DEALING WITH STRESS
We hear about stress everyday. Where does it come from, and why is it so important?
Stress comes from many sources, and is a result of our normal human emotions. If you have no conscience and lack empathy, you will be free from stress. But you will also miss out on all that is good about being human. So we must accept that stress is part of the human experience. But we know that it is also a source of human disease and premature death. So what we are left with is trying to find ways to minimize stress, or at least try to block its damaging effects.
How does stress cause disease? Stress triggers the normal fight or flight response which leads to surge of adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and the inflammatory cascade - all of which over the long term will contribute to heart disease, atherosclerosis, increased risk of serious infection and even cancer.
Strategies to minimize the effects of stress are well known. Regular exercise and activity help tremendously, as do yoga, meditation, creative outlets, strong supportive relationships and satisfying careers.
Perhaps we should take advantage of the new year to examine those aspects of our lives and determine where we could use some work.
Honest self examination can be very helpful. Are you satisfied with your occupation and relationships? Are you moving enough? Are you expressing your creative urges? Are you taking time each day for quiet, focused thought and reflection? If you are, I congratulate you. You will be living your best self, and have the best shot at optimal health. If you are not, perhaps I can help you find ways to improve. Let me know and we can schedule a free consultation.
In the meantime, I wish you a happy, healthy, joyful New Year!
Dr. John Monaco