The Epidemic of the Eighties is Still Here


Time magazine called stress the "The Epidemic of the Eighties". Stress is America's #1 health problem. The reasons for about 90% of visits to doctors there are stress-related. What is stress, and what are its causes? Why does it lead to doctor visits, and what can you do to reduce it? This article seeks to answer these questions briefly.

What is Stress and How Does it Affect You?

Stress is your reactions a threat or challenge. These reactions may cause changes in your body, in your mind or action.

Changes in your body would include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, muscle tension, dry mouth, dilated pupils and increased blood sugar levels.

Concentration problems, forgetfulness, indecision, nervousness, anger and irritability are some of the changes in your mind as a result of stress.

Examples of changes in action include tremors, difficulty in sleeping, shaky voice, loss of appetite, jumpiness and accident proneness.

Sources of Stress

Stress has a number of causes. There are large issues like retirement, divorce, moving, and the death of a loved one. Some relatively minor sources of stress are sitting in a traffic jam while you are late for an appointment, unpaid bills, and an uncooperative neighbour. Our jobs are also a fertile source of stress.

Children, teenagers, college students the elderly are all experience stress for various reasons.

Stress-related Ailments

There is good stress and there is bad stress (distress). Bad stress is the one usually meant when the word is mentioned. Bad stress causes trouble hence it leads to doctor visits.

Health problems commonly associated with stress are fatigue, sweating, dry mouth or difficulty in swallowing, insomnia or interrupted sleep cycles, relationship or sexual problems, trembling, dizziness, rapid breathing or irregular heart rate and so on.

Some people turn to hard drugs and alcohol and others take out their frustration on the people they care about the most. But there more acceptable ways of dealing with stress. What are these?

How to Handle Stress

(1) Breathe deeply. Relax your muscles, expanding your stomach and chest. Repeat several times.

(2)Exercise regularly. Neck and shoulder exercises are useful for the desk-bound arthritis sufferers.

(3) Eat healthy foods. Don't skip meals. Take time out for lunch no matter how busy you are.

(4) Don't let others get you down. Choose positive friends and avoid worriers. Communicate clearly with your co-workers. When instructions are not clear, seek clarification.

(5) Plan ahead and prevent problems before they occur.

(6) Retreat to recharge your spirit. Schedule private time every day. You deserve it.

(7) Savour life's little delights. Enjoy a movie, watch a sports event, read a book.

(8) Don't be filled with gloom. Replace negative self-talk with affirmations.

(9) Be optimistic. Count your blessings when everything seems to go wrong.

(10) Plan your time wisely. And realistically. Leave room for unanticipated events. Do one thing at a time.

(11) Get enough sleep.

(12) Strive for your dreams. Plan ahead to meet your most cherished

goals in life.

You have these twelve keys to stress reduction. Use them and enjoy stress-free living.

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Copyright Matthew Eigbe 2005

Matthew Eigbe
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Matthew Eigbe is the publisher of Clear Health Guide, a weekly newsletter that seeks to improve your quality of life by making available to you health information in an easy-to-read manner. Suscribe by sending a mail to [email protected].

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