make reading a habit
29:42 – Peter on “Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos”
33:22 – Rule 1: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”
36:00 – Rule 2: “Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping.”
36:53 – Rule 3: “Make friends with people who want the best for you.”
37:58 – Rule 5: “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.”
39:10 – Rule 6: “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”
41:07 – RUle 7: “Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).”
42:15 – Rule 8: “Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie.”
45:46 – Rule 9: “Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.”
47:04 – Rule 10: “Be precise in your speech.”
48:43 – Rule 11: “Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.”
49:28 – Rule 12: “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.”
51:13 – Matt on “Meditations: by Marcus Aurelius”
51:57 – Meditations: Books 1 to 12

The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

The Stress Response and What Foods Lower It

How we react to the stress response is important. We all deal with stress differently. Some people can get over it quickly, while others take their time. But why is that? Is there a way to help reduce anxiety? Does food play a role in this? Find out more by reading about it in our post.

What is Stress

Stress is your mental and physical reaction to pressure from a certain situation. But remember not all of the stress response is bad, certain stress helps you and gives you the strength to do more. Negative or harmful stress is referred to as distress and on the flip side, positive or good stress is referred to as eustress. 

The Stress Response 

The stress response begins in the brain starting with the cerebral cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus. When someone comes into contact with a stressful situation the cerebral cortex identifies it and sends the information to the amygdala. The amygdala interprets the senses and if it perceives it as dangerous it sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. 

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy for fight or flight.

The hypothalamus controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation or constriction of blood vessels and bronchioles in the lungs. The autonomic nervous system has two components; 

  • Sympathetic nervous system: functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers.
  • Parasympathetic nervous system: acts like a brake. It promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.

After the amygdala sends a distress signal, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands.

These glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on a number of physiological changes. 

  • The heart beats faster than normal, pushing blood to the muscles, heart, and other vital organs. 
  • Pulse rate and blood pressure go up. 
  • The person starts to breathe more rapidly. Small airways in the lungs open wide. This way, the lungs can take in as much oxygen as possible with each breath. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. 
  • Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. 
  • Triggers the release of blood sugar (glucose) and fats from temporary storage sites in the body. These nutrients flood into the bloodstream, supplying energy to all parts of the body.

The Body’s Stress Response Process

All of these changes happen so quickly that you won’t be aware of them right away. The body’s wiring is so efficient that the amygdala and hypothalamus start this cascade even before the brain’s visual centers even have a chance to fully process what is happening. That’s why people are able to jump out of the path of an oncoming car even before they think about what they are doing.

As the first surge of epinephrine subsides, the hypothalamus activates the second component of the stress response system, the HPA axis. This process consists of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. The HPA axis relies on a series of hormonal signals to keep the sympathetic nervous system going [1].

If the brain continues to perceive something as dangerous, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which travels to the pituitary gland, triggering the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

This hormone travels to the adrenal glands, prompting them to release cortisol. The body thus stays revved up and on high alert. When the threat passes, cortisol levels fall. The parasympathetic nervous system, the brake, then dampens the stress response.

Cortisol is also responsible for:

  • Increased urea production, appetite suppression, suppression of immune system, exacerbation of gastric irritation, an associated feeling of depression, and loss of control.

In addition to the HPA axis, some other hormones such as Growth Hormone (GH) and thyroid hormones also play a significant role in stress. 

  • Growth hormone is a peptide hormone, released from the anterior pituitary gland. GH raises the concentration of glucose and free fatty acids.
  • Thyroid hormones, the Thyroid releases thyroxin and triiodothyronine. The main function of thyroid hormones is to increase the overall metabolic rate. Thyroxin also increases heart rate and also the sensitivity of some tissues to catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine).

Negative Effects of Stress

When you are unable to efficiently cope with stress or if the stress persists over a long period of time it leads to negative systemic effects. Stress affects the body in many ways. Stress affects both physical as well as mental health.

Some of the prolonged effects may be individualized, but some of the effects are common to every individual. Most of the effects are associated with increased concentrations of corticoids and adrenaline. Some major effects on the body systems are [2]:

Digestion

Inconsistent eating habits, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation are the common symptoms seen in stressed persons. Chronic stress is also associated with obesity leading to many other negative effects.

Though there is no clear evidence that stressful life events promote the development of diabetes in children or in adults. In addition to that, hormonal changes occurring during acute and chronic stress can also affect glucose homeostasis in both healthy people and in those with diabetes.

