Stress -

UNDERSTANDING AND DEALING WITH EVERYDAY STRESSby William G. Schlake Stress is an abnormal condition that disrupts the normalfunctions of the body or mind. No two people are affected inexactly the same way, or to the same degree, but most peopleliving in our highly industrialized society suffer from itseffects at one or more times during their lives. Symptoms rangefrom mind headaches, occasional bouts of insomnia, overallrestlessness, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome,constipation and diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Death of a close family member.
Death of a close friend.
Major personal injury, illness or pregnancy.
Sexual molestation, drug abuse.
Major change in the health or behavior of a family member.
Gaining or losing a new family member.
Sexual difficulties.
Marital separation from mate.
Marriage, marital reconciliation, divorce.
Arguments with spouse, family members, friends, co-workers.
Changes in sleeping habits or change in part of day when asleep.
Vacations, Major holidays. In-law troubles.
Financing major purchases.
Beginning or ceasing formal schooling.
Change in usual type and or amount of recreation.
Change in outside social activities, religions, etc.
Major change in eating habits, Iiving conditions, moving.
Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home.
Changing to a different line of work.
Major change in responsibilities at work.
Changes in working hours or conditions.
Troubles with the boss.
Being fired at work.
Starting a new job or career.
Retirement from work.
Business readjustment, changes in financial condition.
Minor violations of the law (e.g., traffic tickets, disturbingthe peace, etc.)Detention in jail or other institution.
Dealing With Work Related Stress Examples that can cause work related stress are trying to gettoo much work done in too little time, cutting corners orotherwise taking chances that may put you, or someone else atrisk, and trying to get along with superiors and co-workers.
Everybody has days when there simply seems there's too much workto get done. Trying to get everything done by yourself can bringon stress. Some people try and deal with the pressure bydelegating certain jobs to others. If you can unburden yourselfand not worry about when and how the work gets done, if you canput full faith and trust in co-workers or subordinates it can bean effective escape valve. Trouble is, most people can't let go.
If you have the type of personality that demands to know howthings are going, chances are you're only increasing thepressure and stress on yourself by constantly worrying if thework is getting done or not.
To lessen stress you must either learn to trust others to getthe job done, or prioritize jobs to get rid of "what must bedone" first. Many people tend to "put off" the difficult jobsthey hate to do until the last possible minute. Of course, thisonly makes it all the more difficult and stressful when youfinally get around to doing what you should have done earlier.
When you feel the "walls closing in on you" if possible, take abreak. Many people in trying to relax actually kick their bodiesinto overdrive by using their break time to either get anicotine or caffeine fix. Instead of calming you down, bothsubstances being stimulants speed up your body processes. Youmay think you're relaxing, but your blood pressure and heart areworking harder.
Instead of coffee or cigarettes try a brief chat with friends, ashort leisurely walk, even just looking out the window for a few minutes. Never take breaks, or eat lunch at your work station.
The point of a break is to get away from whatever work you'redoing. You can't get your mind off your work if you're chainedto your work area.
Getting along with your co-workers and the boss can be more thana sore point. It can be something you learn to put up with, orit can turn into a festering wound that only gets worse withtime. If you're having problems, get them out in the open. Mostmanagers today at least have some training in dealing withpersonal problems. If you can't clear the air or have triedusing all the company procedures to resolve a grievance, and youno longer enjoy your job, hate to go to work in the morning, orfeel that the pressure is getting to be too much, it may be timeto seriously consider a change.
Anyone who's ever been stuck in a major traffic jam probably hasseen the darker side of many people's personalities. It seemseveryone is always in a hurry to either get, or go somewhere,and never seem to allow enough time for the everyday problemsthat are bound to crop up from time to time.
Banging on the steering wheel, laying on the horn, givingsomeone the "finger," or shooting a string of obscenities isonly reacting to something that has already happened. You can'tmake the guy in front of you go any faster, or prevent someonefrom cutting you off. Accidents, road repairs, and just plainheavy traffic happens. Learn to deal with it or don't drive. Ifyou must, at least change your route from time to time. Alwaysallow plenty of time, and try and make all trips as pleasant aspossible. You may not realize it, but how you act on your way towork, or on your way home will have either a positive ornegative impact. Accept the fact that it's something you justhave to get through so you may as well try and make the best ofit.
