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Got Stress? Dr. D explains what stress is, what causes stress,
how it is bad for our bodies, and how to get rid
of the stress in your life.

What is Stress?

Stress is a word that just about everyone hears or says throughout their work week: “I’m stressed out”, “I’ve been under a lot of stress lately”, “Today was a stressful day.”

According to a 1991 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, 46% of the world population feels “highly stressed.” This is up from 20% in 1985, while today, 50% of health care is spent on stress-related disorders. Stress -related disorders cost American corporations and industry more than $150 billion yearly

Stress simply is our body’s response to any change or challenge that occurs throughout the day, and is affected by our diet, personality, working conditions, and lifestyle. The more changes and challenges we endure during a period of time, then the more stressful.

Stress is divided into two categories: good and bad. How we differentiate between the two are by the three C’s; Control, Choice, and Consequence. When we are in control, have a choice in the matter, and can predict the outcome of our daily events, we are experiencing good stress. Not to have the three C’s in our favor would be considered distress or bad stress. Since we can’t avoid either good or bad stress, we must learn to deal with them, before they deal with us.

Hans Selye, the researcher who coined the word “stress,” further tells us that it’s not just the good or bad stressors that effect our health but the way we interpret them. Simply stated, Dr. Selye is saying it’s our attitude that will determine our bodies’ reaction to stress, whether good or bad. This explains why some people seem to be immune to stress while others are not.

When we encounter good or bad stress, we experience a reaction from our sympathetic nervous system called the “flight or fight response” in which our bodies dump various stress chemicals into our blood stream. Items such as: cortisol, and adrenaline which immediately increases our blood pressure and heart rate, while our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow, our pupils dilate, hearing and smell both are enhanced, our muscles become tense and in some cases our bowels loosen to lighten our load.

Because our body’s nervous system reacts the same to all stressors that we are subjected to daily and weekly, our body’s response is identical whether we are faced with the stress of waiting for our service to come on line, or being the unhappy recipient of a computer virus.

Our bodies are designed to handle the short-term stress; it’s the long term, gut grabbing and chronic stress that can cause our bodies serious harm.

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