Fund Your Health by Reducing Stress by Dr. Lisa Williams

HEALTH PORTFOLIO (H-Portfolio)

H-Asset: Emotional Wealth

Our emotions are our guidance system and symptoms of anxiety and stress continually deplete our H-Portfolio’s asset; Emotional Wealth. This results in huge emotional and physical debt, as well as taxing of our health care resources.

Anxiety, back problems, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart attacks, insomnia, stroke, and many other conditions have all been linked to stress. Stress is a reaction to a situation such as anxiety, and is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of emotional or physical tension. Anxiety disorder for example, is the most common mental illness, affecting more than 40 million adult Americans with the highest prevalence in ages 18 years and older. However, the number of children with anxiety disorder is rising; 1 in 8 children are now affected by this illness (CDC, 2015). Gordon (2011) and Dingle (2015), have discussed possible “addictions” to video gaming and the use of Internet, as a connection to an increased trend towards anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.

In the United States, a staggering $42 billion in direct medical costs are spent each year on anxiety, and people with anxiety are three to five times more likely to see their doctor. Furthermore, approximately 22.84 billion dollars of these costs are associated with repeated health care services. Ironically, although the costs are high, only 1/3 of those suffering from anxiety receive medical treatment (ADAA, n.d.).

Just as we must have a nest-egg that can help us live out our golden years in comfort, we also need emotional wealth, in order to stave off chronic debilitating illnesses that drain our finances and happiness. Developing an H-Portfolio that includes emotional wealth is extremely important, because a volatile market could prevent you from reaching your optimal health = wealth formula (H=W formula). It is never too early to invest in your emotional health.

Diversify: 

Review of the H-Investments

Exercise:

My H-Investment: As a licensed physical therapist, I am certain this MUST HAVE H-Investment is worth every cent. Building an H-Portfolio that includes exercise is another very wise H-Investment that creates health and balance, empowering you to invest and manage your own H-Solution for a healthy lifestyle. H-Problems mean very expensive repairs. I try to get some type of physical exercise every single day, and that might include stretching, strengthening, yoga, walking and/or biking, if I want to reduce my stress level. I don’t always feel better at first, but I always feel better when I am done. According to Burg et al. (2017), there is a relationship between stress and exercise that is bi-directional. In other words, being stressed resulted in exercising less, however, exercising decreased stress levels. Exercise is a step in molding a positive lifestyle change, and if we push ourselves to do even a minimal amount of exercise when feeling stressed, the level of stress could actually decrease. Gerber et al. (2017) and Furtado et al. (2016) both found physical activity improved stress levels in undergraduate students, as well as in older adults participating in chair yoga. Exercise can be done almost anywhere. One can exercise without a gym and in most locations. Start slow, but get out there and move!

History of this H-Investment: Indications of medical practitioners using exercise with their patients has been found more than 2.5 millennia ago. As early as 2600 BCE, medical historians have found evidence of physicians using breathing exercises for their patients in China. In 600 BCE, a physician, Susruta, became the first doctor to prescribe exercises for his patients. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, emphasized the therapeutic effects of exercise in his teaching. Herodicus, a teacher of Hippocrates, also emphasized these effects and clearly influenced Hippocrates. In 250-100 BCE, Caraka believed that exercise could “cure” diabetes. In 2017, the American College of Sports Medicine launched a global initiative for physicians to promote exercise in their practice, suggesting at the minimum that all individuals strive to attain 150 minutes of exercise per week (Tipton, 2014). This H-Investment history is well established. Although no one can guarantee emotional wealth, exercise is an enjoyable and non-stressful way of helping to control its symptoms.

Photo credit: Lisa Williams

Essential oils:

My H-Investment: Essential oils have many uses, but I will share my MUST HAVES for anxiety and stress. I diffuse 3-6 drops of 100 percent Lavender oil in an ultrasonic diffuser in my bedroom during exercise, meditation, or bedtime. I place lavender oil directly on my skin, or I open the bottle and breathe it in. For extra relaxation, I put 2-3 drops of lavender oil in a warm bath with Epsom salt. There are many more essential oils that help relieve stress and anxiety, whichever you select may be a personal preference. It is best to try a few before coming to a conclusion, or consult a resource, such as a local herbalist or book.

* Despite the many benefits of essential oils, there are some precautions. Proper precautions must be exercised with pregnant women, people with respiratory conditions, or parents wanting to use essential oils on children should absolutely consult with a physician prior to using essential oils. 