Several studies have reported a negative effect of acute stress on the maintenance of blood glucose concentrations in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Circulation

Both adrenaline and cortisol affect heart and blood pressure when active over long periods of time. Too much adrenaline makes blood pressure go up which in turn affects the functioning of the heart since the heart has to pump harder and faster. 

This can produce coronary heart disease, strokes, and sudden cardiac arrest. Stress has been reported to be a predictor of incidents of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and hypertension. Stress can cause increased oxygen demand on the body spasm of the coronary blood vessels and electrical instability in the heart’s conduction system. 

Chronic stress also leads to increased blood cholesterol levels 

The persistently high levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood may cause atherosclerosis and sometimes may be a reason for a heart attack. 

Cortisol also plays role in the accumulation of abdominal fat leading to obesity. Occupational stress also has a significant influence on the onset of CHD.

Schnall PL, Landsbergis PA, Baker D (1994) Job strain and cardiovascular disease. Annu Rev Public Health 15: 381-411.

Eaker ED (1998) Psychosocial risk factors for coronary heart disease in women. Cardiol Clin 16: 103-111.

Torpy JM, Cassio L, Glass RM (2007) Chronic Stress and the Heart. JAMA 298: 1722.

Fumio K (2004) Job Stress and Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease. JMAJ 47: 222-226.

Immunity 

The persistent activation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis in chronic stress response impairs the immune response leading to several types of infections. Studies have shown that people under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like flu and common cold as well as other infections. 

Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Skoner DP, Rabin BS, Gwaltney JM Jr (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. JAMA 277: 1940-1944.

The high levels of stress hormones suppress the release of cytokines chemicals secreted by Th cells. Cytokines regulate both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in the body.

Chronic stress may dysregulate cytokines that can lead to suppression of both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses, as well as systemic inflammation.

Proinflammatory cytokines produce symptoms of fatigue, malaise, diminished appetite, and listlessness, which are the symptoms usually associated with depression.

Segerstrom SC, Miller GE (2004) Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull 130: 601-630.

Neil S, Ironson G, Siegel SD (2008) Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 1: 607-628.

In some cases, stress could also be a cause of cancer. The persistent activation of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis in the chronic stress response and in depression probably impairs the immune response. It can also contribute to the development and progression of some types of cancer. Studies have indicated that stress can promote breast cancer cell colonization of bone.

Reiche EM, Nunes SO, Morimoto HK (2004) Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. Lancet Oncol 5: 617-625.

Reproduction

Since sex life depends on the fitness of both body and mind, chronic stress may decrease libido. It may even cause erectile dysfunction or impotence in men. In the case of chronic stress, testosterone levels can drop to an extent that can interfere with spermatogenesis (sperm production). In women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods [3].

2 Foods That Decrease Stress

There are many foods that can help you with stress. The reason many foods decrease stress is that they usually help rev down the stress response. There are many common foods that will help you get through your stressful times.

Chronic stress leads to poor food choices that further increase inflammation, this is why it is important to eat healthily and dial down on nutrition. 

Oatmeal

The main reason why oatmeal helps with stress and anxiety is that it boosts serotonin. Seratonin is a natural feel-good neurotransmitter. Oatmeal increases serotonin due to the fact that it is a good source of tryptophan.

Tryptophan is a precurses to serotonin and studies are looking at whether levels of tryptophan have an impact on mood. Oats are also a complex carb high in fiber, and rich in vitamin B, magnesium, and potassium.

Those nutrients play a key role in blood sugar stabilization, mood, and energy. Fiber has been shown in some studies to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. Stable electrolyte levels help with heart function and blood pressure. 

Tea 

Tea has been around for thousands of years. There is a wide assortment of teas but specifically, black tea has been associated with calming and relaxing properties. There are 2 major players when it comes to tea having these beneficial effects. L-theanine and catechins are responsible for the destressing functionality of tea [4]

L-theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea and certain mushrooms. L-theanine facilitates relaxation by boosting GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. It also reduces the amount of cortisol in your system.

What is really interesting is that l theanine increases alpha brain waves which are associated with wakeful relaxation while promoting attention and creativity. 

According to a study shown on WebMD, tea drinkers showed a drop in cortisol levels and decreased platelet aggregation after a stressful situation [5].

Catechins are naturally occurring phenols, also known as antioxidants. It helps combat oxidative stress. It has also been linked to the inhibition of corticosteroid-induced anxiety and stress [6]. 

