“Stress” is a blanket term for any kind of strain placed on the body. Stressors can be physical or emotional: heat, cold, injury, malnutrition, drugs, toxins, overwork, hate, love, anger, tension, fear, joy, frustration, anxiety…
Not all stress is negative. In fact, a bit of occasional stress can be good for your health. But when the stress is chronic – continuing over long periods of time with little relief – problems arise.
What kind of problems? High blood pressure, dizziness, neck- and backaches, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, lack of concentration, irritability, loss of appetite, overeating and sexual problems – just to name a few.
Chronic stress overworks the immune system. It depletes the B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous and calcium.
Rate Your Current Stress Level
Read the list of events used in the Holmes-Rahe Scale below and add up the points for each one that has happened to you in the last year.
|Death of a spouse|
|Change in responsibilities at work|
|Child leaves home|
|Trouble with in-laws|
|Outstanding personal achievement|
|Death of a family member|
|Spouse begins or stops work|
|Personal injury or illness|
|Begin or end school|
|Change in living conditions|
|Fired at work|
|Revision in personal habits|
|Trouble with boss|
|Change in work hours or conditions|
|Change in health of family member|
|Change in residence|
|Change in school|
|Change in recreation|
|Change in church activities|
|Change in financial status|
|Change in social activities|
|Death of close friend|
|Mortgage or loan less than one year’s net salary|
|Change in different line of work|
|Change in sleeping habits|
|Change in number of arguments with spouse|
|Change in number of family get-togethers|
|Mortgage over one year’s net salary|
|Foreclosure on mortgage or loan|
If you score more than 300, you have an 80% chance of serious health change within the next year – 12 months being the “incubation period” for illness or dysfunction in most people.
Tips for Reducing Stress
- Avoid all refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour, white rice and junk foods. Poorly digested and nutrient-poor, these foods put even more stress on the body.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit or avoid caffeine, including that in many soft drinks.
Other good ways of managing stress: meditation, self-hypnosis, listening to music, talking with friends, hot baths, biofeedback, massage, yoga, prayer