Episode 143: How To Reduce Your Stress
This week on Geeky Magic, we take a dive into the modern pandemic of Stress and its effects on our physiology. We discuss stress reduction techniques, the power of cortisol, cortisol's effects on the brain, psychological and environmental stressors in modern living, and the importance of stress management.
Geeky Magic is a new type of episode I’m adding to the lineup to take a step away from the interviews. I’m going to bring you personal insights, FAQs, and trending topics in a more condensed, quick, and actionable way. If you ever have a question about anything, I have a Facebook group where I address listener questions! Make sure to join the Facebook Group.
- 0:30 Introduction
- 3:00 Physiological Symptoms of Stress
- 5:51 Psychological or Environmental Stressors
- 8:40 Fight Or Flight
- 12:15 Cortisol
- 15:55 Effects On Bones and Osteoporosis
- 17:08 Cortisol Effects On The Brain
- 19:10 Importance Of Stress Management
- 21:35 Emotional Maturity & Trauma
- 26:15 Exploring Stress Management
- 31:05 Social Media & The News
- 34:42 Practices For Stress Reduction
- 39:14 Stress Reduction & Joy Amplification Assignment
- 41:08 Conclusion
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Dr. Stephanie (00:01): Hey, Betty's welcome back to geeky magic. And today we are talking all about stress. It's apparently stress awareness month which I know is a topic that may be coming to you late seeming as though we are in the middle towards the end of April. But I think that this is kind of silly. I think that every month should be stress awareness month, you know, in the same reason why I gag a little bit at Valentine's day, right?
Dr. Stephanie (01:00):
Cause every day should be Valentine's day. And the same goes for stress every day, every month should be stress, stress awareness month. So I wanted to, even though, you know, I think that the holiday or the awareness is a little trite. I do definitely want to bring awareness to what some of the physiological implications of stress are, how this can affect women in particular, and then what we can be doing as a way to protect our bodies. And in particular, we want to save our brains. We want to save the frontal lobe. So I think that when we think about stress, you know, there are many, many, many sources of stress in this particular moment in history. You know, when we think about the 24 hour news cycle, you know, it's programming you to be scared and, you know, there's imminent death and imminent Armageddon, you know, the ever changing lockdown rules as a result of the pandemic, I am located in Ontario, which I think really should be renamed the people's Republic of communist Ontario, because, you know, we all know from the data that lockdowns don't necessarily change the incidents of cases, they just by time.
Dr. Stephanie (02:21):
So you're basically just pushing any new cases in, you're just sort of punting it to the the future. And then again, there's a whole other conversation around cases and mortality. The two, when you sort of parse through the data, they seem to be unrelated to each other. So you may notice in that 24 hour news cycle, that there's a lot of talk about the new cases, but there's not a lot of talk about the deaths because they are too independent. Even though that might seem confusing, but they are independent of each other. So lots of stress, lots of stress in today's day and age. And when we think about, you know, what happens when we think about stress from a physiological level, I really want to get into some of the neurochemicals and some of the effects on our systems and in our brains.
Dr. Stephanie (03:12):
So when we think about, you know, stress, a lot of people will correctly put together that cortisol is one of the big players, and we're going to talk about some of the effects of cortisol, but just before we do, there are some other hormones that I think are worth highlighting. So epinephrin, and nor epinephrin, these are secreted from the adrenal megillah from the adrenal glands and ear adrenal glands are these little itty bitty Glens that sit on top of your kidneys and they are a part of your fight or flight response. So you may have heard of that. That is the classic stress response that we talk about. This is you are fighting the proverbial tiger, or you are flighting the proverbial tiger or in today's modern day and age. You know, most of you listening are probably not, you know, in an, in a rural area or even if you are, you know, the threat of a tiger, you probably have some form of housing or protection from the elements.
Dr. Stephanie (04:11):
So today's fight or flight is really, you know, Bray being able to quickly react to someone, cutting you off in traffic, or when you see your, you know, newly crawling toddler about to approach the stairs to the basement and you haven't yet put up the baby Gates, right? These are the fight or flight response. You have this cascade of events that happens that is going to put your body on high alert. And when we talk about epinephrin norepinephrine, these are catacholamines and I have actually a pretty quick half-life. So their half-life is a few minutes when they're circulating in the blood and they are degraded either by a methylation. So for those of you that remember my conversation with Dr. Carrie Jones, you will remember the catechal Oh, methyl transferees, or comped seal T. So you can degrade catecholomines via methylation via this comped gene or via de amination.
