In addition to the stress due to what’s going on in this country, I have had a fair amount of personal stress in my life lately. My dad recently died, my youngest son has gone to college and the nest is now empty and my job is changing and getting a whole lot busier. That has led me to this current blog topic….STRESS!

Stress is one of those things that is a natural part of life. And one of those things that can show up physically with new, or worsening, symptoms. Some of us handle it better than others. There are various types of stress. There is acute stress that you feel when you are in danger and that provokes a “fight or flight” response, otherwise known as an adrenaline rush. There is intermittent acute stress that is a hallmark of those with the type A personality. These are people who are stress junkies and thrive on deadlines and rushing around. Finally, there is continuous or chronic stress. This can be seen in people who are oppressed either by a job, relationship or a government.

The most dangerous form is chronic stress. After time, those with this type of stress get so used to it they don’t even notice it. The continuous outpouring of stress hormones can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer.

It is important that you recognize stress in your life and that you do something about it, especially since there are so many ways to relieve stress. I advise starting with a healthy diet (avoid the urge to devour carbs), exercise is key, and then find ways to relax: read a lighthearted book; listen to soothing music; lay on the sofa holding your dog, and pet her nonstop. There are also complementary medical therapies (CAM) such as massage and acupuncture that can help. Meditation and yoga are great ways to relax and manage the stress response. Some may need the help of a therapist. There are chapters in our book, which go into much greater detail about all of these stress-busters including diet, exercise, and CAM therapies

Regardless of which route you choose, it is important to pay attention to your body and if you are chronically or even intermittently stressed get help and stay healthy.