Learn more about stress response by watching the full Episode 82 here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

0:00 Introduction
0:45 Cup of Nurses Introduction
2:28 Episode Introduction
2:45 The Stress Response
16:33 Negative effects of stress
16:46 Effects of Stress in Digestion
19:02 Effects of Stress in Circulation
20:49 Effects of Stress on Immunity
27:12 Effects of Stress in Reproduction
33:00 2 Foods that Decrease Stress
33:25 Foods that decrease stress: Oatmeal
35:23 Foods that decrease stress: Tea

How to Optimize Your Immune System

How to Optimize Your Immune System

How to Optimize Your Immune System

It is important to optimize your immune system. When the weather is cold, many people get sick, and sometimes, common colds turn to flu when your body cannot fight it off. It is why you optimizing your immune system is a must.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have a low immune system during cold seasons. Many look for ways to boost it, but it’s best to get ahead. It is ideal to strengthen our immune system before illness takes over.
 
The best way to stop being sick is to prevent yourself from getting sick. There are steps you can take to better optimize your immune system. Hydration, sleep, nutrition, and supplements are key fundamentals for staying healthy. 

Hydration

Drinking enough water optimizes your body’s performance in every aspect. Staying hydrated has been associated with an increase in the performance of your immune system. Studies have shown that fluid balance plays a major role in immunity and immune function [1].

The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining optimal immune system health. Some of the functions of the lymph system are:

  • Maintains fluid levels in your body: The lymphatic system collects excess fluid that drains from cells and tissue throughout your body and returns it to your bloodstream, it then recirculates through your body.
  • Absorbs fats from the digestive tract: Lymph includes fluids from your intestines that contain fats and proteins and transport them back to your bloodstream.
  • Protects your body against foreign invaders: The lymphatic system produces and releases lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that monitor and destroy foreign invaders.

How the Lymphatic System Helps Optimize Your Immune System

How does the lymphatic system help your immune system? ]Here are studies we found out regarding this topic:

1. Transports and removes waste products and abnormal cells from the lymph.

The lymphatic system relies heavily on lymph which is made up of about 90% water. Less body water may mean less lymph production or a less efficient lymph system.

2. In A 2013 study published in Luminescence, researchers investigated the effects of dehydration on immune functions in 25 university judoists after a judo practice session.

Subjects were divided into two groups according to their level of dehydration after practice (mild dehydration and severe dehydration).

Results suggested that dehydration resulted in immunosuppression, including decreased neutrophil (an important type of tissue-healing and infection-fighting white blood cell) function.

3. In a 2012 study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism by researchers. In this investigation, they found the effect of exercise-induced dehydration and overnight fluid restriction on saliva antimicrobial proteins (secretory IgA (SIgA), α-amylase, and lysozyme). All are essential for the host defense. 

The researchers concluded that modest dehydration decreased salivary flow rate (SFR), α-amylase, and lysozyme secretion rates. However, they also commented that whether the observed magnitude of decrease in saliva AMPs during dehydration compromises host defense remains to be shown.

4. A 2019 review showed that researchers evaluated the effects of dehydration on several kinds of allergy responses and exercise-induced asthma, especially during endurance exercise.

They found that exercise-induced dehydration reduces airway surface hydration, resulting in increased bronchoconstriction. This is a response to exercise in exercise-induced asthma individuals and asthma patients [2].

How Sleep Affects the Immune System and Your Mood

Sleep is one of the most important components of staying healthy. Not only does sleep impact your immune system it is safe to say that sleep affects every part of your life. Many people don’t know that a part of your immune system actually increases when you fall asleep.  When you sleep the production of cytokines increases, which means you’re in a more inflamed state [3].

Some experts even say that sleep can increase immune memory:

  • During sleep, breathing and muscle activity slow down, freeing up energy for the immune system to perform these critical tasks.
  • The inflammation that happens during sleep could harm physical and mental performance if it occurred during waking hours, so the body has evolved so that these processes unfold during nightly sleep.
  • Melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone that is produced at night, is adept at counteracting the stress that can come from inflammation during sleep. 

Undifferentiated or less differentiated cells like naïve and central memory T cells peak during the night, when the more slowly evolving adaptive immune response is initiated.

Nocturnal sleep, and especially SWS prevalent during the early night, promotes the release of GH and prolactin, while anti-inflammatory actions of cortisol and catecholamines are at the lowest levels [4].

The endocrine milieu during early sleep critically supports (1) the interaction between APC and T cells, as evidenced by enhanced production of IL-12, (2) a shift of the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance towards Th1 cytokines, and (3) an increase in Th cell proliferation and (4) probably also facilitates the migration of naïve T cells to lymph nodes.

