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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 3, No. 3

Issue Date: March 16, 2006
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

Welcome to the Healthy Living News to the many of you who are joining us through our recent Go Red for Women programs, radio and TV interviews, newspaper articles, and through finding us on the Web.

In this issue, we'll explore some new research on stress. You'll find out the new reasons you should be afraid of stress—very afraid of stress—and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Have you ever missed the alarm clock and awakened late the morning of a big meeting? Did you throw on makeup and clothes, speed to work while fighting traffic, whip into Starbucks for your coffee fix, spill it on yourself while lunging back into traffic, and then arrive late for your meeting only to find out that you're supposed to make a presentation that you didn't even know about? Were you stressed? Or were you able to go with the flow and laugh it off?

Quick, answer this question with your first thought…On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low and 5 being high, my stress level is usually a ___.

If you said 1 or 2, congratulations for having your stress under control. More likely, you're at the opposite end of the scale. Life is stressful, especially for high achievers.

I know you're thinking, "What's the big deal…doesn't everyone have stress?" You may be shocked to learn that half of business people will die from stress-related illnesses—heart attacks, strokes, even cancer. That's partly because stress hijacks healthy habits, keeping you from doing the things that you know you should to be healthy. It's also partly due to what stress does to our bodies.

Let's look at some recent information regarding stress, and then we'll examine how you can avoid this. It is almost entirely avoidable, if you know how.

  • We now know why stress causes heart attacks. In addition to stress increasing your blood pressure for prolonged periods, causing damage, stress also leads to higher levels of platelets, the cells that form clots to stop bleeding. These clots cause heart attacks and strokes (brain attacks).
  • Depression is correlated with low levels of serotonin, and these low levels of serotonin are correlated with a greater risk of heart attacks. Serotonin is a brain chemical that is referred to as the body's "happiness drug." Then people taking antidepressants that help make more serotonin should be at less risk for heart disease, right? Wrong! They were actually at higher risk of dying from heart disease. Researchers surmised that the risk was caused by platelets clumping together. Thus, it's the stress that depression puts on the body that may cause this.   
  • Dana Reeve , widow of actor Christopher Reeve , recently succumbed to lung cancer. Her death raised awareness of the growth of lung cancer among non-smoking women, and that this disease takes twice as many non-smoking women (11,000 per year just in the U.S. ) as non-smoking men. Doctors speculate that estrogen makes women more vulnerable to secondhand smoke, which may have happened with Reeve. Estrogen also appears to exacerbate stress, and for Reeve, it was speculated that the stress of caring for her paralyzed husband may have simply made her body more vulnerable. Stress and estrogen just don't mix.

From these data points we can surmise that eliminating stress is an imperative for health. What does this mean to you? Please take a few moments to reflect on these questions:

  • Do I have stress?
  • How does it impact me?
  • How do I deal with my stress?
  • Is there a better way for me to deal with it?

The great news is that you can avoid most health risks simply by how you handle your stress. The key is in how you respond to it. Are you able to learn to love your stress by turning bad stress into good? If so, it won't have the same ill effects on you.

Could boosting your levels of serotonin impact how you deal with your stress? What you eat can be a major factor. Proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, vitamins B and C, and magnesium, are important in making these brain chemicals that help your body handle stress. Avoid overloading your body with fats, refined sugars, and caffeine that can throw it way out of balance. Keeping your body constantly in overdrive lowers your serotonin, but getting enough sleep rebuilds it, as does eating turkey, bananas, walnuts, avocados, and tomatoes.

I'm going out on a limb here to postulate that happy people are healthier people, but it's not such a stretch as research points in that direction. By nature, I'm an optimistic and happy person. So how come I have heart disease? At the time it happened, I was dealing with something stressful at work. I let it get under my skin and it made me vulnerable. Don't let this happen to you. Turning bad stress into good will help you live a long, healthy life. Learn to love your stress and become the happy, healthy person that you were meant to be.  

If you've been putting off taking control of your stress, take control today.
A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life will give you strategies
for taking control of your stress and guide you through
creating a plan to deal with your stress and save your life.

Since I'm celebrating my 3rd birthday
I got my second chance at life
on March 25, 2003
you can pick up a copy of
A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life at a special price.
Do it now, while you're thinking about your health. 

2005 Readers Preference Editor's Choice Award Winner

Taking control of your stress is easier than you think.  


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
®...improving lives & productivity
Speaker and Author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life
Read the first two chapters

Read the Newsweek interview with Mellanie: How a near-death experience prompted one woman to make a career of telling others what they need to know about heart disease

PS. The # 1 Female Health Hazard Nearly Killed Mellanie – Now She Fights Back

Using her second chance, she coaches individuals on creating healthy lifestyles and works with organizations to create healthy, productive workplaces.

A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life is her story and a workbook designed to guide readers through the process of making permanent and life-saving changes. It is a winner of the Readers Preference Editor's Choice Award for 2005 and was listed in Publisher's Weekly as a nominee for the Quills Award Debut Author of the Year. Buy it, or learn more...

PPS. Invite Mellanie to speak to your company, organization, or association. Her most popular topic is Staying Healthy and Productive in a Speed-Obsessed, Deadline-Driven World. See some organizations for whom she has spoken or with whom she has worked at and view comments from attendees at her speeches. Executives say "Mellanie delivers solid business results", and audiences say, "You changed my life."

PPPS. You may reprint this, or any of my articles, in your publication, company newsletter, or on your intranet. Please include attribution, copyright, and contact information and please send us a copy. Thanks.

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