Health & Wellness Articles

Chronic Stress: Something to Worry About!

How to Stop Stress in Its Tracks

Page 1 of 6
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."  
Continued ›
Page 1 of 6   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a certified professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • Loved this article. - 5/15/2016 8:11:41 AM
  • I'm retired but stress is still in my life. From health issues of my own and my husband, to the cares and health issues of my children and grandchildren. The problem with worry is that it does not accomplish anything. Stress comes from worry about things you can't control. This is where a strong faith in God helps me to not worry in the first place. If I know there is nothing I can do about a problem, I pray about it. I can give my worries to God because he is able to handle them when I am not. I can rest assured that God will work things out for our good. I realize this may not be an option for everyone, but it's my way to handle stress. - 4/5/2016 6:59:44 AM
  • I work for a large company that has basically cut employee resources to the bone. So, less resources, same amount of total work, so more work per resource. Recognizing that employees were starting to be stressed, what was their solution? Their solution was to hire a "motivational" speaker to explain why stress was good for us--she literally said she all the articles and studies she could find said stress was NOT bad, but good for us!! She even said it was good for out health. This is a Fortune 500 company. Seriously, how stupid does management think their employees are to believe such serious propaganda. This "sealed the deal" for my decision to retire early. - 2/16/2016 8:16:24 AM
  • Excellent article. My doctor told me years ago it would be stress that eventually kills me. I have worked on reducing some of the stress in my life and now watch my adult daughter behaving in similar unhealthy ways of not dealing with the stresses in her life. I am going to suggest we both start a stress journal for a few weeks and then tackle this "silent killer" from a better informed standpoint. Thank you for the helpful suggestions. - 2/6/2016 11:45:15 AM
  • I appreciate this article. I think I need to read some time management books. I'm sure there are a few things I can do to relieve stress. - 11/15/2015 10:43:48 AM
  • I had to chuckle: Steps 1 through 11 are all stress-inducing suggestions, but Step 12 said it all: Try to find the humor in life's ironies. How ironic is That!
    Further, I find it very stressful to be around people who are always positive -- most of whom are being unrealistic, unthinking, and/or uncaring -- finding that truly positive person is a blessing, and truly rare.
    For me, the big stressor was finding that Our family members NO LONGER need us and want us.
    Fidelidee-dee, tomorrow is another day. 8-)
    - 10/15/2015 1:50:27 PM
  • A great point--- Spend time with positive people, not the negative ones who are full of gloom and pull you down!---- Life is short so spread cheer -- not crap! - 9/29/2015 2:33:08 PM
  • NURSIE67
    Thank you for this article...needing this advice right about now! - 9/23/2015 1:45:56 PM
  • Maybe this article just hit at the right time, but it seems to have practical answers to some of my stress inducing incidents.
    Right now I'm dealing with a bunch of different medical issues. - 9/23/2015 10:37:10 AM

    A journal about stress might be helpful. I think I know what causes me stress, and that is deciding which thing needs to be done next. If I cannot decide, I do nothing until most things are over due. I shall try making out an hourly schedule of tasks for a day and see if I can just follow it. - 9/23/2015 8:37:51 AM
  • great article! Good suggestions. - 9/10/2015 10:42:50 AM
  • it' a great reminder since there was nothing new in the article but sometimes you need a reminder to take a break and take care of yourself. - 8/21/2015 4:46:20 AM
  • Excellent article! Information I need to apply to my life now. Thank you. - 5/29/2015 4:42:24 AM
  • The most important line in that article is the one saying to take exceptional care of yourself. We must put ourselves first sometimes in order to help others. - 5/20/2015 8:47:37 AM
  • This is a great article with lots of information that is helpful for me and my son and came to me at the perfect time - 1/15/2015 10:16:21 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by July 6! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.