Dr. Stephanie (05:20):
By monoamine oxidase is R M a O [inaudible]. So that also might sound familiar to you if you are familiar at all with some of the medications that are often used to treat depression, we are when that type of medication and MAOI, or a mono amine oxidase inhibitor is prescribed, we are trying to stop the deamination of these. monoamines so when you're stressed, you have these catacholamines that are spilling out yeah. Into the blood, right. And this stress response can come psychological reactions, right? So like what we've seen in the pandemic, there's a lot of fear. There's a lot of uncertainty or it can be also environmental stressors, right? So if you are someone who likes to watch, you know forensic crime shows, right. Or even even action movies, right. I, I realized personally a long time ago that I do not enjoy movies, and this is something that me and my partner are completely at opposite ends of the spectrum on he is a cinephile.
Dr. Stephanie (06:31):
He absolutely adores the cinema and the theatrical and going to the movies and being told the storyline. And I jumped like a skiddish cat, like sort of sudden sound or bright light, or, you know, any, you know, the dramatic pauses and tension. That's often weaved into a story in any movie. It does not feel good in my nervous system. I do not enjoy movies. So when I do watch movies, it's usually romcoms because we all know it's all as the same, like it's very predictable in terms of a storyline, or I tend to not watch action films. So there's some some exceptions to that in my personal life guy, Richie, if you're listening of course you're not listening your guy Ritchie, but I absolutely love a guy, Ritchie films, very gangster, but like not so much where I'm jumping out of my seat and I'm like a cat, you know, upside down on the ceiling shaking.
Dr. Stephanie (07:32):
So so when we, when the whole point of this is really to just explain that those catecholamine levels can be induced by psychological reactions to watching the news, or, you know, being really scared of COVID-19 or being separated from family members because of, you know, lockdown or, you know, not being able to you know, open your business and make money for your family or environmental stressors that you that you can control. So we're not going to talk so much about, you know, the political and economic things around the pandemic. But what I do want to help talk about today is how we can best control the environment so that we can now control our stress response. So before we get into that, I want to just explain some of the systemic effects that these catacholamines and cortisol have on the body.
Dr. Stephanie (08:31):
So generally, when we talk about this fight or flight response, what's generally happening is your body is basically preparing you for physical activity, right? So fighting the tiger flighting, the tiger physiologically, you may see increases in your heart rate or your blood pressure, your respiratory rate. You may see an increase in your blood glucose levels, and we'll talk about how cortisol is really responsible for that counterregulatory effect against insulin. You may find also that there is a zeroing in of your visual or mental focus that you are not able to focus on anything else, other than the target. If I were looking in your eyes, you know, if I were to take the flashlight on the back of my phone and flash it in your eyes, I may see a dilation of the pupil. You're basically letting in more light letting in more information in a stressful scenario.
Dr. Stephanie (09:33):
These are all general reactions of the sympathetics, the sympathetic nervous system. You've heard me talk about this on the pod before, but this is a branch of your autonomics that happen. You know, your autonomics are largely unconscious, so you can't say, Hey people's can you please dilate or, Hey, respiratory rate, like, you know, bring it up a notch. Like this happens under it's like involuntary. Okay. And the reason why we care is whether you are in an acute stressful situation, or it is a chronic ongoing, stressful situation. Like what we are seeing from the pandemic, this is going to have an effect on how substrate is diverted, right? And which systems in the body are going to get that preferential treatment. One of the systems that gets preferential treatment is the musculoskeletal system, or M S K for short, because this is primarily involved in either you need to have substrate or energy available to your muscles so that you can sprint to get your newborn from falling down the stairs.
Dr. Stephanie (10:50):
Or, you know, in my case, I remember I had my newborn son, he was in a swing and my toddler we were at a park and then my toddler decided to like sprint towards the the street. So I had my little you know, my little six month old in, in a swing. And then I had my two year old running towards the street. So very high stress situation when you have the musculoskeletal system primed, right? You have cortisol, which we're going to talk about in just a moment. Cortisol is going to throw substrate to your muscles. Okay. And this is going to take priority, for example, over digestion, over your immune system, which has been a topic of focus over the past year. And of course your reproduction. So think about your menstrual cycle, think about your fertility, your ability to get pregnant and stay pregnant.
