Excerpts from Healing Choices
Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. We encounter stress every day. Although most people think of stress as something negative, it is in fact really neither good nor bad but neutral and nonspecific. Stress may arise from within ourselves or be external, such as noise from the environment, and does not always result from something unpleasant. A certain amount of stress in our lives is actually essential for we need to be sufficiently stimulated so we can meet the challenges of everyday life. When stress is constant and acute, however, it can have dangerous consequences. Since stress is both natural and unavoidable, it is necessary to understand it and learn how to reduce it.
Stress has both physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in illness. We experience stress as we readjust our lives after major changes occur, such as when we lose a loved one. As we adjust to different circumstance, stress will help or hinder us, depending on how we react to it. What may be distressing to one person may be comfortable to another.
Studies and surveys have found that most illness is related to unrelieved stress. Stress takes a major toll on our nation’s health and finances.
v Seventy to eighty percent of all visits to the doctor are for stress-related illnesses.
v People who experience high levels of anxiety are four to five times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.
v Stress related injuries on the job have increased from five to fifteen percent of all occupational diseases during the past twelve years.
v The cost of job stress in the United States. is estimated at $200 billion annually. Seven out of ten people surveyed said they felt stressed in a typical workday and forty-three percent said they suffer noticeable physical symptoms of burnout. (Health & Natural Journal–Feb. 2001 by Deborah Morrison)
Although individuals have different levels of tolerance to stress, chronic stress will eventually wear down even the strongest person. Prolonged stress can cause biochemical imbalances that weaken the immune system and invite serious illness. Stress that persists is known to interfere with digestion and seriously alter brain chemistry, create hormonal imbalances, increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and negatively affect both metabolic and immune functioning. It is important to understand that while stress itself is not a disease, it can worsen any number of already serious physical conditions. Many physicians feel that chronic stress can so overtax an individual's physical resources and ways of coping that cancer, stroke, and heart disease can occur. While long-term stress can seriously affect one’s quality of life and lead to major, sometimes fatal, diseases, prolonged stress can also create the everyday miseries of allergies, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, fatigue, headaches, impotence, insomnia, irritable bladder, rashes, ulcers, upset stomach, and numerous simple aches and pains.
Stress management is important to good health. The art of stress management is to stay at a level of stimulation that is healthy and enjoyable. Probably the most important step in reducing the stress in our lives is to understand the nature of stress and to learn how to condition ourselves to be able to gain some control over it. Developing the relaxation response will reduce blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood flow to skeletal muscles, perspiration and muscle tension. The relaxation response is a physiological state, not a technique, and there are many techniques that can be used to produce this state of mind.
What you can do to manage stress:
Art Therapy * Autogenic Training * Bioenergetics * Biofeedback * Breath Therapy * Cognitive Therapy * Dance/Movement Therapy * Dream Work * Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) * Gestalt Therapy * Guided Imagery * Humor and Laughter * Hypnosis * Meditation * Mindfulness Training * Progressive Relaxation * Qigong * Reiki * Spiritual Healing (Prayer) * Tai Chi * Therapeutic/Healing Touch * Thought Field Therapy (TFT) * Yoga
The Healing Choices guide is available in PRINTED VERSION and E-BOOK.
Mind Tools - Stress Management Techniques * http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html
Effective Stress Management - Helping you to think your way to an excellent life * http://www.psywww.com/mtsite/smundstr.html
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Excerpts from Healing Choices