Hey worrywart: take our stress test to find out how much you know about stress and pick up tips to beat it!
True or False: Stress can make you fat.
Answer: TRUE. When you’re in a stressful situation, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol–hormones that put your system on hyper-alert–which mobilize stored carbohydrates and raise blood sugar for quick energy. The cortisol urges you to eat more to replace the carbohydrate and fat you burned dealing with the stressor, and holds on to fat…fine back in the day, when the stressor was a wild animal coming at you and you had to escape. Not so great when it’s your boss that’s coming at you and you haven’t actually moved from your desk chair.
Which type of exercise is best for stress relief?
A. Weight lifting
Answer: B AND C. Aerobic movement, like biking, running, or dancing, helps burn off built-up adrenaline and cortisol, while meditative movement like yoga or tai chi calms the mind and enhances deep breathing.
True or False: Being a worrywart can make you sick.
Answer: TRUE. It’s not just in your head: you can actually worry yourself sick. The study found that people with the highest perceived stress had 80 percent fewer protective antibodies in their blood than those who were actually stressed out. What’s the difference? Actual stress is an in-the-moment worry about something you control: a big meeting at work or a fight with your significant other. Perceived stress is worrying about something you have no control over, like the economy.
Chronic stress can contribute or lead to:
A. Heart attacks
Answer: A, B, C AND D: Chronic stress can contribute or lead to asthma, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, depression, ulcers and ulcerative colitis, among other problems. There’s even evidence to suggest that stress may advance the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
True or False: Laughter reduces stress.
Answer: TRUE. Laughter helps optimize the hormones in the endocrine system, including decreasing the levels of cortisol and epinephrine, which lead to stress reduction (studies have even shown that repetitious laughter causes the body to respond in a way similar to moderate exercise).
Which of these sounds are best for relieving stress?
A. Rock music
C. The sound of water
Answer: B AND C. Whether it’s a babbling brook, waves breaking onshore, the steady rush of a waterfall, or the drumming of a rain shower, the sound of water helps you regulate your breathing and quiet your mind…and can even help lull you to sleep! And research has shown that listening to music like jazz and bluegrass for 30 minutes, particularly during stress, increases immunoglobulin A (IgA) production, an immune-boosting protein that will help keep you from getting sick.
Tell us in the comments: What’s your worst stressor…and your favorite way to beat it?