When we allow ourselves to remain in constantly activated high stress, we are impacting our health on many levels. That stress maintained over time has an impact on your pocket book.
Many health costs experienced today can find their roots in long standing stress levels. But we can lower those levels when we become aware of those things that trigger unhealthy stress.
Several years ago, I put together a Wellness workshop and compiled facts and figures about stress at that time. Although these statistics are several years old, they still give us a picture of some of the costs associated with stress. Here are some of those statistics:
- 30 million Americans have some form of major heart or blood-vessel disease
- One million Americans have a heart attack every year
- $700 million are spent each year to recruit replacements for executives with heart disease
- 25 million Americans have high blood pressure
- 8 million Americans are alcoholics
- $15.6 billion are lost by American industry each year because of alcoholism
- 5 billion doses of tranquilizers are prescribed each year
- 5 billion does of barbiturates are prescribed each year
- $19.4 billion are lost by American industry each year because of premature employee death
- $15 billion are lost by American industry each y ear because of stress-related absenteeism
Stress costs the American industry billions of dollars annually. Everyone is affected by escalating health care costs and the long term impact of high stress.
When people are stressed for long periods of time we see more:
- Overeating as food becomes a relaxer
- Smoking cigarettes or marijuana for a quick fix
- Overmedication or abuse of medically prescribed or over the counter drugs
- Allergies, hyperthyroidism and skin disorders
- Depressed immune systems: excess adrenal gland hormones pumped into the body over long periods of time when we are stressed can chronically depress our immune system.
What can we do about it?
Stress is universal. Everyone experiences it in some way – every day. It is normal and natural. We can’t live without stress. It enables us to set and achieve goals and enjoy life. Stress is a survival system. It protects us from danger.
But it is an overabundance of dis-stress that puts increased pressure on us and begins to do damage.
Our perception of life and ourselves, what we can and can not do can create unwanted stress. Any situation perceived as threatening, whether physically life-threatening or simply embarrassing or emotionally painful will trigger a stress response. Past traumatic and unpleasant experiences can be triggered over and over again creating unwanted stress.
Stress is a subjective process.
When we let go of anxiety, resentment, anger and frustration we let go of unnecessary stress. The best protection against heart attacks is love. The heart that loves is free and joyful. In the expression of love we become healthier.
Low self-esteem can create unnecessary stress. How you see yourself, how you feel about yourself has an effect on our stress levels. What are you saying to yourself over and over again?
Stress can become a habit. We develop habitual ways to respond to life that can be stress-laden.
If our first responses to events are consistently fear, anxiety, worry, and panic you put yourself into survival mode instead of a problem-solving mode. One keeps you frozen like a deer in the headlights – the other uses that concern to find solutions.
Stressors are anything that creates some kind of response within our body and we all experience stressors differently. When those stressors are constantly seen as danger, we are constantly geared up to fight or flee. What we want is to recognize these responses and problem solve solutions.
As we become aware of what triggers high levels of stress within us, we can begin to take steps to drastically reduce dis-stress.
You will find more information on understanding and using stress positively, in my book, “Use Stress to Meet Your Goals, 12 steps to understanding stress and turning it into a positive force” available on my website. It defines how we experience stress and steps we can take to reduce its negativity and harness it instead to reach our goals. It includes an Mp 3 recording as well.
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