Dr. Stephanie (11:48):
And if that's not, you know, a goal for you right now, think about how at least I know in the women that I, that speak to me, that menstrual irregularities have been very much, I don't want to say normal, but very, very common in the in the past year where we have these chronic activation of the sympathetic system, which necessarily, and predictably affects your menstrual cycle. And a lot of this is under the influence of cortisol. So this is the you know, we tend to blame cortisol tends to get a bad rap. But when we think about cortisol, it is, it is a diurnal hormone, meaning that it has a circadian pattern. We typically see it very high in the morning. It's like your get up and go. And then over the course of the day, what should happen is we should see that cortisol level drops and should like steadily lower over the course of the day.
Dr. Stephanie (12:46):
I almost like to look at it like a, like a ski slope, you know, it should be really at the peak should be right in the morning. And then you should be sliding downhill for the rest of the day with cortisol in particular, obviously it's, it's, you know, increased in response to a perceived stress real or imagined. And it's also released in response to a low blood glucose concentration. So this is why those of you that have, you know, a continuous glucose monitor or CGM, if you work out fasted. So if you work out without eating anything before you either do your cardiovascular workout or your resistance training, this is why you will see if you're watching, watching it, your glucose levels will spike. And that's because cortisol also has the ability to increase blood sugar through something called gluco Neo Genesis, which is just means you create your own endogenous glucose.
Dr. Stephanie (13:48):
So it also suppresses the immune system as we've mentioned. And it does a whole bunch of stuff like in the short term, you know, very brilliant response, but in the longterm not so not so great. So cortisol is sort of overarching job is to increase the net concentration of glucose in the blood so that we can prioritize that substrate going to the Ms. K it is further complimented by a decrease in the sensitivity of peripheral tissue to insulin. So this prevents the the tissue that is not part of the MSK from taking glucose from the blood. So we, we definitely want in a high stress situation, we definitely want the blood glucose going to where it can best give us the outcome that we want, which is survival. If we think that we're under threat, we're going to throw the substrate into the MSK system.
Dr. Stephanie (14:51):
The other thing it does, and this adds a bit of a layer of complexity, but it acts on hormones that increase glucose production like glucagon and adrenaline. Now, the other thing that it does, which is kind of a chronic effect, and this is important. So key acute short-term, we are saving the substrate for our muscles, but over the long-term. So if prolonged, right, elevated levels of cortisol can lead to Proteus lysis, which is the breakdown of proteins, and we will see muscle wasting. Okay. And this is the reason for this cortisol is trying to have this gluconeogenic effect. And if we are under CRA chronic low grade stress or chronic low grade inflammation, we will break down muscle to get those amino acids in order to go through that gluconeogenic pathway, a couple other things, again, over a prolonged sustained release of cortisol reduces your bone formation ladies, especially in perimenopause.
Dr. Stephanie (16:02):
And it has an end in menopause. Truly. We want to be thinking about big dense bones and cortisol does the opposite of that. So when we have long-term exposure to cortisol, it tends to favor the development of first osteopenia, which is sort of on the continuum and on the road to osteoporosis. And we look at osteoporosis on imaging. You know, it's, it's very looks kind of like Swiss cheese. It's when you look at the, when you look at the bone, both the cortical bone, which is like the outside of the bone, as well as the cancellous bone sort of the inner matrix of the bone. We see this like Swiss cheese, or like PA it's like pockmarked bone, and that is going to make it more fragile, more susceptible to fracture. And again, this, you know, depending on where the fracture occurs, then we will also see cognitive decline in response to that that's sort of the, the body effects of cortisol.
Dr. Stephanie (17:06):
It also affects your brain as well. So in the short term, like with an emotionally salient event, so let's say, you know, the birth of your child or the day that you got married, or, you know, for me, it was, I have I mean, both of those days, I remember very well, but also like the day that I received that big thick envelope from the school that I had applied to, I was like, okay, usually the rejection letters are small. This is thick. It has like the Curry, you know, that was like, Oh man, I think I got in, you know, so these emotionally salient events cortisol will work in the brain to code memories. Okay. So whether that is, and it's usually emotional events, both positive, negative, I've given you a couple positive ones, but also negative ones as well. Like the time that, you know for example, I was on my son's hoverboard and I couldn't figure out how to make it work and the things started spinning around and I face-planted.
