If You’re Living a Stress-Filled Existence, You Need Stress Management
“There is a hidden epidemic of stress in this country, and we’re going to go broke if we don’t figure out how to manage it,” says Dr. Michael Parkinson, head of the American College of Preventive Medicine. In other words, stress management has to be an essential part of any wellness strategy.
We all seem to recognize this because we know that the list of symptoms linked to stress is a long one. We can start with headache, back pain, insomnia, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome.
When left “untreated”, we also know that stress weakens the immune system which can worsen existing chronic conditions like lupus, arthritis and asthma. On the job injuries increase as stress makes workers more prone to injury. (Interestingly, even office workers are more prone to injury when stressed.)
Research done by Hewitt Associates concludes that 50% of workers who call in sick do so because of a stress-related disorder. Workers suffering from chronic stress overload are away from their desks an average of 23 days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Can Stress Add to Weight Gain?
We now know that higher levels of stress hormones are also linked to weight gain, which in turn raises the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
After surviving a massive heart attack in 2017, Bob Harper, the celebrity trainer and The Biggest Loser star has made significant changes in his approach to health. He shifted from a Paleo diet to a carb-friendly, plant-based program. And not only has he changed how he eats, but he’s also shifted his thoughts on weight loss in general.
“I [previously] structured my dialogue that when it comes to weight loss, it’s about your diet first and foremost,” Harper said. “Then it’s your exercise, then sleep, and then stress management,” he said. He noted that he’s been sharing this ideology for decades, but recently he’s turned things around.
“I have since changed the way I think,” he said, and while “Those are still my four core beliefs,” he has now flipped that hierarchy on its head. “I think that stress management is the number one key to a healthy body and a healthy mind,” he said, and shared that stress management is really the foundation that the diet, exercise, and sleep rests on.”
We think so too!
There is good news. Stress Management can be taught rather simply and inexpensively.