Saturday, March 31, 2012

One last quote about stress.

“A violin cannot play a sweet note unless the strings are under pressure.  But if you put too much pressure on the strings, they snap.  So do we.  When the violin is not being used, you release the tension on the strings.  We, too, need periods of relaxation to recover and renew.”  Tanya Wheway Klein, A, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Gramercy Books, 2005), 126.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dealing with stress at work

“No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.”  Joyce Brothers, Klein, A, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Gramercy Books, 2005), 127.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thoughts about stress

“Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.  Nothing is that important.  Just lie down.”  Natalie Goldberg, Klein, A, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Gramercy Books, 2005), 129.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What can we do to constructively deal with stress?

What causes me stress may not affect you in the same way.  You may cope with it more effectively.  In the same way, a massage may help me feel less stressed while you find another activity helps you cope with stress better.  Some activities which we recognize can help people shrug off their stress and cope more effectively:  massage, exercise, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation and prayer. 
The website offers these tips: “develop a new attitude…become a problem solver…be flexible…get organized…set limits…relax…take deep breaths…stretch…take time to do something you want to do…take care of your body…get enough sleep…eat right…get moving…don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways…connect with others…share your stress…get help from a professional if you need it…help others.”  (, Stress and your health fact sheet,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What causes stress?

“Stress happens when people feel like they don’t have the tools to manage all of the demands in their lives.”  Common stress-causing events include death of a loved one, a loss such as job loss, divorce or marriage separation, loss of health due to injuries or illness.  Events which cause stress for some (not all) people include marriage, pregnancy, and retirement.
Some causes of long-term stress include caregiving, and dealing with chronic health problems and/or disabilities (either physical or mental).  “Researchers have found caregiving stress can depress the caregiver’s immune system and increase the risks of chronic illness.  Caregiving stress can cause high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and premature aging in caregivers.”  (Hohler, SE, Arthritis: A Patient’s Guide, (McFarland & Co., Inc, Jefferson, NC, 2008), 9.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

What are symptoms of stress?

What are symptoms of stress?  We are all individuals and we react differently.  However, common signs of stress include:  our eating habits change (eating too much or not eating enough), feeling that our world is beyond our control while we try to control events around us.  Physical signs and symptoms include headaches, back pains, upset stomach and difficulty sleeping.  People who are stressed may feel exhausted and lack energy while they struggle to concentrate.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What is stress?

What is stress?  We hear about ‘stress’ fairly often, so what is stress? My Webster’s New World Dictionary describes stress as mental or physical tension.  Another way to describe is as “a feeling you get when faced with a challenge.  In small doses, stress can be good for you because it makes you more alert and gives you a burst of energy.”   In large doses and/or for a long time, stress wears on a person mentally and physically. 
When stressed, our bodies release chemicals called catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) and steroid hormones.  These chemicals cause the “fight or flight” response which prepares our bodies to run or fight.  “These chemicals divert the body’s blood supply to vital organs (away from non-vital organs).  This causes the heart, lungs, and skeletal muscles to receive increased blood circulation.  The person’s breathing rate and heart rate increase and muscle tension increases.  The person is primed for action.” 
When pre-historic man stumbled into a bear or tiger, the fight or flight response helped save his life.  Few people these days deal with tigers or bears.  “This response to acute stress happens today when things go awry, such as an auto accident, a lost job or contract, or a child’s problem that demands a parent leave work to solve.  Often, there’s no physical outlet for all the chemicals flooding through a person’s system.”  (Hohler, SE, Arthritis: A Patient’s Guide, (McFarland & Co., Inc, Jefferson, NC, 2008), 193.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the News--What causes us stress?

Work, Money, and the Economy rank as the top causes of American’s stresses.  A study released by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 75% of Americans consider money issues as their biggest stress.  The second highest cause of stress was work.  
Since the APA did their first survey in 2007, fewer Americans report feeling extreme stress.  That’s the good news.  This study made an interesting find:  “the bad news from APA’s latest data is noteworthy:  a significant number of respondents reported that stress has only a slight or no impact on their physical health (31 percent) or on their mental health (36%).”
Do you recognize that stress can impact your health, both mental and physical?  What is stress?  What can we do to lessen your stress levels?  More tomorrow about stress. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the News--Prescription Painkiller Overdoses

The headline reads, “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the U.S.” 
Every year prescription painkiller overdoses kill nearly 15,000 people. (2008 figure).  This number has tripled in the last nine years. 
These overdoses involve pain medicines such as hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone and oxymorphone.  One in 20 Americans (ages 12 and older) misused these drugs (without a doctor’s prescription or for the high these drugs cause).  Nearly half a million emergency room visits (2009) occurred due to people misusing and abusing these pain killers.  

Who is most likely to misuse and overdose on these painkiller?  More men die of overdoses of prescription pain killers than woman.  Middle-aged adults account for the largest number of overdoses using prescription painkillers.  People who live in rural counties are twice as likely to overdose as people who live in big cities.

What can a person do to avoid this problem?  Do not share prescription painkillers with others and use the medicine only as prescribed by your doctor. More information about prescription painkiller overdoses can be found at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In the News--Doc in a computer console

Imagine going to a pharmacy with in-house clinic and utilizing a computer to get a nursing and medical visit.  Rite Aid Pharmacy has begun providing this service called Now Clinic.    A person can enter a private room, register and then answer a series of computer-prompted questions aimed at finding the patient’s problem or complaint.  The patient can talk to a virtual nurse for no charge.  If the person would rather talk to a physician or if the nurse recommends a consultation with a doctor, there’s a fee.  

The services provided include treatment for allergy, bladder infection, cold and cough, seasonal flu, sinus infections, sore throats, viral infections, diarrhea, insomnia, fever, nausea, rash, and other relatively minor complaints. 
These on-line virtual clinics offer convenience to patients.  However, the experts wonder whether virtual medicine will be as accurate as in-person examinations with a person’s own physician.  No doubt this is just the beginning of combining technology and medicine.  The details may change.  Some speculate that at-home access of these virtual clinics will become very popular. Watch this situation as it grows.