Dr. Stephanie (18:03):
So that was the last time that I got on the hoverboard because I remember very well how much my nose hurt after that. So you know, cortisol, there's like a theory around flashbulb memories. So if you think back to you know, for example, the world trade center a flashbulb memory, most people can remember where they were and what they were doing the day that that happened. And cortisol is the proposed mechanism by which these flashbulb memories are encoded into our hippocampus, which is the area in the brain that's involved in learning and memory. So short-term cortisol helps to Incode these like really emotional these emotionally salient events, but long-term, again, it's like brilliant system in the short term, it kills the long-term long-term exposure to cortisol will damage those hippocampal. And then it will prevent the routine travel of all memory.
Dr. Stephanie (19:09):
So short-term working intermediate and long-term memory. So why I'm sharing this with you is to help drive home. The point that stress management is really important. And for women a lot of time, as you know, when we think about someone who's stressed, we think of someone who's just like losing their marbles or they're screaming, or they're red in the face, but it's often for women at least. And this is maybe a separate topic in terms of our societal conditioning. Know, if I were to say to you like, Hey Betty, how are you today? You know, and you could have, like, your husband may be just got, let off, you know, you're having a really hard time. Homeschooling the kids, you fear your kids are falling behind, and you're not sure how, you know, the next is going to be paid. Like you might answer, instead of telling me all those details, you might say, Oh, I'm fine.
Dr. Stephanie (19:59):
How are you for women? Our lives can literally be unfurling like a ball of yarn, you know, in the background, right. Just beyond vision, but we don't know how to deal with it. So what I wanted to do with this geeky magic episode is to talk about a couple of ways that we can begin to move towards stress modulation. So when we think about, you know, the boss, the the husband or the partner, you know, the kids, these are not necessarily stressors. These are demands. It is our perceived response to the boss, to the partner, to the kids, to the bills that are that will determine whether or not we have a stress response. And so when we begin to change the way that we look at these demands and we can change the way that we respond to them. So I know what you're thinking.
Dr. Stephanie (20:57):
Okay, doc, like, how do we change our viewpoint, right? How do we not work ourselves up? Like, there's a lot on my plate right now. And it's easier said than done, you know, it's non-linear, and there's no one answer that's going to fit each and every person. So I don't have the magic bullet. I can tell you what has worked for me, what patterns I have seen worked for many other women. But part of this is you awakening to your own journey and being gentle enough with yourself to allow for that exploration and to see what works and what doesn't one of the constant patterns that I have picked up and teased out from some of the many psychologists and mental health experts that I've interviewed on the podcast is that most of us are emotionally immature. So what does that mean? It means that most of us have a, some sort of commonality in a, you know, one of several core wounds, right?
Dr. Stephanie (22:05):
Not feeling like we are worthy enough, not feeling like we are smart enough, not feeling like we are capable enough that we are lovable, that we are good just as we are. And we carry these wounds. We carry these in a maladaptations if you will, into adulthood. And I remember when I was interviewing Dr. Shefali, it's a Bari. And in our original conversation, she said, you know, most adults have the emotional maturity of, you know, I think she said an eight year old or a 10 year old, or, you know, some, something like that. And this matters for us to be aware of this because when we become triggered, when we become activated, we default back to older neurological patterns and strategies that we develop, let's say, as a child or a teenager, or as a young adult in a traumatic or demanding situation, right.
Dr. Stephanie (23:04):
In effect, we regress, right. We, we become that scared, fearful little girl, or that fearful little boy who's afraid of being hit, who is afraid of being rejected by his or her parents. Right. We feel if we feel humiliated or if we feel scared, you know, as adults, we might lash out in anger, right. And of course, what happens when we become scared. And when these old neurological patterns are being activated and awakened, we regress, right. We stop listening. We stop perceiving the situation for what it is or the other person for what they're saying. And we're just reliving our own trauma, right? We are reenacting what it was like as a child. And this is actually why the new cycle works so well. Right. We, they know that, you know, fear works. They know that when you think that the world is coming to an end, you are going to be in a part of your brain called your limbic system.
