Stress Management

Understanding the nature of stress, identifying the source of it and having the tools to successfully make changes are important in preventing the negative health consequences that stress will have on you.

Remember to deal with the cause, not just the consequences. While there are many different kinds of stress and many tools or techniques available to help resolve it, outside assistance is usually required to bring about the needed change. Reading the right book may be all that it takes.

Following is a list of books that are either best-sellers or highly recommended:

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis – a practical stress-management workbook filled with insightful self-assessment tests and stress reduction techniques.

The Book of Stress Survival by Alix Kirsta – although older, this is one of the best books on stress management. It is clearly laid out, practical, comprehensive and a pleasure to read.

Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern – she emphasizes that the most important thing readers should do is create a time management system that fits one’s personal style, be it either spontaneous and easily distracted from, or highly regimented and efficient. “Just as everyone’s living room looks different, reflecting the individual’s or family’s values and priorities, everyone’s time management system will look different, reflecting what’s important to him or her”, she explains.

The Book of Stress Survival – How to Relax and Live Positively by Alix Kirsta – a well-presented, sensible approach to stress management. It covers many important areas that are completely ignored by most other books.

Getting Things Done by David Allen – a guide to staying on top of it all in a world where communication and responsibilities are increasing exponentially. Part I describes the game, Part II coaches you through implementing the system, and Part III explores the subtler and more profound benefits that you will experience when you incorporate these core principles and proven tricks into your work and your life.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – and it’s all small stuff by Richard Carlson – offers 100 meditations designed to make you appreciate being alive, keep your emotions (especially anger and dissatisfaction) in proper perspective, and cherish other people.

Here are eight of the elements found in studies to contribute to wellness: Get regular exercise, avoid being overweight, get an education, marry and love, be future-oriented, be thankful and forgiving, empathize with others, and be active with other

people. Wealth and income aren’t on the list because they were poor predictors of success as a human being. [Aging Well by George E. Vaillant, M.D.]

 


Stress Management can help with the following

Aging  

Premature/Signs of Aging

Both Eastern and Western medicine recognize that stress can affect the adrenal glands and accelerate the aging process.



 

Parkinson's Disease / Risk

Stress aggravates Parkinson’s disease and relaxation therapy has been found useful in the treatment of the disease. A well thought-out program of rest, exercise and physiotherapy can also significantly ameliorate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.



Autoimmune  

Myasthenia Gravis

Emotional stress, excessive heat and cold, fever, and exposure to infections can worsen symptoms and should be avoided whenever possible.



 

Multiple Sclerosis / Risk

See the link between Stress and MS.



Circulation  

Angina

Stress should be decreased by using stress management techniques such as progressive relaxation or guided imagery.



 

Atherosclerosis

Cardiovascular risk factors that most highly predicted carotid artery wall thickness scores were holding anger in, being self-aware and having hostile attitudes.



Lab Values  


 

Elevated Homocysteine Levels

It was recently found that periods of stress increase serum homocysteine, an amino acid known to be a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease.



Mental  


Metabolic  

Bruxism (Clenching/Grinding Teeth)

Treatment may include stress reduction and creating a positive home environment. Psychological stress is considered a significant cause.



 

Insomnia

Behavioral therapies that lower anxiety, along with lifestyle changes leading to increased exercise and weight loss, can work well long-term for insomnia. [USA Today July 27, 2005]



Organ Health  

Prostatitis

Stress management may also be helpful in those men who feel that their symptoms are worsened at times of stress.



Risks  

Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

People who live in a chronically stressed-out condition are more likely to take up smoking, frequently overeat, and be far less likely to exercise. All of these stress-related behaviors have a direct effect on the development of coronary artery disease.

It is also known that the surge in adrenaline caused by severe emotional stress causes the blood to clot more readily (a major factor in heart attacks) and that the stress of performing difficult arithmetic problems can constrict the coronary arteries in such a way that blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced. Stress increases homocysteine levels, a known risk factor for coronary artery disease.



Skin-Hair-Nails  


Tumors, Malignant  

Carcinoid Cancer

Emotional stress can precipitate a carcinoid attack and should be avoided where possible.



Uro-Genital  

Female Infertility

Mental and emotional stress can impact fertility. Try to eliminate the stress in your life as much as possible. Infertility itself can be extremely stressful.



Key

May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended

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