What is Stress? Part 1
By LeAnna J. Carey | Feb 15, 2012
Winston Churchill said, “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” One of the greatest challenges that many of us face is being controlled by the clock. Let me pose this question, when you think about what needs to be accomplished before the close of business, do you experience any of these feelings: difficulty sleeping, tense muscles, tension headaches, fear, anxiety, and loss of appetite? While not an inclusive list, I’m betting that some of you have already visited a few of these feelings today, am I right?
Dr. Virginia Gurley, MD in our BlogTalkRadio broadcast last week guided us through a What Do We Really Know About Stress refresher. She reminded us that stress can help us accomplish goals, but long-term stress can make us feel overwhelmed and is harmful to our mental and physical health. Why? Our bodies need to replace worn out cells and long-term stress actually makes our body cells age more quickly; stress can:
- Shrink the part of your brain that helps learn and remember new things, and also increase the size of the part of the brain that triggers fear and anxiety.
- Throws hormones out of sync, especially the control of blood sugar.
- Makes heart and blood vessels less able to adapt to physical work.
- Throw off the balance of the immune system, making it more likely to catch colds, infection and inflammation.
Since we cannot remove all the sources of stress from our lives or ignore the stressors, it is equally important to not rely on unhealthy stress relievers:
- TV or other online media
- Gaming or gambling
When creativity does not come naturally to me, I know that my stress barometer is heading the wrong way and I should not go to the grocery store; my struggle with chocolate cake is well known. Hopefully, this information on stress will nudge you into reflecting on your priorities, or examining the gaps between what you want for your life and where you really are. In order to ask the right questions, you will need to walk away from your computer for longer than 5 minutes…I’m just saying. Please tune in for Part 2 as we share some healthy adaptations and connect more understanding on stress.