Dr. Stephanie (24:04):
That turns off your ability to reason, right? You are just scared now about simply surviving. And of course the pandemic is a very good example of this. And, you know, COVID is a very real thing. I've had many colleagues, many friends who've had it for the most part, I'd say that the, you know, the symptoms that I have seen have been mild, but I've had a couple of friends that really like very healthy, you know, one of my colleagues she's a physician just had the worst go at it, had couldn't get her oxygen levels up saturate. So it really does vary from person to person. And COVID is a very real viral illness, but the coverage, the news coverage, the Armageddon, like that has caused so much duress, right. Exacerbation of that stress response that I was just describing to you and frankly, for many leaders to make just terrible economic decisions, which directly also impact the stress response, because it impacts many people's ability to make a living for themselves.
Dr. Stephanie (25:13):
Right? So for those of us who want to keep our frontal lobes, right, for those of us who want to keep our executive reasoning center alive and well, you know, the frontal lobe you know, I've said this before is the, is what makes us human, right? Every single am animal has a limbic system. It has a fight or flight response. We are of the few mammals that have a frontal lobe, and then even then a prefrontal cortex. So we must be actively protecting our ability to think and social media, the news, you know if you've watched the Netflix special, I believe it's called the social dilemma. They talk about you, the user, right? Using the Instagram, using the Facebook you are their product, right. And the more that they have your attention, that is the commodity that they are trading in.
Dr. Stephanie (26:15):
All right. The more that they can imprint fear, the more they, the erosion in the part of your brain that keeps you human, your prefrontal cortex. So what can we do? Right. So we have a very stressful environment right now. We have this virus, we have a lot of competing ideas around what the right way forward is. And there's a lot of demands that each of you Bettys are, have in your own lives. So like I said, there's no one path, right. There is nonlinearity in terms of your own stress management prowess. So in many ways, it's like a monotone, it's a non-monotonic dose response, meaning that, you know, as you move along the X axis, if you imagine sort of a two dimensional X and Y axis is going up, X is across the horizon, you know, just because you increase the dose of something, maybe more meditation or more, you know, walks in the park or Mo doesn't mean necessarily that you will heal more, but one of your missions, you know, should you choose to accept it is to actually give yourself the freedom to explore with different techniques and practices that are going to work for you so that you can gently and consistently use them over time.
Dr. Stephanie (27:42):
And I say this a lot, and I'm directly talking to my type a Betty's here. Okay. Because I know because I am you, when I, when I read first about meditation, I was like, Oh, well, if it's really good, then I should probably be doing it for like an hour a day. Right. And of course, an hour, a day is great, but in an hour, every day is not, you know, feasible at least for me in my life. And there's an opportunity cost as well. Right. So I think sometimes we, when we, when we think about a solution, my type a Betty is my boardroom Betty's, as I like to secretly call you, you like to go all in. You're like, okay, I'm putting all my chips on this one thing. If meditation is going to help my stress management, then I'm just going to do it all day long.
Dr. Stephanie (28:24):
Right. And there is a, as I was saying, this non-monotonic dose response, there is a certain, I like to sort of look at it as like a U curve, like an inverted U curve. Like too little of the intervention is probably not going to give you enough benefit. There's sort of a middle ground where you're going to get, you know, the maximum dose of that benefit. And then as you move along that X axis, you know, more of it is not necessarily going to be linearly, improving the way that it once was. So there's more of like a, you know, inverted you really, to some of these techniques that we're going to talk about. So, so the first thing is to give yourself the freedom, right? You are going to play with different techniques and practices that are going to work for you.
Dr. Stephanie (29:10):
And you are going to be gentle with yourself. That is, you will have to pinky promise me that you were going to be gentle with yourself, or else there's no point if you are beating yourself up because you didn't meditate today. I mean, that's sort of, you know, you're, you're going two steps forward, three steps back. So, and you even might find that for using meditation as this example, you may find a work that only a particular time of day, you know, maybe taking a walk in the afternoon versus meditating is better for you, or maybe left nostril breathing, you know, works at another time, et cetera. So I would say, give yourself permission, give yourself some space and almost why don't you just like, make yourself a list of all, all the things that you can think of that make you happy things that are free, right?
Dr. Stephanie (29:58):
There's lots of things that we can do. You know, like the old song goes the best things in love, fall free, right? The best things in some of the best things in life are free. And I apologize for my singing, but you know, some of the best things that are going to help your stress response are free and available to everybody. And some of them may cost some money and you can also relate, right? You can choose and start with some of the things that bring you joy that make you feel happy. And, you know, as you grow and as you learn how to become more aware of that stress response, or when you're feeling activated, you can try different things to overlay on top of that, you know? Okay. So things I think one of the first things that most people should be engaging in is setting boundaries for new the news and for social media use.
