Numerous studies exploring the link between physical illnesses and stress have concluded that viruses are not necessarily the root cause of illnesses. When the body’s defenses are at a low point, diseases are allowed to fester unchecked. The studies have also shown that there is a direct correlation between a person’s physical well-being and the amount of life change or transition and the individual’s ability to manage it. The relationship between the two elements is so strong that tools have been developed to assist the health care professional in identifying and measuring an individual’s susceptibility to stress-related diseases. The “test” results indisputably have shown that the more major life changes that you experience – death of a family member, divorce, changing jobs, relocation – the higher the risk of coronary heart disease.

While a certain level of stress can be a positive factor in life, prolonged and excessive levels of stress can affect your mental and physical health. According to medical reports, consistent high levels of stress have been directly linked to digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, anxiety, migraine headaches, and emotional disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

We must re-evaluate the skills we use to cope with everyday living. Anger, guilt and frustration, for example, do not help you, they victimize you. The more you hold on to anger, the angrier and more frustrated you become. As the anger intensifies, the tension on the muscles becomes greater. The heart rate increases and the body releases bursts of chemicals such as adrenalin to balance the condition. When this state is allowed to continue for long periods of time, the body’s defenses begin to weaken.

The most effective methods of coping with stress generally involve taking better care of yourself. Enhance your self-awareness by better understanding yourself and your idiosyncrasies; ask for feedback from family or a trusted friend; enroll in self-awareness classes; or seek professional counseling. Maintain proper nutrition, exercise regularly, learn relaxation techniques, build a support network and nurture quality relationships.

Vol 10 Issue 3 page 4


Stress, Violence and the Health Care Crisis Stress-Rx For Stress