Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies
experience as we adjust to our continually
changing environment; it has physical and
emotional effects on us and can create positive
or negative feelings. As a positive influence,
stress can help compel us to action; it can
result in a new awareness and an exciting new
perspective. As a negative influence, it can
result in feelings of distrust, rejection,
anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to
health problems such as headaches, upset
stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood
pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With
the death of a loved one, the birth of a child,
a job promotion, or a new relationship, we
experience stress as we readjust our lives. In
so adjusting to different circumstances, stress
will help or hinder us depending on how we react
The manifestations of stress are legion. Early
in this century, medical students were taught
that, "if you know syphilis (the great
masquerader), you know medicine." One could say
the same about stress. It can contribute to or
mimic just about any symptom you can think of.
However, the main presentations can be
summarized under four headings:
emotional and behavioral.
The causes of stress are multiple and
varied but they can be classified in two general
groups: external and internal. External
stressors can include relatives getting sick or
dying, jobs being lost or people criticizing or
becoming angry. However, most of the stress that
most of us have is self-generated
(internal). We create
the majority of our upsets,
indicating that because we cause most of our own
stress, we can do something about it. This gives
us a measure of choice and control that we do
not always have when outside forces act on us.
This also leads to my basic premise about stress
reduction: to master
stress, you must change. You have to
figure out what you are doing that is
contributing to your problem and change it.
These changes fall into four categories:
change your behavior,
change your thinking,
change your lifestyle
choices and/or change the
situations you are
in. By getting to the root causes of your
stress, you can not only relieve current
problems and symptoms but you can also
prevent recurrences. For example, if you
keep becoming frustrated over arguments with
your children, you might discover that the cause
of your upset is not their behavior but your
unrealistic expectations. By modifying your
standards, you might find the children's actions
no longer bother you.
The behavioral effects of stress
The behavioral effects of an
over-stressed lifestyle are easy to
explain. When under pressure, some people are
more likely to drink heavily or smoke, as a way
of getting immediate chemical relief from
Others may have so much work to do that they do
not exercise or eat properly. They may cut down
on sleep, or may worry so much that they sleep
badly. They may get so carried away with work
and meeting daily pressures that they do not
take time to see the doctor or dentist when they
need to. All of these are likely to harm health.
The link between stress and heart
disease is well-established. If stress is
intense, and stress hormones are not ‘used up’
by physical activity, our raised heart rate and
high blood pressure put tension on arteries and
cause damage to them. As the body heals this
damage, artery walls scar and thicken, which can
reduce the supply of blood and oxygen to the
This is where a fight-or-flight response can
become lethal: Stress hormones accelerate the
heart to increase the blood supply to muscles;
however, blood vessels in the heart may have
become so narrow that not enough blood reaches
the heart to meet these demands. This can cause
Stress has been also been found to
damage the immune system, which explains
why we catch more colds when we are stressed. It
may intensify symptoms in diseases that have an
autoimmune component, such as rheumatoid
arthritis. It also seems to affect
headaches and irritable bowel syndrome, and
there are now several studies demonstrating
links between stress and cancer.
Stress is also associated with mental health
problems and, in particular, anxiety and
depression. Here the relationship is fairly
clear: the negative thinking that is associated
with stress also contributes to these.
The direct effects of stress in other areas of
health are still under debate. In some areas
(for example in the formation of stomach ulcers)
diseases traditionally associated with stress
are now attributed to other causes.
Regular exercise can reduce your physiological
reaction to stress. It also strengthens your
heart and increases the blood supply to it,
directly affecting your vulnerability to
Although our Clinic focuses mainly on stress and
Health, many of the tools and techniques within
it will help you manage stresses that would
otherwise adversely affect your health. However,
if you suspect that you are prone to
stress-related illness, or if you are in any
doubt about the state of your health, you should
consult appropriate medical advice immediately.
Keep in mind that stress management is only part
of any solution to stress-related illness.
How Can I
Eliminate Stress from My Life?
As we have seen, positive stress adds
anticipation and excitement to life, and we all
thrive under a certain amount of stress.
Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and
even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and
enrichment to our lives. Our goal is not to
eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it
and how to use it to help us. Insufficient
stress acts as a depressant and may leave us
feeling bored or dejected; on the other hand,
excessive stress may leave us feeling "tied up
in knots." What we need to do is find the
optimal level of stress which will individually
motivate but not overwhelm each of us.
