Recently, we hosted a free webinar with three preeminent, Aspen Club-based Leaders of Excellence to discuss stress management and in their respective fields. Dr. Jeremy James spoke about neck and back pain as it relates to stress. Ed Harrold focused on mindfulness strategies and breathing techniques that help people cope with stressful situations. And, Dr. Christina Miller spoke about the physical, emotional, and medical balance or imbalance of a stressful or stress-free life.
Attendance was great for the digital webinar, the people who tuned in from all over the country were a mix of self-described hyper-stressed, moderately stressed, and un-stressed. Engagement between Aspen Club’s Leaders of Excellence and the webinar attendees was great with questions and answers, dialogue, and unique conversations.
Highlights from the digital event included:
- Stress is more than a feeling; it’s actually an elaborate biological response to stressors that includes adrenaline, complex thoughts, hormonal responses, the Fight or Flight response, accelerated heart rate, dilated pupils, and more.
- A concise definition of the difference between acute stress and chronic stress. Long story short, acute stress is a vital physical reaction that ensures our wellbeing and safety. However, chronic stress is the overuse of the stress hormones, and our bodies aren’t designed to handle.
- The fascinating relationship between stress and pain. Essentially, stress over time leads to pain and pain over time leads to stress. Your back is a complex system and a sedentary lifestyle feed this cycle of stress and pain. “When you sit for long periods of time,” says Dr. Jeremy James, “you’re applying a constant load on the tissues, muscles, and structure of your back. They’ll deform over time, loose their elasticity, and then you’re vulnerable to injury.” Remember that time after a bicoastal flight when you went to baggage claim, picked up your luggage, and felt the spike of pain in your back? Exactly. This relates to stress because there are certain movements that are safe for back injury, and the worst thing you can do with an injured back is sit on the couch.
- The symbiotic dance that stress and sleep play. Our bodies need serotonin and melatonin to mitigate stress. So, a consistent sleep pattern—seven days a week—will help. The optimal time to go to sleep is between 9–10 PM, and the optimal time to wake up is between 6–7 AM. Don’t press the “snooze” button, it negatively impacts your day’s stress. Go to sleep with low lights, avoid stressors (like the news on TV) before going to bed, and wake up with natural light.