Dr. Stephanie (30:53):
I think that a lot of what I said see, and what I hear people reporting to me is that they use social media as a self placating or self-soothing tool. So when they're feeling really stressed, they're like, Ugh, I'm just going to go and scroll on Instagram. Right. so before you use any social media, whether that's Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever it is, I think that defining your boundaries around its use are incredibly important. So how often are you going to go on Instagram? Is it once a day? Is it 10 times a day? Like how and why no right or wrong answer. And there's no judgment, whatever that number is for you, but defining for yourself how often you are going to go on. Social media, I think is important. And for each time that you go on, let's say, you know, to Instagram, how long you're going to be on there for, are you going to spend five minutes?
Dr. Stephanie (31:51):
Is it going to be 10 minutes? Is it going to be an hour? You know, again, no right or wrong answer, but I want you to be able to define what you, how you want to use this tool so that this tool is not using you. What is the purpose? Are you getting news information? Is it just pleasure? You want to see what your friends are up to otherwise. And this has happened to me. So full transparency, rightful honesty. I've been, I've gone down these like crazy rabbit holes on Instagram. And I look up and I'm like, Oh my God, I've been on here for 45 minutes. How did this happen? So, you know, it's crazy how time seems to bend when you're in this, in this matrix. So defining your boundaries around social media use and what you're letting in again, back to that, protecting your brain whenever you see, you know, news headlines or she, or like who wore it better or whatever, they are trying to activate outrage in you.
Dr. Stephanie (32:50):
Right? It's like this rage porn, like, Oh my, and there's, you know, there's many doctors that I see that really liked to enact this like injustice and this strange porn. And quite frankly, like they're part of the problem, right? I mean, you can educate people, but there's, there's, there's a delicate line. I think that people that we can eat very easily cross, you know, doctor or not, where if you are seeking to inform versus seeking to enrage. And I'm not saying that that there should not be, he you know, certain social issues, I think warrant a complete revamping. That's very, very important. But when you are, are, when we are thinking about how we can manage how we can best control tribute, you know, whether that is to our families, to our communities, you know, going down this rage porn rabbit hole, I think can be incredibly dangerous to your physiology.
Dr. Stephanie (33:52):
And then over the longterm, you know, is going to affect you so that you can't enact the change that you are looking to be and seek out in, in the world. So it is very important that you protect yourself so that you can be a leader and you can be a contributor to the change that you want to see. So defining your boundaries, social media I personally have absolutely no news in my home. I don't care if he's left. I don't care if it's right, you know, in my opinion, every news channel is bought. So it's like a colossal waste of time. But if that is important for you again, I love and honor any choice that you make, as long as you have an informed consent around the use. So defining your boundaries around news, you know, about consuming the news and understand being that the information that you may be receiving is not the entire picture.
Dr. Stephanie (34:44):
So that's my news and social media take down rant, if you will, a couple of other things, but I have found incredibly helpful and very, very loving and nurturing to the frontal lobe is walking, and this can be done indoors on a treadmill. It can be done outdoors, that's the free version. And I think, you know, sunglasses off, you know, face up to the sky, getting some sunshine, I think is really important, but just that general movement, like that general low grade walking is going to be bring a lot of blood into that frontal lobe. It tends to, that's actually one of the most parasympathetic actions that we can take as humans. You know, we often think, okay, gosh, I'm so stressed. Like, I'm, you know, I'm going to sit on the couch and I'll watch Netflix, or I'll sit on the couch and, you know, air quotes, relax, but you are, you know, sitting or even lying, you're partially flexed, right?
Dr. Stephanie (35:45):
So we want to think about how we can activate our extensors. And we do that through walking because we're using our glutes, we're using our back, you know, we're using our arms to swing. So there's a lot of brain activity there. It's very, very soothing, very, very healthy for the brain. Prioritizing sleep as much as you can. So I have very hard boundaries. I've, you know, as a woman, my sleep cycle is longer than that, of my partner and just men in general. So I go to bed a little earlier than everybody else. So I get my kids, you know, they do their evening routine and then I'm, I'm in bed a little earlier than than my partner. So sleep is really important and we'll do a separate geeky magic on, on sleep hygiene, but suffice it to say some of the best practices that you can do is making your, you know, reducing your coffee use, making sure that, you know, you're not having coffee too late into the night, making sure that you're not in front of blue light, right.
