“Stress-related disorders and diseases have been on the rise in the whole population for decades, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including those leading to . . . deaths of despair, but also to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.”
“National surveys by the American Psychological Association that also capture how stressed, anxious and overwhelmed we feel show a similar increasing pattern. And it shows up in our bodies, even before we get sick or start down the many roads to self-harm.”
I personally have experienced just that. My fibromyalgia flared for the first time during a particularly stressful time in my life. The truth is I didn’t realize how stressed I was at the time. Years later, it dawned on me that I had been in the center of “the perfect” storm of stressful circumstances: My aging parents and in-laws were dying; my work focused on anger, anxiety, depression – any and all forms of psychological tension or stress; and my own hormonal changes.
I’ve seen similar circumstances with many clients and colleagues who, like me, coped with and habituated to the level of stress they were under and often didn’t know the magnitude of impact until much later when they became ill.
All of us experience stress from work, money worries, traffic, political news, deadline pressure, relationship difficulties etc. and an even more basic cause which lies hidden at the intersection of psychology and biology:
“A central biological pathway is from excess cortisol — the fight-or-flight hormone — that characterizes being over-stressed for long periods of time. This “stress dysregulation” leads to risky health decisions, like addiction or overeating, and directly to many health problems linked to excess cortisol.”
- How we THINK triggers the stress response. We don’t have to actually be in a stressful situation – it’s our perception of it that alone can trigger a neuro-biological stress response.
- Slow-moving and cumulative social forces “get under the skin” early in life and can show up decades later in morbidity and mortality.
- Losing a sense of control that you believed you had, whether real or not, justified or not, creates stressful dislocations.
There are many things that can be done to “de-stress”. Most require time, money, effort or all three. Basically, we like what is quick and easy. To that end we’ve accumulated information and exercises over the 30 decades each of us was in practice and have now compiled some of it into a 19 page FREE PDF.
Click here for your free copy:
You can always access the PDF by the “Free or Cheep Page” which is located in the masthead above the CATNIP banner on every page.
Please let us know what worked for you or how you modified any of the activities.
The Hamilton Project looked at the “physiological stress load” in the US using biological markers tied to cardiovascular, kidney and liver function to create a stress load index. This physical stress load, a precursor to many diseases, has increased in striking fashion since the late 1970s, and it is getting worse as each new age group enters adulthood.