History of this H-Investment: The use of essential oils dates back more than 5000 years ago, and was used by the Greeks and Romans for a myriad of purposes, some which included health benefits. Most of the early use of essential oils were for medicinal purposes, including treating disease, skin issues, infection, and respiratory ailments. Watanabe et al. (2015) completed a randomized, controlled study looking at the effects of bergamot essential oil on various stress responses in healthy females and found promising results. Soto-Vasquez and Alvarado-Garcia (2017) ran a randomized experimental trial that found improvement when using mindfulness meditation and essential oils to treat patients with anxiety. When used separately, essential oils and meditation both significantly improvement participants’ post-test scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). However, combining essential oils and meditation simultaneously resulted in an improvement in both STAI scores and anxiety. 

Meditation

My H-Investment: Meditation has many benefits, but I will share this MUST HAVE as a tool for emotional wealth. I try to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes. I cannot express the importance of building an H-Portfolio that includes the mind-body connection. Meditation plays an important role in reducing anxiety and stress. I use several free podcasts from Hay House Meditations. Meditation and the joys of the “unsaid,” can calm and center the body for the day.

History of this H-Investment: Archeologists have discovered evidence of meditation in wall drawings dating from 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. Indian scriptures describe meditation techniques dating back 3,000 years ago. As time progressed, many great religions began to practice meditation as part of spiritual development (Puff, 2013). Leung et al. (2017) found that there are meditation-induced changes seen at the level of the brain, in the amygdala, where stress can originate. Meditation had decreased amygdala activity which could result in less stress. Furthermore, meditation lowers your H-Investment risk and puts more money in your pocket by reducing the amount of sick days and doctor visits (Hoge et al., 2017). What you invest in your health should be an important decision, and meditation could certainly help grow your H-Portfolio over time.

Acupuncture:

My H-Investment: Since I am a licensed acupuncturist, I continue to give a shout-out to on all of my incredible returns on this MUST-HAVE H-Investment. I have even been called (lovingly) by my patients and friends, Acu-Shrink, because acupuncture and re-balancing your H-Portfolio will not shrink your H-Investment. Not only do I treat adults for anxiety and stress, I see more and more children who also experience anxiety and stress. Luckily, acupuncture is gentle enough for the whole family. According to Dr. Katholi of the Cleveland Clinic, acupuncture can address multiple symptoms in one treatment and be very effective in the treatment of many pediatrics issues, including anxiety, ADHD, and sleep problems. A study of 450 children, ranging ages newborn to 17 years old, assessed the effects of acupuncture and safety when provided by well-trained professionals. Not only is it safe, but acupuncture also releases natural-occurring endorphins, and has no medication side effects (2013).

History of this H-Investment: Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and there is a reason for that. It works! With acupuncture, the body’s vital energy (Qi) circulates through the body’s channels, called meridians. These meridians have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Illness occurs when there is an imbalance or interruption of one’s Qi. Acupuncture increases overall energy and vitality, and helps the body achieve balance. Arvidsdotter, Marklund, and Taft (2014) found that showed patients with anxiety and depression who incorporate integrative treatment and therapeutic acupuncture, showed improvements in their symptoms and quality of life scores, over conventional treatment in all the parameters measured.

H-Dividends

Exercise, essential oils, meditation, with mindfulness, and acupuncture have been mentioned in my previous Fund Your Health Series. Imagine all the H-Possibilities by using the same H-Investments… they are endless!

By considering your H-Asset, Emotional Wealth, as carefully as you would consider your own financial nest egg, you will improve your emotional health and never have the need to re-invest. This will lead you to significant returns and dividends on your “H-Investment”! 

About Lisa’s Fund Your Health Blog

Lisa developed the Fund Your Health Blog to inspire people to achieve their health and wellness goals, by sharing what she has learned throughout her career and from her own personal journey. With Lisa’s relentless pursuit to restore the natural healing process, she reviews specific health assets (H-Assets) and recommends sound health investments (H-Investments) for building health dividends (H-Dividends) that are the key to a healthy lifestyle and will pay off in years to come. Yes, it is all about the H’s in her Health Portfolio. Using her approach will empower you to find your own solutions for a healthy lifestyle.

