Stress, It's a Worldwide Epidemic!
By Richard Parenti
What is stress? Stress is your body's reaction to events in your life, along with your mind's reaction from your mental interpretation of the event. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body and mind interprets the event. Then, the body produces a stress response to give you energy to deal with that particular situation and your mind is stimulated. Then the mind determines "fight or flight." The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands produce stress hormones when you feel stress.
These hormones suppress body functions that are not needed in the moment. Once the stressful situation has passed your hormone production and body functions return to normal.
What triggers stress? Current lifestyle, smoking, too many prescribed drugs, the environment, sour relationships, surgery, intestinal disorders, anger, anxiety, depression, worry, unwanted noises, accidents, pain, intense exercise, chemicals, toxin exposure, burns, poor sleep patterns, fussy children, nagging spouse, aggravating boss or coworkers, etc.
Most people deal with stress by taking the newest drug on the market. They rarely seek natural healthy stress solutions. So they stay frazzled and as a result of their drug pill popping and they live in a state of stress as a way of life.
With so many causes of stress and people seeking a pill for their solution it is easy to understand why stress is a world wide epidemic.
Here are some stress facts to chew on:
- Stress is more powerful than diet in influencing cholesterol levels. Several studies"including one of medical students around exam time and another of accountants during tax season have shown significant increases in cholesterol levels during stressful events, when there was little change in the diet. Reference: Dr. Paul Rosch, Professor Medicine, New York Medical College
- Stress is linked to the following illnesses: hypertension, heart attacks, gout, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, allergies, headache, backache, various skin disorders, immune system weakness, cancer, decreases in the number of white blood cells and changes in their function. Reference: Nation's Business, December 1994
- High levels of stress cause nerve factor growth (NGF), which hinders the ability of disease-fighting cells to ward off infections, suppressing the immune system. Reference: Report in Psychology Today, January, 1996
- Those who reported a history of workplace stress over the past 10 years developed colon and rectal cancers at 5.5 time the rate of the control group. Reference: Joseph Courtney, UCLA School of Public Health, Epidemiology, September, 1994
Here are some very simple solutions you can do right away to reduce your stress.
- Take a daily walk of twenty to thirty minutes at sunrise or at sunset.
- After bathing in the morning rub your body with an aromatherapy oil for your metabolic type.
- Eat 2 to 3 servings of fresh organic vegetables a day.
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat 4 to 6 fresh vegetables a day.
- Cut back on French fries, cola drinks, alcoholic beverages, candy, white breads, pastries and foods that contain food coloring.
And if you are really serious: Sit for 5 or 15 minutes in a quiet place. Sit quietly and breathe normally and naturally through your nose noticing the cool air in and the warm air out. Notice if the force of the air entering the nose is the same as the force of air leaving the nose. Notice which nostril is open-one is always more open the other. The goal of an authentic Yoga breathing technique is to get both nostrils open equally. Notice the rise and fall of your diaphragm with the inhaling and exhaling breath. Notice the slight pause on the exhaling breath. Continue breathing normally and naturally through the nose and every time the mind wanders mentally repeat, "Mind wandering" and that will gently bring the mind back to the breath. This is a beginning Yoga breathing technique that will help you to reduce your stress. But more important it is a gateway to higher practices of Yoga meditation for continued growth.
Remember that you are always breathing so why not breathe to reduce your stress and open yourself to more advanced Yoga meditation techniques. You deserve it, don't you?
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About The Author
Richard Parenti, initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition by Swami Veda Bharati, is the President of the Yoga Health Institute, a prestigious stress management clinic in Modesto, California, USA. He is a Yoga Therapist and the author of "Your Solution to Stress" (ISBN#0-9664007-1-2).
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