Stress – Its Effects on Your Health

Table of contents for Stress

  1. Stress – Its Effects on Your Health
  2. Stress – How to Cope
  3. Stress – How to Cope Part 2

Reading Level: Leisurely

Some of us go through life in an almost constant state of stress.

Evaluate how often in your daily routine do you allow a variety of little events to trigger stress, such as driving in traffic, a wrongly-filled order at the drive-thru, or a needed call to customer service to resolve a billing problem. The research in these next 2 posts covering the effects of stress and how to better cope come from Dr. Don Colbert’s book, “The Seven Pillars of Health.” In his initial chapter on stress, he says, “The stress reaction, so useful in moments of actual emergency, becomes a self-destruct switch that eventually can lead to exhaustion and disease (p. 229). “

The body’s response to stress is necessary and healthy when occurring in traumatic moments. When one allows typical daily events to create a recurring traumatic response in your body, the intended healthy physical responses become harmful.

The body’s stress reaction to a perceived threat releases adrenaline and other hormones that increase your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing. These changes give you added strength and mental sharpness for a few moments. The harm comes to us when this response occurs frequently for a long-term basis. Researchers now believe that such recurrent stress actually kills as many or even more people than poor health habits. The physical changes that would be good under a moment of actual danger now become harmful, causing: depression, anxiety, anger, decreased sex drive, predisposition to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and many other illnesses.

Here is a sampling of study results on stress:

A University of London study showed that chronic unmanaged stress was 6 times more predictive of cancer and heart disease than smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

A 10 year study of people who did not manage stress effectively showed a 40 percent higher death rate than those who were not stressed.

Another study showed that 7 out of 10 people suffering from depression had enlarged adrenal glands, as much as 1.7 times larger than normal [in response to the body’s demand for extra cortisol, a stress-related hormone.].

Most of our stress can be put into 1 of 2 categories.

There is (1) stress we can and should control and (2) stressful events that are beyond our control. Dr. Colbert gives, as an example of stress to control, a cluttered environment. Clutter is proven to increase stress and making the decision to de-clutter can and should be done. Evaluate what other stress causers in your life are actually temporary and could be eliminated by some decisive action. With stressful events beyond our control, one key help is to control your thoughts from imagining what could possibly happen, or allowing yourself to relive the event in your mind.

In Part 2 of this post, “Stress – How to Cope,” we will cover Dr. Colbert’s suggestions for positive actions to cope with stress.

For more detailed reading, enjoy Seven Pillars of Health, Dr. Don Colbert, ISBN#1-59185-815-1

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