Thereby, the endocrine milieu during early sleep likely promotes the initiation of Th1 immune responses that eventually supports the formation of long-lasting immunological memories.

Prolonged sleep curtailment and the accompanying stress response invoke a persistent unspecific production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This is best described as chronic low-grade inflammation, and also produces immunodeficiency, which both have detrimental effects on health.

Effects of Citrus, Ginger, and Yogurt in Optimizing Your Immune System

To stay healthy and maintain a solid immune system, you must include foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins. How can citrus, ginger, and yogurt help optimize your immune system? In many ways, of course. For one, citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which keeps your immune system strong. Ginger is an excellent addition to food and drinks. It also helps decrease inflammation in your body, while yogurt’s “live cultures” help stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. In addition to that, here are the health benefits of citrus, ginger, and yogurt:

Citrus fruits

  • Citrus fruits have a high vitamin C content. They are also high in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin B. They also contain a good amount of fiber.
  • Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants. It is theorized that antioxidants may block the expression of certain genes that can be associated with cancer or certain degenerative diseases. 

Ginger

  • Ginger boosts a variety of antioxidants such as gingerols, paradols, sesquiterpenes, shogaols, and zingerone.
  • It has been shown that ginger is able to decrease inflammation in conditions such as RA, gut disease, and asthma
  • A 2-month study in 64 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking 2 grams of ginger powder daily significantly reduced levels of inflammatory proteins like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP), compared to taking a placebo [5].
  • In another study, male athletes who received 1.5 grams of ginger powder daily for 6 weeks had significant reductions in levels of inflammatory markers, such as TNF-alpha, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1-beta), compared to athletes who received a placebo

Yogurt

  • One of the key elements in why yogurt helps the immune system is its probiotic effect, specifically something called lactobacillus [6]. 
  • Lactobacillus produces an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose into lactic acid. 
  • In one study in 326 children, six months of daily L. acidophilus probiotics reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41%, antibiotic use by 68%, and days absent from school by 32%

Supplements to Help Optimize Your Immune System

Supplements are always talked about, especially in winter. In addition to that, winter is when most people get sick. It is why it is crucial to keep your body healthy. You can also do this by taking supplements. What are the supplements you need to help optimize your immune system?

Vitamin D 

  • The recommended amount is 600 – 2000 IU.
  • Vitamin D is required in the regulation of T and B cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and keratinocytes. There also seems to be a link between vitamin D and many autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease, juvenile diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks, are excellent foods rich in Vitamin D. 

Vitamin C Optimizes Your Immune System

  • For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day
  • Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage — a type of firm tissue that covers the bones.
  • As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging. Vitamin C from foods also seems to reduce the risk of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis.
  • Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes.

Iron

  • The amount of iron you need is 8.7mg a day for men over 18. 14.8mg a day for women aged 19 to 50. 8.7mg a day for women over 50.
  • The main responsibility of iron is properly functioning hemoglobin. It helps carry oxygen to your tissue and organs. 
  • Some of the other ways iron helps your immune system is by playing a major role in pathways and immune cells involved in iron regulation, from initial uptake in the gut to the utilization of iron for Fe-S clusters, heme biogenesis, and mitochondrial function. 
  • Shellfish, spinach, liver, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa 

Vitamin E to Help Optimize Your Immune System

  • The recommended daily amount of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams a day.
  • Besides acting as an antioxidant, vitamin E supports your body’s immune function by supporting the growth of t cells. The role of the t cell is to fight infection by fighting against infected cells and activating other immune cells for an effective immune response. As a result, Vitamin E is a necessary tool in helping your body fight off and prevent infections.
  • Kiwi, avocado, spinach, squash, seeds, asparagus, and berries are great sources of Vitamin E.

Vitamin B

  • The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia that occurs due to deficiency of folic acid and B12 causes systemic and vascular inflammation contributing to the pathogenesis of many other diseases such as cardiovascular, kidney, and neurovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and cancer.
  • Adequate dietary levels of folic acid and B12 can act as preventative measures for inflammation, immune dysfunction, and disease progression.
  • Salmon, walnuts, leafy greens, legumes, and eggs are excellent sources of Vitamin B. 

Do you want to optimize your immune system better? Check out the full Episode 80 here 👇

SHOW NOTES:

0:00 Introduction
2:17 Episode Introduction
4:34 Maintain Hydration
13:53 How sleep affects the immune system and your mood
22:20 Citrus, ginger, and yogurt
28:07 Supplements