Most people are smart enough to know that they should set sometime aside to take it easy. If you participate in some sportsactivity, remember you're doing it to relax! While many peoplenaturally have their competitive nature come to the surface whenengaging athletics, don't lose sight of the fact you're participating to have fun. Don't get bent out of shape if youdon't always win or otherwise play up to par. The whole point isto enjoy yourself and forget your everyday worries. Treat it asa night out with the "boys," or gals and relax! Families can be as source of support, an oasis away from theeveryday pressures or sometimes it's only a place to grab a fewhours sleep and get back in the rat race. Your children, spouse,family members, in-laws can be a source of irritation at times.
If someone is constantly doing something that really "bugs you,"tell the offending person or persons and see if things can bestraightened out before things get out of control.
A man's home (a woman's too) should indeed be a place to restand relax. Many people find it helpful unwind by sharing theday's events with their loved ones. It should not develop into adaily routine, nor should you give a detailed blow by blow recapof the day's events, but when things go wrong, who better totalk to than your family? Holding things back, keeping it insideyourself, almost always does more harm than good and can affectnot only your well-being but everyone else in your family aswell. Talking things over is a great way to get rid of built upstress that many people overlook.
You should also be a good listener. Don't unload your problemsand have no time for your mate's or children's problems. Theymay seem trivial to you, but they are real problems that needsolving just like yours.
A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, dosomething totally different and unexpected without any priorplanning. Don't fall into a trap when you must do such and suchthing a certain way, or at specific time or place. If you alwaysput on a blue suit on Thursday, or go to an Italian restauranton Tuesday, break the habit every once in a while. Even doingthings you like can become stressful if you're stuck in the sameold rut week after boring week.
Stress can best be managed by realizing what you can changeabout your life and knowing what you can't. Learn how torecognize the difference and you'll enjoy life more and bebetter able to deal the ups and downs that are part ofeveryone's life.
If you've been wondering what degree of stress you live under,here is a quick way to get a fair estimate. Dr. Thomas and Dr.
Richard Rahe composed a table of events and the amount of stressthey cause. The most interesting feature of this table is thatthe people they interviewed actually told them, how they couldrate specific events for the stress they cause, so this is humanrather than a medical appraisal of the degree of stress thoseevents caused As you get used to certain changes in your life,they become less stressful, so these ratings will not beentirely accurate for you. If, for example, you take a vacationonly every five years, you might rate it a 25 instead of a 13.
The common starting point used was a standard rate of 50 formarriage for all the people interviewed.
The combined total of both positive and negative stresses in thepast few months will give you an idea of your current stresslevel. Keep in mind that people have varying stress-handlingcapacities and this table does not take into account suchregular stresses as recreational drug use, alcoholism, chronicillness, allergy, battering and random stresses such as caraccidents, contest winning to the dreaded tax audit. This ispresented as information only and should not be used fordiagnostic or treatment purposes.
- Change in number of arguments with spouse - Change in number of family get-togethers HOW TO OVERCOME KILLER STRESSBy Dr. John E. Russell It was November 30, 1991 - the date is firmly etched in my mind- we had returned from visiting a older friend. I took ashower, then became extremely nauseated - I don't ever rememberbeing that ill - then tried to throw up, but was too sick to. Ithen headed for the front door to get some fresh air and becamedizzy. I lay down on the floor to avoid passing out. Heartattack! came to mind - I may be dying. I asked my wife to call the ambulance. I prayed aloud, asking God to forgive my sins. Iwanted to call my son in Tulsa, but there was not enough time.
The ambulance crew arrived, along with two friends. One prayedaloud for me. The cool night air felt good.
Preliminary tests at ICU indicated a stomach virus, but theattending physician recommended further tests. There had beenheart symptoms for about ten years, but I hadn't followed thedoctor's advice for medical tests. I had noticed pain up into myneck during exertion, and a general heaviness in the chest area.
There were times when my heartbeat would skip and I becamewinded easily.
