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Hot reactors on stress: Brain structure linked to anxiety

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Are you an anxious or tense "hot reactor" or a calm reactor to any type of stress or crises? Sometimes there's a holistic nutrition-related solution to certain anxiety issues, with entire families, especially those problems partially caused by childbirth, sudden hormonal changes, and predisposition to chronic anxiety and panic attacks. Were you ever tested to see whether you inherited a short 5-HTT gene? People with a thicker ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) may be better to cope with stressful experiences, according to the October 31, 2005 BBC health news release, "Brain structure link to anxiety."

An ‘invisible’ hot reactor reacts to the slightest stress not by outward anger, but inwardly and silently, by a dramatically increased blood pressure, pulse rate, and sudden, gripping fear to people and slight mental stress, even though there is no facial expression change or bodily motion to show what's narrowing or calcifying from sugar (and insulin's overabundance to sugar) on the inside.

And vulnerability to anxiety may depend upon the size of a brain structure involved in fearful experiences, according to a Massachusetts General Hospital study that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in October 2005. Slow, even breathing to a background of relaxing music and the stretching of your muscles in a slow chair yoga or a slow Tai Chi and/or Qi Kung exercise might help remove some of the lactic acid from your body in the same way that a runner stretches a leg against a tree to cool down and remove the lactic acid that builds up in the body during exercise, if your doctor okays that exercise.

Persons who are biologically prone to agoraphobia and panic under the slightest stress normally are born with shy, over-aroused dominant introverted feeling) nervous systems. They often secrete a high level of catecholamines

Their adrenaline level is frequently at a higher base level than in the average or naturally calm person. They secrete much more insulin into their blood than people who are literally immune from anxiety attacks.

The findings may help explain why some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while others bounce back after adversity, according to the October 31, 2005 BBC health news release, "Brain structure link to anxiety." Volunteers in the study were exposed to experiments. And the volunteers with the least anxiety responses were gauged by how sweaty their palms were during the tests. The volunteers with the least anxiety responses had the least sweaty palms and, according to the study, tended to have thicker vmPFCs.

Sometimes the left hemisphere of the brain (high verbal intelligence) begins to fire at a different rate, faster or slower, than the right hemisphere (visual art and emotion). When the two hemispheres get out of sync, panic and shaking could occur at any time of the night or day, when you laugh or sleep, walk through the street or sit in a chair.

Stretching from certain easy-to reach Yoga positions might calm some people, for example, slightly lowering your head in front of you while sitting on the floor and stretching out your arms in front of you. But always check with your doctor first to see whether such exercises won't increase your blood pressure. Some people are genetically and/or environmentally programmed to be 'hot' or 'cold' reactors (hormonally) to stress. You may wish to check out the articles, "The Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure | Psychology Today" and "Breath Retraining, the Vagus Nerve, and Depression with Dr. Fred." One area of research you can explore is how to calm the vagus nerve with slow, even breathing, with soft, slow, ambient music in the background. You also may wish to check out the article, "Wake Up Your Vagus Nerve and Heal Your Body - My Yoga Online." See whether any of this research applies to your curiosity.

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