EFT is the solution!!!
consider EFT to be the perfect means now
available to everyone for regaining physical and
mental health" Dr. Yousef Al-Bader
What is EFT?
Simply stated, EFT is
an emotional version of acupuncture except you
don't use needles. Instead, you stimulate
well established energy
meridian points on your body by
tapping them with your fingertips. The process
is easy to memorize and is portable so you can
do it anywhere. It launches off the EFT
Discovery Statement which says...
"The cause of all
negative emotions is a disruption in the body's
This common sense approach draws its power from
(1) time-honored Eastern discoveries that
have been around for over 5,000 years and (2)
Albert Einstein, who told us back in 1920
(including our bodies), is
composed of energy.
These ideas have been largely ignored by Western
Healing Practices and that is why
EFT often works where
nothing else will. It's not that
EFT is so stunning (although it may
certainly appear that way to you). Rather, it is
because conventional healing methods have simply
overlooked the obvious.
You will see that clearly
as you allow EFT to bring freedom into your life
where you thought none was possible.
How Can I Tell What is Optimal Stress for Me?
There is no single level of stress
that is optimal for all people. We are all
individual creatures with unique requirements.
As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy
to another. And even when we agree that a
particular event is distressing, we are likely
to differ in our physiological and psychological
responses to it.
The person who loves to arbitrate disputes and
moves from job site to job site would be
stressed in a job which was stable and routine,
whereas the person who thrives under stable
conditions would very likely be stressed on a
job where duties were highly varied. Also, our
personal stress requirements and the amount
which we can tolerate before we become
distressed changes with our ages.
It has been found that most illness is related
to unrelieved stress. If you are experiencing
stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your
optimal stress level; you need to reduce the
stress in your life and/or improve your ability
to manage it.
How Can I Manage
Identifying unrelieved stress
and being aware of its effect on our lives is
not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects.
Just as there are many sources of stress, there
are many possibilities for its management.
However, all require work toward change:
changing the source of
stress and/or changing your reaction to it. How
do you proceed?
How Can We
One of the most important
things we can do for patients is teaching them
about stress management. Even better, we can
learn these lessons ourselves and then model
them for our patients.
We will help you to change the source of stress
and/or changing your reaction to it by the
NLS Clinic will
help you to:
1. Become aware of your
stressors and your emotional and physical
Notice your distress. Don't ignore
it. Don't gloss over your problems.
Determine what events distress you. What are you
telling yourself about meaning of these events?
Determine how your body responds to the stress.
Do you become nervous or physically upset? If
so, in what specific ways?
2. Recognize what you
Can you change your stressors by
avoiding or eliminating them completely?
Can you reduce their intensity (manage them over
a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly
Can you shorten your exposure to stress (take a
break, leave the physical premises)?
Can you devote the time and energy necessary to
making a change (goal setting, time management
techniques, and delayed gratification strategies
may be helpful here)?
3. Reduce the intensity
of your emotional reactions to stress.
The stress reaction is triggered by
your perception of danger...physical danger
and/or emotional danger. Are you viewing your
stressors in exaggerated terms and/or taking a
difficult situation and making it a disaster?
Are you expecting to please everyone?
Are you overreacting and viewing things as
absolutely critical and urgent? Do you feel you
must always prevail in every situation?
Work at adopting more moderate views; try to see
the stress as something you can cope with rather
than something that overpowers you.
Try to temper your excess emotions. Put the
situation in perspective. Do not labor on the
negative aspects and the "what it's."
4. Learn to moderate
your physical reactions to stress.
Slow, deep breathing will bring your
heart rate and respiration back to normal.
Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension.
Electronic biofeedback can help you gain
voluntary control over such things as muscle
tension; heart rate, and blood pressure.
Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can
help in the short term in moderating your
physical reactions. However, they alone are not
the answer. Learning to moderate these reactions
on your own is a preferable long-term solution.
5. Build your physical
Exercise for cardiovascular fitness
three to four times a week (moderate, prolonged
rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking,
swimming, cycling, or jogging).
Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
Maintain your ideal weight.
Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other
Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away
when you can.
Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your
sleep schedule as possible.
6. Maintain your
Develop some mutually supportive
Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to
you, rather than goals others have for you that
you do not share.
Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows.
Always be kind and gentle with yourself -- be a
friend to yourself.