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Stress: Life’s Double-Edged Sword

Updated: Nov 14

Dictionary Definition

1) Pressure or tension exerted on a material object

2) A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances


Background

Stress is essential for health. However, too much stress, unhealthy stressors, and poor stress management can be harmful. Therefore, getting the right kind and right amount of stress are so important.


The Dose Makes the Poison (stressor)

Most stressors, even those considered to be harmful, can actually be beneficial in small doses (like financial stress building work ethic and character). On the other hand, healthy stressors, like exercise, in excessive amounts can become harmful. Therefore, stress is all about the dosing and finding the right balance.


Healthy Stressors

- Exercise (strength training and cardiovascular exercise)

- Learning new things

- Life’s challenges (having kids, traveling, starting a new job, new experiences)

- Making new friends and meeting new people


Unhealthy Stressors

- Chronic substance abuse or exposure to harmful substances

- Negative interpersonal relationships

- Financial stress

- Past or current trauma (mental, physical, and sexual)

- Negative thoughts


Stress Reduction

The ability to reduce stress is key. Without this skill, life will sink your ship. As unhealthy stressors can never be fully removed, and at smaller doses they can be beneficial, finding good stress reduction tactics is essential.

- Exercise regularly

- Meditate and pray

- Create things – drawing, painting, building, and sculpting offers outlets for both our creativity and emotions

- Write

- Talk about your problems

- Think positive and love yourself

- Spend time in nature and with the people you care about


Stress and Health

Over time, unhealthy and poorly managed stress will take a toll on health. The following health problems can be due to stress.

- Chronic fatigue/tiredness

- Hair loss, accelerated aging

- Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety

- Metabolic syndrome and diabetes

- Heart attacks and strokes

- Cancer

- And much more


Need Help with Stress?

Is your stress out of control or causing health problems? If the answer is yes, then is time to get help. Talking with trusted friends, family members, and loved ones is a good place to start. The stress reduction tips above can also be very useful. If you are ready for more formal interventions, Wonder Medicine would love to help. Consider scheduling a new patient consultation today.


Thanks for reading,

Bill Brandenburg, MD






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