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Do you feel your life is in a constant rush filled with anxiety? You’re not alone. Most of America feels the same, especially when it runs on caffeine. Stress has taken a toll on the health of many Americans. It has been documented that 75% of adults experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year – American Psychological Association. Many in our society have taken pride in pushing past the limits enjoying the high feeling of an adrenalin rush, while others are overwhelmed experiencing the anxieties of life. Our body has a well developed stress-response system, which is responsible for alerting us to protect ourselves. Cortisol is a hormone released from the adrenal glands in response to stress; it is vital for the immediate supply of energy. Cortisol stimulates the release of glucose, fats, and amino acids into the bloodstream to meet those demands. Excessive and prolonged stress can cause the body to produce too much cortisol. Unfortunately, this sets the stage for Chronic Stress, eliminating stress and worries are an important component for living in the 21st century. Here are some ways stress affects the mind, body, and behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of Overload

Emotional Symptoms Behavioral Symptoms

Feeling Overwhelmed Insomnia

Irritability or Short Tempered Increase food cravings or no appetite

Depression Turn to cigarettes and alcohol

Physical Symptoms & Cognitive Symptoms

Headaches Poor judgment

Loss of Sex Drive Short-Term Memory

Diarrhea or Constipation Lack of Concentration

Chest pain and rapid heartbeat

Anxious or racing thoughts

Belly fat

The signs and symptoms above are warnings that changes are needed. Chronic stress links to a weakened immune system, strained heart, damage memory cells in the brain, and fats that deposit at the waist rather than the hips and buttocks; which is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses. Did you know that Heart Disease has become the number one killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined? (American Heart Association) Heart Disease is often thought of as a problem for men, more women than men die of heart disease each year. American Heart Association states that 1 in 3 women dies each year and approximately one woman every minute. Other experts estimate that 1 in 2 women will die of heart disease or stroke, compared to 1 in 25 women who will die of breast cancer. The symptoms of heart disease in women can be different from men and need more investigation to identify the most effective diagnostic and treatment modalities. Stress also has been linked to aging, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, among other illnesses.

Now that you understand the effects that stress can have on your life and your long-term health, here are some ways to combat stress:

See your doctor for a check-up

Practice 5-10 minutes of deep breathing

Eat a healthy diet

Practice some Tai Chi (a series of slow movements)

Set priorities

Limit alcohol intake and caffeine

Meditation & yoga


Avoid cigarettes & drugs

Have a relaxing tub bath

Get a massage

Get enough sleep

If you are struggling with stress and fighting fatigue; add years to your life by embracing a more balanced life.


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