I always tell my patients how mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing are intimately linked.
When we are happy and relaxed, we allow our bodies the chance for great physical health. If we are stressed or anxious, eventually our bodies will show symptoms of this.
But did you know that one of the results of stress can be poor bone density leading to osteoporosis and increased risk of fracture?
Osteoporosis is known as the silent disease because most people do not know they have it until they suffer a fracture – then it’s not so silent. A hip fracture in an elderly person can be life changing.
Research shows that stress affects our bones due to the production of cortisol.
When we experience stress, we release cortisol – a stress hormone produced in “fight or flight situations”. The problem with chronic stress is that we are always in fight or flight mode with stress hormones floating around our system.
Too much cortisol wreaks havoc on our bone health.
This is because cortisol makes our bones create more osteoclasts – specialised cells that absorb and remove bones. Cortisol also stops calcium entering the bones. This combination leads to reduced bone density.
In short, bones are a major target for stress.
THREE WAYS TO DE-STRESS
So here are three very quick and simple ways to de-stress. They will your bones and much more!
- Think of three things you are grateful for today. It is impossible to feel anxious or stressed when feeling gratitude!
- Breathe! Pay attention to your breath just for 30 seconds. Make your out breath longer than your inbreath. This immediately cancels out your fight or flight response.
- Laugh! Even just a few seconds of laughter produces the feel-good hormone serotonin which boosts mood and reduces stress. If you can’t think of anything to laugh about, just force yourself to fake laugh and then you will start true laughing at the fake laughing! In other words, fake it ‘til you make it!
Wishing you all health and happiness,
Dr Maria Amasanti