Stress Can Kill!

by Steven Carney on May 11, 2012

Stress in our modern life, specially chronic, ongoing stress can be destructive and detrimental to health. Stress, often tied to unexpected events like job loss, career change, or divorce, can trigger the fight or flight response. That causes adrenalin and cortisol to be released.

Those survival hormones raise heart rate, blood pressure and move fuels like glucose to muscles for a quick escape or self defense. Those hormones also disrupt normal processes, such as digestion, memory and sexual function.

In the modern world, people rarely run away or fight each other. Still, the negative physical changes occur, and can cause permanent changes in how we respond to stress. For example, chronic stress plays a role in:

  • Heart attacks
  • Depressed immune function
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic muscle tension/headaches
  • Anxiety/depression/self esteem problems

A new study in April of 2012 by Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University indicates that stress, especially more chronic stress, causes a loss of inflammation regulation. That causes inflammation to spread and that can become the basis for its destructive effects on the immune system and increasing risk for other diseases.

What’s more, the workplace is a significant source of stress too. It can decrease productivity and undermine teamwork. According to the American Institute of Stress, “. . .occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades.”

What to do?

Learn to take stress breaks when your feeling out of control. Watch videos that allow you to escape or have a laugh break (I have 2 videos available on the Tips page above). If possible, try some 10-minute stretch breaks, Yoga and/or some deep breathing. Also, 10 or 15 minutes of meditation can also be a good approach, as is getting a good night’s sleep.

Even a brisk walk or fun activity can help to re-balance your stress hormones. If you’re not sure what’s best for you, consult with a qualified health coach who can provide guidance, suggestions and training support to fit your lifestyle!

© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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