by John McKain

The Secret of Managing Stress
John McKain

Stress. For many it is an ugly word. It is a negative word. We hear folks say, "Don't mind him, he is just stressed out." We tell our children, "Don't bother daddy, he has had a stressful day." We go to the doctor about physical ailments and are often surprised when he says, "You're just under too much stress."

Now we categorize stress. There is parenting stress, work stress, school stress, relational stress, political stress, travel stress, financial stress, --- you name it and you can become stressed by it.

"Stress, can we cope?" was the lead article in Time magazine just a few years ago. It carried a complete discussion of the effects of epidemic stress on our society today. Life expectancy is diminishing because of stress. Many of our illnesses are stress related. Peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, certain strokes, migraines, asthma, neurodermatitis are all diagnosed as illnesses often produced by stress and our physiologic response to it.

Few subjects have produced more rhetoric and less remedial help than "stress." The diagnosis is telling, the prognosis is terrifying, and the prescriptions are tenuous.

When solutions are offered they are often simplistic, only patching but never healing the wound. We are told to relax. Slow down before we break down. Do less and live longer. Stay out of stress producing situations.(I really like that one. I went on vacation, got this huge sore in my mouth and the Doctor said it was stress. I told him I had just returned from a two week vacation to the mountains. He said change is stressful.)

Avoid stressful people. Take more vacations. Get some fun in your life. Sit in a hot tub. Use a bio-feedback machine to lower your muscle tension. Express your anger, cry more, join a therapy group. Get more exercise, balance your diet, drink less caffeine. The list of temporary remedies grows longer every day we struggle to find some answer for stres ...

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