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About Dr. Lisa Williams

Lisa has developed a business culture of health equals wealth and a core philosophy that bridges the gap between health and wealth using what she calls H-Portfolios (Health Portfolios), which leads to overall health. Lisa’s quest for health answers began nearly 30 years ago, when she needed to start building her own H-Portfolio, and this led her to create a multi-pronged approach to health and wellness, and pursue other areas of medicine and attain her acupuncture license. Lisa has managed several health clinics and consulted in multiple corporate, health and wellness industries and branches of medicine. Her areas of practice and experience have included corporate wellness, fitness, health and beauty, internal medicine, neurology, pain management, pediatrics, rehabilitation, schools, scoliosis management, sports injuries, and weight loss clinics. 

Dr. Lisa Williams is a Health and Wellness Consultant and the founder of Gentle Touch Acupuncture and Gentle Touch Physical Therapy. in New York City. For more information: Contact Dr. Lisa Williams

Photo credit: Lisa Williams

 

References

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). (n.d.). Facts and statistics.  Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Arvidsdotter, T., Marklund, B., & Taft, C. (2014). Six-month effects of integrative treatment, therapeutic acupuncture and conventional treatment in alleviating psychological distress in primary care patients–follow up from an open, pragmatic randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med, 14, 210. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-210

Burg, M. M., Schwartz, J. E., Kronish, I. M., Diaz, K. M., Alcantara, C., Duer-Hefele, J., & Davidson, K. W. (2017). Does stress result in you exercising less? Or does exercising result in you being less stressed? Or is it both? Testing the bi-directional stress-exercise association at the group and person (N of 1) level. Ann Behav Med. doi:10.1007/s12160-017-9902-4

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015, Oct). Coping with stress. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html

Children’s Health Team, Cleveland Clinic. (2013). Acupuncture for kids. A surprising effective choice. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013102/acupuncture-for-kids.

Dingle, A., Kothari, J. (2015). Psychiatry advisor. Psychiatric impacts of video games and internet addiction on children.  Retrieved from http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/childadolescent-psychiatry/psychiatric-impacts-of-video-games-internet-addiction-on-children/article/396984/ 

Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. (2015). Berkeley, CA: Althea Press.

Furtado, G. E., Uba-Chupel, M., Carvalho, H. M., Souza, N. R., Ferreira, J. P., & Teixeira, A. M. (2016). Effects of a chair-yoga exercises on stress hormone levels, daily life activities, falls and physical fitness in institutionalized older adults. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 24, 123-129. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.05.012

Gerber, M., Ludyga, S., Mucke, M., Colledge, F., Brand, S., & Puhse, U. (2017). Low vigorous physical activity is associated with increased adrenocortical reactivity to psychosocial stress in students with high stress perceptions. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 80, 104-113. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.03.004

Gordon, S. (2011). Video game addiction tied to depression, anxiety in kids. Retrieved from https://www.health.usnews.com/health-news

Hoge, E. A., Guidos, B. M., Mete, M., Bui, E., Pollack, M. H., Simon, N. M., & Dutton, M. A. (2017). Effects of mindfulness meditation on occupational functioning and health care utilization in individuals with anxiety. J Psychosom Res, 95, 7-11. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.01.011

Leung, M. K., Lau, W. K., Chan, C. C., Wong, S. S., Fung, A. L., & Lee, T. M. (2017). Meditation-induced neuroplastic changes in amygdala activity during negative affective processing. Soc Neurosci, 1-12. doi:10.1080/17470919.2017.1311939

Puff, R. (2013, June 7). Psychology today. An overview of meditation: its origins and traditions.  Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meditation-modern-life/201307/overview-meditation-its-origins-and-traditions

Soto-Vasquez, M. R., & Alvarado-Garcia, P. A. (2017). Aromatherapy with two essential oils from Satureja genre and mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety in humans. J Tradit Complement Med, 7(1), 121-125. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.06.003

Tipton, C. (2014). Advancements in Physiological Education. The history of “exercise is medicine” in ancient civilizations.  Retrieved from http://advan.physiology.org/content/38/2/109

Watanabe, E., Kuchta, K., Komura, M, et al. (2015). Effects of bergamot essential oil aromatherapy on mood states, parasympathetic nervous system activity, and salivary cortisol levels in 41 health females. Forsch Komplementmed, 22 (1), 43-49.

 

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information on this site is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Doing anything recommended or suggested on this website/blog must be done at your own risk. 

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