First, I want to apologize about the missing link in last week’s newsletter that prevented many of you from opening “The Bittersweet Truth About Sugar” article. If you would like to read this article now, please click on the title in the previous sentence. I hope you find that this article was worth the wait.As I mentioned in last week’s message, I have been thinking a lot lately about how our lifestyles affect our health — especially when it comes to diet, exercise, and stress. In the past three newsletters, we have touched on diet and exercise. Today, I would like to begin a discussion about stress and how to minimize its negative effects.
Stress is a trickier topic than diet or exercise because stress is both physiological and psychological; whereas, diet and exercise are mainly physiological (You eat something or go for a bike ride and there is a physiological response in your body, which can include a psychological effect, but that’s usually not the main response.)
Stress is also difficult to quantify because it is subjective. Events that are stressful for me might not be stressful for you and vice versa.
The psychological and subjective nature of stress make it a challenging topic to define, let alone study. For example, if you asked 10 people to define stress, I suspect most of them would have a hard time; however, they would know if they were suffering from the effects of too much stress: feeling overwhelmed and burned out, heartburn, intestinal distress, lower-back and neck pain, tension headaches, or problems falling (or staying) asleep.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines stress as “A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
While this definition is generic, it provides a point of departure for our discussion. If you would like to learn more about stress and how to curb its unhealthy influence on your well-being, please click the article title “Is Your Stress Level Affecting Your Health?” or begin reading the article in the left-hand column below.
As always, I look forward to reading your questions and comments,
P.S. On Wednesday, September 4, I will be giving another FREE presentation at the Boulder Public Library: “Debunking Myths and Legends: Testosterone and Prostate Cancer.” I hope you can join us. Please see below for additional information.
Is Your Stress Level Affecting Your Health?
By Dr. Emilia A. Ripoll, M.D.
No matter who you are or what you do, regardless of your age, sex, race, nationality, culture, family of origin, sexual orientation, or financial situation, stress is a part of your life. That said, not all stress is bad. The old saying, “the mind works best when moderately stressed,” contains a dose of wisdom.
In fact, without stress, very little gets done, and life soon becomes dull. Projects, tasks, and events are all enhanced with a modest amount of deadline stress. However, once stress creeps over a certain threshold (and that line is different for everyone), it has a negative affect on us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Ideally, we would all like to keep our stress level below the upper limits of our comfort zone — where a certain sense of urgency helps us tackle the tasks at hand, without pushing us into feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up.