My wife had suffered a stroke in 1986 and was later pronouncedpermanently disabled. To compound the situation, now we wereunder great financial stress. My mailorder business was notdoing well financially, though I enjoyed it and it seemedtailor-made for our circumstances.
A resting EKG indicated that my heart was not getting enoughoxygen. A stress ekg indicated some problem. Then, in January1992, a heart catheterization indicated that I had not had aheart attack. I was placed on one aspirin per day and Cardizem,which is a heart and blood pressure medicine.
Stress was making me seriously ill. My family was verysupportive, but stress agents were taking their toll. I hadserved as an Army Chaplain in Vietnam, and finished a militarycareer in the Army Reserve, retiring a colonel in 1988. I hadearned a BA, two masters degrees and a doctorate, taught in twocolleges for a total of five and a half years, pastored foreleven years and spent about five years in schooladministration. At one time, I was teaching a full load atcollege, working on a doctorate and working on a reservemilitary career.
Things went to "zero." Children made me nervous. Crowds ofpeople bothered me. I didn't want to go anywhere. Other physicalproblems began to surface. I looked for a pastorate and jobs,but didn't know if I could perform. Bankruptcy was put off untilstress forced the issue - we filed for bankruptcy December 1992.
I had been effectively become a drug addict. No, I did notinject drugs in my veins or smoke or "snort" them. But, by worry and stress, I inadvertently had my brain command the adrenalgland to do so! Many of you are stressed-out, too. Learn from mybad experience, or you may not be so fortunate. Sometimes thefirst heart attack is the killer! God made a human being so that in case of real or imagineddanger, the adrenal medulla (the inside part of the adrenalgland) produces adrenaline, a hormone, which is injected intothe blood stream. Adrenaline produces an "acute alarm" reactionin the body. This acute reaction is generally short-term. Theheart beats faster and blood pressure is raised. Blood isshunted from the stomach and skin to the muscles to providephysical strength for "fight or flight." High-energy fats aredumped into the bloodstream, blood sugar level rises, breathingquickens, eyes dilate and chemicals appear in the blood to clotblood rapidly in case of injury. This heightened condition maysave one's life, but it is hard on the body.
When one perceives a real or imagined loss of control, theadrenal cortex (the outside part of the adrenal gland) producescortisol, another hormone, which is injected in the bloodstream. Cortisol produces a "vigilance reaction" in the body. This is a chronic reaction - a long term state. Blood pressurerises slowly, body tissues retain sodium and other vitalchemicals. High-energy fats and blood-clotting chemicals arereleased into the blood stream. Sex hormones are repressed. Gastric acid production is increased to maximize digestion. Theimmune system is repressed, making one more susceptible todisease.
Both conditions can trigger a heart attack. Excess stomach acidcan cause ulcers, Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)and continued high blood pressure can result due to continuedstress. In short, fear, anxiety, overconcern and worry causesthe brain to command the adrenal gland to inject strong chemicals into the blood stream. These chemicals act as a poisonover a period of time.
Emotional stress can cause high blood pressure, toxic goiter,migraine headaches, arthritis, apoplexy (cardiovascular accidentor stroke), heart trouble, gastrointestinal ulcers, and otherserious diseases too numerous to mention.
Dr. Carl Jung was the first to teach that the cause ofschizophrenia was a toxin injurious to the brain - said toxinbeing formed by emotional disturbance, especially anxiety.
In short, worry or anxiety can cause physical and mental illness.
One by one, with the help of God and others, I worked on eachstress agent. A program of walking, diet and medicine ishelping. I recommend two excellent resource books to helpovercome killer stress.
One of the best medical resources for stress management is Dr.
Robert S. Eliot's book, Is It Worth Dying For? How to MakeStress Work for You - Not Against You. Dr. Eliot experienced aheart attack himself, and now directs the Institute of StressMedicine in Denver and serves as Professor of Cardiology at theUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center.
Another classic book on managing stress and preventing otherillnesses is Dr. S. I. McMillen's book, None of These Diseases.
Now is the time to act! Read and heed these timely books! Seea physician if there are serious symptoms present.


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