The Epidemic of the Eighties is Still Here
Time magazine called stress the "The Epidemic of the Eighties". Stress is
America's #1 health problem. The reasons for about 90% of visits to
doctors there are stress-related. What is stress, and what are its causes?
Why does it lead to doctor visits, and what can you do to reduce it?
This article seeks to answer these questions briefly.
What is Stress and How Does it Affect You?
Stress is your reactions a threat or challenge. These reactions may cause
changes in your body, in your mind or action.
Changes in your body would include increased heart rate, increased blood
pressure, muscle tension, dry mouth, dilated pupils and increased blood
Concentration problems, forgetfulness, indecision, nervousness, anger
and irritability are some of the changes in your mind as a result of
Examples of changes in action include tremors, difficulty in sleeping,
shaky voice, loss of appetite, jumpiness and accident proneness.
Sources of Stress
Stress has a number of causes. There are large issues like
retirement, divorce, moving, and the death of a loved one. Some
relatively minor sources of stress are sitting in a traffic jam while you
are late for an appointment, unpaid bills, and an uncooperative neighbour.
Our jobs are also a fertile source of stress.
Children, teenagers, college students the elderly are all experience
stress for various reasons.
There is good stress and there is bad stress (distress). Bad stress is the
one usually meant when the word is mentioned. Bad stress causes trouble
hence it leads to doctor visits.
Health problems commonly associated with stress are fatigue, sweating,
dry mouth or difficulty in swallowing, insomnia or interrupted sleep
cycles, relationship or sexual problems, trembling, dizziness, rapid
breathing or irregular heart rate and so on.
Some people turn to hard drugs and alcohol and others take out their
frustration on the people they care about the most. But there more
acceptable ways of dealing with stress. What are these?
How to Handle Stress
(1) Breathe deeply. Relax your muscles, expanding your stomach
and chest. Repeat several times.
(2)Exercise regularly. Neck and shoulder exercises are useful for
the desk-bound arthritis sufferers.
(3) Eat healthy foods. Don't skip meals. Take time out for lunch
no matter how busy you are.
(4) Don't let others get you down. Choose positive friends and avoid
worriers. Communicate clearly with your co-workers. When
instructions are not clear, seek clarification.
(5) Plan ahead and prevent problems before they occur.
(6) Retreat to recharge your spirit. Schedule private time every day.
You deserve it.
(7) Savour life's little delights. Enjoy a movie, watch a sports event,
read a book.
(8) Don't be filled with gloom. Replace negative self-talk with
(9) Be optimistic. Count your blessings when everything seems to
(10) Plan your time wisely. And realistically. Leave room for
unanticipated events. Do one thing at a time.
(11) Get enough sleep.
(12) Strive for your dreams. Plan ahead to meet your most cherished
goals in life.
You have these twelve keys to stress reduction. Use them and enjoy
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Copyright Matthew Eigbe 2005
Matthew Eigbe is the publisher of Clear Health Guide, a weekly
newsletter that seeks to improve your quality of life by making
available to you health information in an easy-to-read manner.
Suscribe by sending a mail to matbet@GetResponse.com.