Monday, January 24, 2011

The stress epidemic

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on Jan 24 2011 11:20AM

"Stress is a quick and convenient explanation for many health problems these days, from a heart attack to a pimple on the nose," write David Wainright and Michael Calnan in their book, Work Stress: The Making of a Modern Epidemic. The word stress has become synonymous will all that doesn’t go well with us. Once epidemic in only the Western world, globalisation and multinational work culture have brought this silent killer to other regions of the world and those in Asia’s booming economies are feeling the greatest pressure.

Fight or flight, it’s a deadline!
Stress is a state of tension that is created when you respond to the demands and pressures that come from work, family and other external sources, as well as those that are internally generated from self-imposed demands, obligations and self-criticism.

An immediate danger or an upcoming deadline places one’s body in the mode of fight or flight, or the stress response. Hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol are released from the adrenal glands, resulting in dilated pupils, decreased digestion, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and greater flow of blood to muscles.

Plague of the 21st century
With more choices, technologies and activities at our disposal, we find hard to resist the temptation to fill every minute with some activity. We don’t want to say, "No." Stress adds up over time and we become irritabile, anxious, confused, angry, and lose our concentration and judgment. It manifests as muscle tension, headaches, back pain, insomnia and high blood pressure, which can lead to physical illness and sometimes death. Stress also aggravates conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, herpes, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, family discord and violence.

The business of stress
Stress has become multi-billion dollar industry with many healthcare products, services, books, expert guides, and professionals in the field who help you deal with it. However, little has been understood of how to manage stress. While exercise, meditation, diet and relaxation therapy help reduce stress, the best way to tackle it is to get to the root of the problem and find its solution.

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