Every little thing´s…gonna be alright- Dr. David Hepburn

Jamaica is a country where you could survive happily with a three word vocabulary (not unlike my hockey team). “No” “prob” and “lemm” with an occasional “ya ‘mon” thrown in if you’re inclined to run off at the mouth.

Problems in Jamaica? Many. Dealing with them is no problemm.

Marley and me were going to get to know each other a little better as I entered the town of Nine Mile to pay homage to Bobmarley’s “reggae pillow”, a large painted rock from whence he wrote some of his music like “This Is One Hard Friggin’ Pillow ‘Mon.”

Glancing around I noted a hummingbird sitting peacefully on a branch outside Marley’s humble abode. It barely moved at all, having perhaps inhaled a little too deeply of the Marley mountains. But it had absolutely no inclination to behave like our busy backyard hummingbirds back home.

A hummingbird feeder in our backyard serves as an urban hub of activity as competing birds zip about darting in for a quick drink. Busy little birds that never stop to rest, not even to eat as they beat their wee wings 200 times a second. But this mellow marley bird just hung out at the Marley motel… zero beats a second.

A favouriteBobmarley song is Three Little Birds wherein some birds are giving a message to Bobmarley. This apparently is not unheard of when you spend your day smoking reefers the size of the Hindenberg.

“Don’t worry… ‘bout a thing, cause every little thing’s… gonna be alright.”

Stress does crazy things to our health. Where do I start? As we live our lives as frenetic backyard birds spending our time, efforts and thus our health in the thick of thin things, we can really do some damage. Some folks stress constantly about money, which ironically often costs them their greatest wealth…their health.

Dr. David Hepburn
Dr. David Hepburn

Others live their lives stressed about whether they are doing what they should to accommodate an afterlife, but often at the expense of a present life. It’s well recognized that long-term or chronic stress can lead to many serious health problems affecting every system in your body. Cortisol raises blood pressure, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, suppresses the immune system, speeds up aging, causes you to wear spandex in public, etc.

But here’s one you may not know or if you did it didn’t register because you’re stressed out. Long-term stress can physically change the brain! In a large population-based sample of women

followed for 35 years in Sweden, (there’s a heck of a job for a stalker) those who reported frequent or constant stress in midlife were twice as likely to develop dementia! And isn’t that just what this world needs, more stressed out demented Swedish women.

There are several possible biological explanations. The main hypotheses are related to the effects of cortisol on the brain. Animal studies have reported that increased cortisol and chronic stress may increase those nasty dementia deposits, β-amyloid peptide and tau-proteins in the brain. Another theory is linked to the possible role of stress on inflammatory processes. Stress increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines which are suggested to give rise to Alzheimer’s disease changes in the brain. Even amongst those with the genetic predisposition for Alzheimers, the apolipoprotein E genetic mutation, those mutants who had no stress did as well on cognitive tests as non-mutants who lived in stressful situations.

Dr. David Frederick Hepburn
Dr. David Frederick Hepburn

Stress also often leads to overeating, boozing, smoking, and watching Jersey Shore, not exactly a prescription for enhancing brain health.Now, of course, not everyone who has stress goes on to develop dementia, probably because they don’t live long enough to get demented given their early onset heart attacks and strokes.

So if after a life of constant stress you find yourself standing on your pillow in your spandex shorts talking to birds, or singing to the Hindenberg, no problemm. ‘Cause in the long run every little thing’s… gonna be alright.

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