Treatment for Stress

Stress also seems to increase the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, episodes of asthma, and fluctuations of blood sugar in people with diabetes. There is also scientific evidence showing that people experiencing psychological stress are more prone to developing colds and other infections than their less-stressed peers. Overwhelming psychological stress (such as the events of 9-11) can cause both temporary (transient) and long-lasting (chronic) symptoms of a serious psychiatric illness called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What can we do to STOP the physical and psychological damage that Stresshas on our bodies – the answer is simple, take your…

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How can we manage stress?

If we think about the causes of stress, the nature of the stress response, and the negative effects of some types of stress (prolonged, unexpected, or unmanageable stress), several healthy management strategies become clear. An important step in stress management is exercise. Since the stress response prepares us to fight or flee, our bodies are primed for action. Unfortunately, however, we usually handle our stresses while sitting at our desk, standing at the watercooler, or behind the wheel stuck in traffic. Exercise on a regular basis helps to turn down the production of stress hormones and associated neurochemicals. Thus, exercise can help avoid the damage to our health that prolonged stress can cause. In fact, studies have found that exercise is a potent antidepressant, anxiolytic (combats anxiety), and sleeping aid for many people.

For centuries in Eastern religious traditions, the benefits of meditation and other relaxation techniques have been well known. Now, Western medicine and psychology have rediscovered that particular wisdom, translated it into simple non-spiritual methods and scientifically verified its effectiveness. Thus, one or two 20-30 minute meditation sessions a day can have lasting beneficial effects on health. Indeed, advanced meditators can even significantly control their blood pressure and heart rate as well.

Elimination of drug use and no more than moderate alcohol use are important for the successful management of stress. We know that people, when stressed, seek these outlets, but we also know that many of these substances sensitize (make even more responsive) the stress response. As a result, small problems produce big surges of stress chemicals. What's more, these attempts with drugs and alcohol to mask stress often prevent the person from facing the problem directly. Consequently, they are not able to develop effective ways to cope with or eliminate the stress.