The American Psychological Association (APA) says 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related conditions. Stress can cause high blood pressure, headaches, an irritable bladder and bowel, sleeping and eating disorders, and problems with memory and concentration. Additionally, stress has been linked to the six leading causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

What is Stress?

We are all familiar with the word "stress". Stress is when you are worried about getting laid off your job, or worried about having enough money to pay your bills, or worried about your mother when the doctor says she may need an operation. In fact, to most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If it is something that makes you worry, then it is stress.

Your body, however, has a much broader definition of stress. To your body, stress is synonymous with change. Anything that causes a change in your life causes stress. It doesn't matter if it is a "good" change, or a "bad" change - they are both stress. When you find your dream apartment and get ready to move, that is stress. If you break your leg, that is stress. Good or bad, if it is a change in your life, it is stress as far as your body is concerned.

Even worrying about imagined changes is stress. If you fear that you will not have enough money to pay your rent, that is stress. If you worry that you may get fired, that is stress. If you think that you may receive a promotion at work, that is also stress (even though this would be a good change). Whether the event is good or bad, imagining changes in your life is stressful. Anything that causes change in your daily routine or change in your body health is stressful, and imagined changes are just as stressful as real changes.

Types of Stress

Sooner or later, the energy drain on your system will cause the body to fall behind in its repair work. There will not be enough time or energy for the body to fix broken cells, or replace used up brain neurotransmitters. If you continue, permanent damage may be done. The body's fight to stay healthy in the face of the increased energy that your are expending is a major stress, and overstress will make you sick. Carrying too heavy a stress load is like running your car engine past the red line; or leaving your toaster stuck in the "on" position; or running a nuclear reactor past maximum permissible power. Sooner or later, something will break, burnup, or melt down. What breaks depends on where the weak links are in your physical body which is largely an inherited characteristic.

Here are the common "weak links", and the symptoms of their malfunction:

Brain Overstress:

Gastrointestinal Tract:

Glandular System:



Immune System:

While we cannot get rid of stress, we can learn more adaptive responses to life's inevitable stressors thereby improving our physical and emotional health. Call today and learn how to improve your stress management coping strategies.

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