May 11, 2006

Stress 101

Stress, left unmanaged, can result in many things: fatigue, headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, cold hands, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, reduced sex drive, insomnia, other changes in sleep patterns, gastrointestinal disorders, as well as detrimentally impacting the body's immune response, thereby contributing to cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine and metabolic disease, and skin disorders. Many psychiatrists report that most back problems are caused by stress.

What happens? Inside your body, stress immediately results in an increase in adrenaline; eleveated blood pressure and a rising heart rate; muscle tension; a shutting down of the GI tract/digestion as the body prepares to fight or flee; rising cholesterol as fats and sugars are released; thickening of the blood, with a tendency to clot.

What to do?
1. Exercise. This is the fastest, immediate stress reducer. Walking is fine.
2. Consider your ways. Make changes to lessen the sources of stress.
3. Consider your diet. Cut out sugar, pre-fab food, caffeine, drink more water.
4. Ask for help. No man is an island.
5. Confess your sins. Take responsibility for your life. Manage yourself.
6. Pray. Whenever you catch yourself worrying, turn it into a prayer.
7. Sleep. Take a nap, make sure you get 8 hours during the night.
8. Stop and take several long, deep, full-lung breaths during the day.
9. Make a gratitude list. Stress distorts perspective; look around and recognize the good things that exist in your life - including the basics: you can see, walk, etc.
10. Take time-outs during the day. Every hour, get up, get out, stretch for a few minutes. Move.
11. Take supplements, including: B-Complex, to help your nervous system; Vitamin C, for adrenal function; Liquid Minerals, because these are depleted within one hour of the stressful situation. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends: American, Asian, and Russian Ginseng, Brewer's Yeast, German and Roman Chamomile, Kava Kava, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Tyrosine, and Valerian. MSM is also recommended by various health care providers to fight the effects of stress upon the body.

Sources:, valerie saxion,, University of Maryland.
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