Got Stress? Ease It with These Tips
By Roberta Lee M.D.
Think of stress as either acute or chronic. Acute stress is what I consider the "good" kind -- it is the "fight or flight" evolutionary trigger that helps us dodge the oncoming bus in the same way our ancestors outran the saber tooth tiger! In a short-term emergency, the physiological changes (the rapid release of neurohormones) do very little harm to the body -- we use up more vitamins and calories but we can recover quickly from the damage.
The problem comes when this response is triggered over and over with no time for rest, as it does for most of us almost every day. You dodge the bus but then are late for work; your report is due but you get a call from your child's day care and have to leave work early to pick her up -- you stay up late that night to finish the report and start again the next day with less sleep than you really need. This is chronic or SuperStress -- you lurch from one stress to the next without a break! Unfortunately, your brain can't tell the difference between the danger of the oncoming bus and the "danger" of your deadlines. The physiological response is the same, and over time, the cumulative result isn't pretty: your digestion gets out of whack, your blood sugar surges, pushing the body into a near diabetic state; your immunity becomes compromised and with that, a myriad of serious medical conditions.
So how can we keep the many, many stresses in our lives from accumulating and becoming Super-sized instead of acute and manageable incidents? Here are 11 important strategies for reducing the impact of inevitable stress.
Roberta Lee, M.D., author of The SuperStress Solution, is vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine, director of Continuing Medical Education, and co-director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel's Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Lee attended George Washington University Medical School and is one of the four graduates in the first class from the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona conducted by Andrew Weil, M.D.
For more information please visit www.superstresssolution.com.
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