Dr. Stephanie (36:46):
Technology is like excessive use of technology and the blue light that it, that it admits is very toxic to the frontal lobe. Exercising. So we talked about walking. Exercising is a great stress reduction whenever I am feeling you know, I typically work out in the morning, but I put all of my worries into my resistance training. So I become a beast. Sometimes my partner is like, Oh my God, where did you go? You know, like all my mind is like in my muscle and all of the, you know, anger that I might have, or rage or pain or sadness or fear, or, you know, whatever. I put into that workout and I feel like I leave it you know, in the weights on the gym floor. So that's a really great way to reduce stress as well. And you know that I'm not going to talk about stress reduction without mentioning the big Oh, right.
Dr. Stephanie (37:40):
The places, Oh, Oh, the places you will go with them. Bingo. Orgasming is one of the best things that a woman can do to reduce her stress response. Parasympathetics improving the heart rate, improving the respiratory rate, improving your oxygen, saturation, improving all the things, not to mention that it feels really great. This is one of the best things that we can do as women to help. And this is not a comprehensive list, right? So we've talked about, you know, meditation getting out in nature, going for a walk, no news, no social media, exercising, orgasming, sleep left nostril breathing you know, really just closing off the right nostril and breathing through the left cyclically. Typically I like to draw from Emily Fletcher, she's been on the podcast a couple of times of Ziva meditation and the two X breath. So inhaling for, or sorry, exhaling for twice.
Dr. Stephanie (38:40):
As long as you inhale you can do that left nostril breathing, or both nostrils can be engaged. There are so many things, you know, buying yourself some flowers, like, you know, at the time of this recording today, I went out with my partner and I don't normally have cappuccinos, but I treated myself to a cappuccino and it was a small little thing, but it was just, you know it was joy in a cup and I really enjoyed every, every moment of it. So what I would like to leave you with is in a, an a, an assignment, if you will, is to kind of put together what that stress reduction slash joy list might be for you. So if you take a paper, you know, go old school, you know, divided in half on the left side is stress reduction.
Dr. Stephanie (39:29):
And on the right side is joy amplification, right? So we have stress reduction on the one side, and maybe you have the meditation there, the left nostril breathing, the sleep hygiene and joy amplification, maybe orgasms go there, maybe buying yourself a cappuccino once a week, or you know, things that bring whatever it is that bring you joy. For me, I just signed up for some shuffle dancing classes and these bring me so much joy because first of all, I suck and it's really hilarious to watch myself in the mirror as I'm trying these moves, but it's also really fun for me to try and learn something new. So that brings me a lot of joy. So I want you to think about what your joy amplification might be and how you can put boundaries around and, you know, helping your stress management so that we can truly get through this together.
Dr. Stephanie (40:25):
Not just the, you know, pittances that you hear sort of politicians constantly saying, but the real pandemic that I, that I worry about and that I think about is mental health and suicides and the impact, you know, not even getting into the impact on the economy, but I feel that the amount of stress that we've all collectively been through this, like, it can be a real activation of trauma from a younger time. And I really want to help if I'm able to in any small way to help you start to think about how you in your everyday life can begin to improve your stress. So I'll leave that, I'll leave this geeky magic here, and I'll give you one more assignment. If you have, if you put together your stress reduction and joy amplification list, or even if you just think of one thing, tag me on Instagram, you know, either doing the thing, whether it's going for a walk or, you know, doing your nails or, you know, whatever is bringing you joy, however, you are reducing your stress and tag me in it.
Dr. Stephanie (41:31):
I would love to see how, how you are doing it. And if there's ways that I can support you, I absolutely will. Okay. My Betty's. So that is it for me, for geeky magic for this week. I hope that you have a wonderful one and we'll see here, same bat time, same bat channel next week. I hope you enjoyed today's episode for those of you who want to continue on this week's geeky magic carpet ride with me, visit better show.co forward slash show notes. You'll find research links, summary notes, musings that I prepared in preparation for the podcast. And I often throw in some of my best practices, bonuses, and links. All the juicy bits are in there for you.