Stress can kill: learn to manage it in healthy way


Stress is the psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life, and it affects different people in different ways. Although everyone experiences stress to some degree, some handle it very well while others not so well.

Stress can be physically and mentally harmful to your body.

Without getting too technical, stress activates the body’s autonomic nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. If too much of one system is activated, the damaging effects can be mental and physical.

A healthy body exists where there is balance between the autonomic nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Many parts of the brain and body are involved in response to stress. Various neurochemicals are released in response to stress, which regulate both beneficial and harmful effects of stress on your body.

Stress also affects the immune system, specifically white blood cells, which can reduce your immunity and causes susceptibility to disease and infection.

Understanding the signs or symptoms of stress could help you alleviate them in order to live a happier, healthier, more productive life.

Because the symptoms of stress may be subtle, and the person experiencing the stress is sometimes the last to know, it is vital to have good communication with friends, family, co-workers and your medical provider to help you recognize and diagnose your stress in order to work to minimize any negative effects that may result.

Common reasons why people experience stress are in relation to their jobs, relationships, family, finances or healthcare issues. Forty percent of U.S. workers admit to office stress, according to, and 25 percent cite work as the biggest stressor in their lives.

Work-related stress includes a heavy workload, working more than one job, too much responsibility, working long hours, poor management, unclear expectations, less-than-desirable working conditions, no opportunities for education or advancement, and discrimination or harassment.

Life-related stress includes marriage or divorce, job gain or loss, financial- and health-related issues, an addition or loss to the family, moving, serving as caregiver, and trauma such as assault, car accident, robbery or natural disasters.

Work- and life-related issues are external stressors. How they are dealt with are internal stressors, which can lead to extremely unproductive, unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous ways of dealing with stress.

Internal stressors can often be influenced by culture, environment, and genetics. They include your attitudes and perceptions, fears and uncertainties, and unrealistic expectations placed upon you by yourself or others. Your own personality and genetic constitution is extremely important in the way you deal with stress.

Why is this important to know? Because stress is harmful to your body so you need to learn how to handle it in a healthy way.

Some healthy ways to deal with stress include getting regular exercise and adequate sleep, as well as eating a balanced diet. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation can help also.

Other ways people deal with stress include counting to 10 before speaking or responding to potentially negative or harmful situation, deep breathing or walking away from a stressful situation and deferring it until later. You can also try going for a walk, prayer, hugging someone, and smiling.

If these self-help interventions do not work or if you are experiencing depression, panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, or other disabling symptoms, you should seek help from a counselor or other mental health professional.

In order to grow old healthy, you need to have a use it or lose it mentality.

Growing old healthy involves three basic elements and can be thought of like a three-legged stool.

Leg 1 – Physical exercise: You have to exercise your body.

Leg 2 – Mental exercise: Reading helps you exercise your mind.

Leg 3 – Social exercise: You have to be active socially. Interacting with people through work, socially, family members or through volunteering helps you be a well-rounded individual.

If any one of these items is missing, your life may be unbalanced. This unequal footing could lead to a greater chance of you being unhealthy to some degree.

Life stresses cannot be avoided, but with careful thought and intervention, you can minimize their negative and maximize their positive impact.

To learn more, visit, where Blain discusses exercise, endorphins, stress, and longevity.