Chronic Stress: The Undercover Killer
For many people, being constantly stressed has become an ordinary way of life. Between pursuing a career, raising kids, maintaining relationships, and trying to squeeze in some time for fun, day-to-day life is often so hectic that it is easy not to notice how exhausted and overworked you are, or to brush off these feelings as unimportant. However, many leading causes of death, from heart disease to cancer, have been linked to high stress levels. Reducing stress in your daily life is not just a nice idea, it is vital for your health and your quality of life.
So how can you conquer stress? The first step is to know your enemy – educate yourself about causes and symptoms of stress, and how to deal with them. In their bestselling new book, So Stressed, doctors Stephanie McClellan and Beth Hamilton outline the four major general stress types and some possible ways to greatly reduce it. While the information is primarily focused toward women, we feel that this is a pretty good start for anyone interested in classifying and dealing with stress.
The first type they mention are “Hyperdrive Stressors”, characterized by constant anxiety and feeling “on-edge”. Symptoms of this type of stress typically include nail-biting, teeth-grinding and headaches. Other individuals are the “Fried and Frazzled” type. While they may have a calm demeanor, they are highly sensitive to stress and usually experience chronic fatigue, muscle tension and physical pain when dealing with stressful situations. The third group are the “Dash and Crash Stressers”. These individuals thrive in stressful situations, handling them with energy and effectiveness. This productivity, however, is ultimately followed by a feeling of total burnout,even causing individuals to sleep for days. Finally, some people are “Detached Stressers”, characterized by feelings of detachment, low energy, a sense of helplessness, poor digestion and dizziness.
By now, I’m sure you have begun to think about which of these types best describes how you feel on a day to day basis. Once your have identified which type of “stresser” you are, it is time to take action toward eliminating it. Doctors McClellan and Hamilton offer some very practical tips for improving your response to stress and reducing your particular symptoms. If you are a “Hyperdrive Stresser” for example, rigorous exercise (preferably in the morning) will use up the anxious energy that body is mobilizing. “Fried and Frazzled” people should focus on implementing an anti-inflamatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet, pilates style exercise, walnuts and dark chocolate. “Detached” is the rarest and most extreme of the four categories. People that are experiencing it feel alone, are at risk for ulcerative colitis and experience lots of intestinal cramping. These individuals need to learn to connect the pain (physical and emotional) with what is going on in their lives.
This information is from the book entitled So Stressed: The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women, written by Dr Stephanie McClellan and Dr. Beth Hamilton. Their years of clinical experience and review of scientific studies have led them to the startling conclusion that the root cause of many physical and emotional problems they see in their patients is stress. So Stressed provides you with a thorough and detailed stress-reduction plan tailored to your specific needs. This will also deepen your understanding of the profound connections between stress and physical well-being, and shares inspiring stories of women who have radically improved their lives by changing how they deal with stress.
If you are interested in more information, check out Stephanie McClellan’s book “So Stressed: The Ultimate Stress-Relief for Women”.
ABC News Interview, 1/14/10
So Stressed Official Website