Health & Wellness Articles

Chronic Stress: Something to Worry About!

How to Stop Stress in Its Tracks

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Stress. We feel it in our bodies, we talk about it with our friends, and we blame it for standing in the way of our happiness.  But do we do anything about it?  Most of us think that stress is an inevitable for people who live productive, fulfilling lives in the modern world. 
 
To some degree, that's true.  Each day we are pulled in a million different directions.  Our careers demand constant attention to flourish in a challenging economy.  Our family members need us and want us; our gadgets buzz and beep requesting our attention all day and night.  Bills need to be paid, appointments need to be made, and traffic jams put us behind schedule.  Somewhere in between all of this, we attempt to get to the gym or spend some time with friends having fun.  Even figuring out how to fit in life's pleasures can cause be stressful.
 
And that's just an ordinary day.  Add to that any major life event—a loved one falling ill, losing a job, kids going to college, elderly parents needing our help, weddings to be planned and paid for, moving, retirement, and on and on—and the stress piles up.
 
So is your life exhilarating, or just stressful and exhausting?  Well, that all depends on how you look at—and handle—both the small everyday events, and the major life-changing ones.  Most of us have an innate understanding that too much stress negatively impacts our health and well-being.  But do we really understand the true biology of stress or why it is imperative that we learn to reduce, eliminate or manage it? 
 
Once you understand the physiological effects stress has on every part of the body, you will be motivated to stop accepting it as a fact of life.  Let's learn to eliminate or reduce the stress we have control over, and manage that which we can't control.
 
Your Body's Stress Response
Fortunately, our incredible bodies are designed to respond to impending danger.  During high-intensity stress, hormonal changes cause your concentration to become highly focused, your reaction time to speed up and your strength to dramatically increase. How else could we explain the speed with which you respond when we see your child about to dart into oncoming traffic?  Or why, under the pressure of deadlines, you can become highly focused and motivated to get the work done.
 
If you lived in the days of the cavemen, the stress response literally might have saved your life.  Changes occurring in the body gave our ancestors the strength to fight a predator, or flee and escape harmful situations.  That's the famous "fight or flight response" and explains the expression, "that which doesn't kill us makes us that much stronger."  
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • Good article. Thanks - 7/18/2014 5:58:40 AM
  • very informative and helpful article - 7/7/2014 1:49:30 PM
  • MICHELLEMAE1970
    Actually, watching Duck Dynasty helps reduce my stress!! LOL - 4/30/2014 11:46:25 AM
  • I see myself in so many of these instances. One of my biggest stressors is when I finally think I can settle down and work on a very important project that should have been done yesterday, the phone starts ringing and a customer has a more pressing issue that has to be dealt with right now. What do you do? I give up on the project and work on the problem and generally before I get that solved and back to the project; another issue comes up! I stay stressed all the time and it has made me angry, depressed and just generally frustrated. Being self employed there's no escape including vacation or sick days. - 9/9/2013 9:43:21 PM
  • Out of curiosity, when can we stop spreading one article out over six freaking pages? I know this site survives on ad revenue, but asking us to click through 6 pages is a bit much. - 9/9/2013 11:05:52 AM
  • great guidelines ! - 1/14/2013 9:57:57 AM
  • ONUTHIN125
    I read this last year and I am glad that I re-read it today! Great info! Spark On! - 1/2/2013 10:27:33 PM
  • You think a stress log would be kind of silly, but it's actually a great thing to do to learn more about yourself. - 1/2/2013 1:40:26 PM
  • WOW!!! I really liked the article! Very helpful! - 10/10/2012 1:14:33 PM
  • CARRIEPIN
    I was actually shocked to find out that stress also can damage our DNA. I'm taking lifespan psychology right now and this was discussed in my textbook. I'm one of those that let everything get to me and am proactively working on it. I know constant stress is very unhealthy. Sometimes it feels like I literally have poison running thru my body but when I read that it affects our DNA I was more convinced than ever to make changes. Great article! - 9/12/2012 9:26:47 AM
  • Excellent article! Thank you! - 9/12/2012 8:03:23 AM
  • I was impressed by the staying in the moment suggestion. A lot of the stress situations given don't apply to me, as I'm retired so don't have work stresses, and am on my own, so I don't have family stresses either. But I have others, which that comment will help. - 9/12/2012 5:46:24 AM
  • NESACAKES55
    Amazing article. A must read for everyone. - 9/12/2012 12:20:36 AM
  • Great Article! - 9/2/2012 7:07:10 PM
  • Very useful list of suggestions for a very important issue. - 7/29/2012 6:45:12 PM

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