live in uncertain times. Some folks are experiencing greater stress now
because of the circumstances created by these uncertain times. However,
stress and worry have always been a part of the human condition and the
ability to manage in the face of these challenges is definitely better
understood today than it ever has been before.
What are some of the consequences of stress?
are many situations that can represent severe stress—war, violence,
malnutrition, and famine are some of the most severe forms of stress.
However, we can also experience more “everyday” forms of stress
including financial problems, work related stress, and difficulty in
interpersonal relationships. Everyone has stress in his life. However,
when it comes to these more common forms of stressful situations, how we
handle that stress often determines whether there are negative outcomes
of this stress. People who have difficulty managing their stress often
experience greater difficulties in life. This can manifest as breakdowns
in relationships, difficulty in workplace performance, and negative
Are there specific health conditions that are related to stress?
are several health conditions that may be worsened by stress. These
include high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, decreased
immunity, insomnia and headaches.
I’ve heard that heart attacks and stomach ulcers are related to stress. Is this true?
link between heart disease and stress is not fully understood. There
does seem to be a connection but how the two interact is not clear.
there is a medical condition called “stress ulcers”, this is a
condition that describes severe physiologic stress that occurs in the
Intensive Care unit. The link between chronic stress and
gastrointestinal ulcers is not as clear.
Why are some people better able to cope with stress?
with all conditions, it is often a combination of genetics and
environment. Some people are born with greater difficulty in managing
stress. However, many people have never learned effective coping
What should I do about stress?
course, if you are experiencing severe depression and having thoughts
of harming yourself or others, you should not delay in seeking medical
attention. For less severe symptoms, it is useful to examine your daily
life. If you cannot change the circumstances that are causing your
stress, then you will have to improve your ability to cope with your
circumstances. Eating right, getting plenty of rest, learning time
management can help. Also, regular exercise can be a very effective
stress reducer. People who have a supportive and extensive social
network often can cope with stress better. Engaging in specific
relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation is often
helpful. Being able to talk about what is bothering you will often help
to relieve some of your stress. You will also want to examine changing
the way you think about and behave with your stressful situations. If
you are engaging in these lifestyle changes and you still feel
significant stress, you may benefit from professional help. Talk to your
doctor and explore your options.