Post : Are genes linked to stress ? 4 points of clarifications.

Some 50 – 80 years ago, people rarely used the word “stress”. Maybe the word was just another word in the dictionary whose meaning had the least relevance in their lives. But, today, it is the most common widely used word in every individual’s life.

Today, everywhere, you go, stress can follow you. At home, at the office, stuck in traffic, getting late and the list goes on. Therefore, the most common causes of stress in people’s lives nowadays.

Relationship stress.
Financial stress.
Workplace stress.
Health concerns.
Daily chorus stress.

4 points of clarifications as to how genes are linked to stress.

1.Genetical predisposition: Often seen, some people tend to battle more with day to day stress than some other people. So, how are genes related to our body’s psychological response? Genes produce proteins which influences our body’s reactions to different psychological responses and, stress being one of them. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), are tiny differences in the genes which affect the release of hormones and proteins in the body and determine the psychological responses. This is a reason, different people react differently and have a different level of stress for the same particular situation.

2.COMT gene: Catechol – Omethyltransferase is an enzyme which causes the body to break the stress hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Epinephrine and epinephrine are hormones produces during extreme stress, under fight and flight response whereas dopamine is feel good (reward) hormone which also function as a neurotransmitter. So depending on which version of the COMT gene you have, your genotype can be a :

Warrior gene: Those who perform well under stress or under pressure.

Strategic gene: Those whose performance suffers during stress but performs well in calm situations.
Combination of both: Those who are quite in between.

3.BDNF ( brain-derived neurotrophic factor): BDNF normally function as protecting and creating new neurons, strengthening the signals between neurons. As far as stress is concerned, this protein acts as a resilience factor. This helps you to tolerate and resist the stressful situation and can still act and make you perform without affecting your health and wellbeing.

4.Managing stress level: This is the most important part of this topic. So how do we manage stress level? Depending upon, genetic predisposition, you may be the either high or low level of stress resilience. So, easy steps to handle routine stress are:
Breathing/relaxation: Deep breathing is a simple step that can be effective to control stress. Because, when you breathe deep, this makes the brain to relax and calm down.
Exercise: When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, your body enters the feel-good phase. 2 types of endorphins: Anandamide and serotonin.

Exercise increases your level of anandamide which helps the body to produce BDNF which in turn helps to regulate stress.
Serotonin is a feel-good chemical which makes you happy, motivated which can be boosted by exercise, walking, running or any physical activity which you enjoy doing. When serotonin is level is maintained, stress is less likely to occur.

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Post: 7 tremendous benefits of a particular breathing technique (Kapalabhati)

I have been a yoga practitioner for years. It has been very instrumental in overall wellbeing in my life.
Kapalabhati in Sanskrit means ‘skull cleaning or shining’. It is a breathing technique practised as Pranayama in yoga. Though the word sounds awkward, it is a breathing exercise of successive, rapid, forceful exhalations followed by brief passive inhalation.

The procedure is quite simple:

  • Sit comfortably in Padmasana or simply legs crossed.
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • Follow your normal breathing for some time.
  • In a quick moment, contract your abdominal muscles, and forcefully exhale air from both of your lungs.
  • Then allow air to fill your lungs slowly without effort.
  • Perform this cycle for 10 times at a stretch, then return to normal breathing. With daily practice, the cycle can easily go up to 120 times with each round.

Since this is an ancient old practise, in spite of having tremendous benefits, it has some contraindications.

  • Not to be practiced by women who are either pregnant or during menstrual cycle.
  • As there is too much of abdominal movements, not to be practiced by someone having abdominal hernia.
  • Not to be practiced by a person with slip disc, back pain or neck injury.
  • If you suffer from acute respiratory infections, it is better to rest, and let the infections go before doing any Pranayamas.

This practice has ample benefits. 7 important ones are.
1.It is a very useful tool to release congestion and volatile toxins from the body. It also cleans the nasal passage and respiratory system. It is powerful detoxifying method.

2.Since there is a contraction, relaxation of abdominal muscles, it stimulates and improves digestion.
3. It increases heart rate and blood circulation.
4. It is known to reduce stress, anxiety and tensions.

5.The endocrine system and glands are stimulated and regulated.
6.Since you focus entirely on your breathe, your mind gets rid of unnecessary thoughts, hence helps in concentrating. Therefore, a useful tool during the examination.
7. This breathing technique helps to treat diseases related to the nervous system, endocrine system and mental health.